New Joint Commission President Interviewed by Wall Street Journal Health Blog

Joseph Mantone of the Wall Street Journal Health Blog interviewed Mark Chassin, M.D., a professor of health policy at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and the incoming President of the Joint Commission.

Mr. Mantone asks:

Why are you leaving academia to become president of the Joint Commission?

Yet some say the Joint Commission remains toothless. What can it really to do a hospital that isn’t cutting it?

What’s the prospect for the public release of quality goals for hospitals and data about their performance?

What’s an example that could be cut back?

How about an example of a good public-reporting tool?

What’s your view of paying hospitals to improve performance?

What are some changes you hope to put in place?

Click here to read Dr. Chassin’s answers.

Credentialing Tips for Ambulatory Surgery Centers

Provider Re-Credentialing and Privileging: Do You Really Know Who is Caring for Patients in Your ASC?- From Today’s SurgiCenter

ASCs are expected and have a responsibility to conduct reasonable investigations of all licensed independent practitioners (LIPs) that seek privileges, to select only competent LIPs, and to periodically review the performance of the LIPs that are selected.

The purpose of this article is to highlight the importance of LIP reappointment and to briefly discuss some types of information to gather and details of what to verify.

Go to article: Provider Re-Credentialing and Privileging: Do You Really Know Who is Caring for Patients in Your ASC?

Court Orders CMS to Release Physician Claims Data

Data-driven consumer healthcare got a boost last week; but not everyone thinks it’s a good thing.

– a Washington, D.C., group that rates everything from plumbers to health clubs — asked Medicare last year to provide detailed claims data from four states and D.C., including which physicians provided care. (Another, pending request covers all 50 states.) Medicare balked and the matter landed in federal court in D.C.

Last week U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan told the Department of Health and Human Services to cough up the data by Sept. 21.

An August 22 Memorandum Opinion stated that “the Court determines that the plaintiff is entitled to production of the requested documents in full.”   

Read more at the Wall Street Journal Health Blog and via the Consumers’ Checkbook Press Release.

Love Lingers

Aggravated DocSurg writes from the heart in Closing Time

As I draw near, he looks up with faint hope but eyes that tell me he already knows what news I bring. It is not good…

The woman he loves is not lying in a bed with tubes and wires and strange people draped all around her. He is going home, where she lingers for a little while longer. She resides there in a way that a man never can, in the drapes that just match the pillows on the couch; in the pot of her cherished geraniums; in her collection of figurines, dishcloths, and little pictures all festooned with cherubic mice; in the smiling faces of their children in countless photographs on the wall; in the trailing scent of her favorite perfume…

Read the rest.

Conservative dress sill the best choice

A closet full of clothes and nothing to wear…  I’m not sure if men suffer from that dilemma, but every woman I know does from time to time.

These long hot summer days bring their own special challenges, particularly if you hike to a distant parking lot twice a day.  “It’s good exercise” I remind myself, as I wade through the waves of simmering heat reflecting off the city pavement.

If the dog days of August tempt you to throw on that cute sun dress or tank top for work, I’m sorry to say it’s probably not a good idea.  We’ve all heard the “dress for success” speeches and read articles on how to dress for a job interview, but sometimes it appears, we just can’t quite bring ourselves to believe that it really matters.

I was recently reminded that indeed, It does.

Within the past couple of months I’ve attended meetings where the main topic of post-adjournment conversation among both men and women was how one or more of the attendees was dressed.  Primarily the discussions centered around a couple of young women.  Both are attractive, educated and knowledgeable.  Both were wearing sleeveless, scoop-neck tank tops. 

The men discussed, well let’s just say they were having a very tough time remembering anything that was said.  The women were torn between amusement at the folly of youth, and embarrassment.  Their comments leaned toward “what were they thinking” and “how is anyone supposed to take them seriously when they show up for work dressed for the beach.”

In fairness to the Britney/Paris generation, some of us in the Farrah/Cher generation don’t do much better.

People do make assessments of your competence and character based on what they can see.  It may not be fair, but it’s a fact.  Dress accordingly.

Medicare No Longer Willing to Pay Hospitals for Preventable Medical Errors

Under new rules to be published next week, Medicare will soon cease paying for the extra costs of treating preventable errors, injuries and infections that occur in hospitals.

Private insurers are considering similar changes.

Among the conditions that will be affected are bedsores, or pressure ulcers; injuries caused by falls; and infections resulting from the prolonged use of catheters in blood vessels or the bladder.

