Patient Blood Management Conference Coming to Pittsburgh in 2012

I recently returned from the annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Blood Management (SABM). The focus of the program was education and support for individuals involved in improving patient care and safety while curtailing healthcare costs through effective blood conservation and management.

We in Pittsburgh, PA were quite pleased to hear that next year’s SABM conference will be held in our city, September 20-22, 2012.   

Over half of the attendees, and the majority of presenters