In addition, Medicare says it will not pay for the treatment of “serious preventable events” like leaving a sponge or other object in a patient during surgery and providing a patient with incompatible blood or blood products.

New York Times – August 18, 2007 (free registration required).

These new rules, which go into effect October 1, 2008, will have considerable impact.  Proponents say it’s about time; opponents question whether additional, expensive testing will be done on patients at hospital admission to document any conditions they may have upon arrival, and whether all of the listed hospital acquired conditions are indeed preventable.  Will this improve healthcare, or will it further distress already over-burdened hospitals and providers?


Related Links:

Statement of Support for CMS-1533-P from Consumers Union

DHHS Notice Regarding Prospective Payment Systems for Inpatient Hospital Services
See Pages 152 – 194  Section F. Hospital-Acquired Conditions, Including Infection

CMS Hospital Center

CMS-1533-P Published in the May 3, 2007 Federal Register
Technical Corrections Published in the June 7, 2007 Federal Register

Medicare Won’t Pay for Hospital Mistakes – Yahoo News

8/21/07 – New York Times Op Ed: Not Paying for Medical Errors

Update 5/08 –

The Age of Speed by Vince Poscente

I just finished reading The Age of Speed by Vince Poscente, founder of the Be Invinceable Group.  Some of you will remember him as our opening keynote speaker at the NAMSS conference in Phoenix in 2005.  (And by the way, if you don’t know the inside story about that, our originally scheduled keynote canceled at the last minute and Vince stepped in to save a somewhat panicked conference committee.  Trust me, after hearing Vince we never had any regrets about that original cancellation!)

Vince competed for Canada in the Olympic games as a speed skier, and now works with clients on developing business strategies and overcoming obstacles. He is also a Certified Speaking Professional, and for those of you who have never heard him speak, if you get the opportunity by all means take advantage of it.

First the disclaimer.  Vince sent me a prepublication copy of his book and asked that I submit a review of it to  Believe me, I was thrilled when I started reading and discovered I really liked it.  I would not have enjoyed being in the position of trying to find something good to say… “well, the cover was really nice…” 

I read Vince’s earlier book, The Ant and the Elephant, and while I enjoyed it, I liked The Age of Speed better. 

My review:

Take time to read Vince Poscente’s THE AGE OF SPEED, especially if you don’t think you could possibly find time to read one more thing. Vince writes for us, the have it all, do it all, stay connected to it all, generation. Since he knows his audience well, the book is a quick read.

Vince translates some of our most deeply rooted beliefs and habits into simple, meaningful concepts that may help the reader see him/herself in a whole new light. (Ever acted like a bottle rocket?) He also sprinkles interesting “fast facts” throughout the text.

Recommended reading!


CMS Issues 142 page Report After King-Harbor Hospital Survey

We regret to inform you that the most recent survey of Martin Luther King Jr. – Harbor Hospital has revealed that the hospital is not in compliance with a number of Medicare Conditions of Participation (CoPs)… We are therefore notifying you that the Medicare Provider agreement with the hospital will be terminated effective August 15, 2007.

So opens a 142 page report issued by CMS on August 10th, and addressed to Antoinette Epps, The Administrator of King-Harbor Hospital in Los Angeles. 

The August 11th LA Times reports:
Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital shut down its emergency room Friday night and will close entirely within two weeks, a startlingly swift reaction to a federal decision to revoke $200 million in annual funding because of ongoing lapses in care.

The extraordinary developments mark an end to nearly four years of failed attempts to reform the historic institution.


Hospital Posts Joint Commission Survey Findings

Kudos to Paul Levy, President and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and author of the Running A Hospital blog.  Paul publicly posted the results of his hospital’s recent unannounced Joint Commission survey, including info on the RFI’s (Requirements for Improvement) that the facility received.

Paul says “We believe that sunshine is the best disinfectant!”

This is a great learning opportunity for others who work in Joint Commission accredited facilities. The unannounced survey tracer process is proving to be a challenge for many organizations, partially because it’s simply different from what we’re used to.  We in healthcare got pretty good at planning and executing a full survey when we knew just when to expect company.  The new system gives surveyors, and we ourselves, a better opportunity to see who we really are. 

You will note in the reader comments below Mr. Levy’s post however, that he has taken some heat for his facility’s reported lack of perfection.  My response to that is that only an organization confident in the quality of its services and energized to continuously improve them, will be courageous enough to invite the glare of public inspection.

Good job Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center!

Read Mr. Levy’s post: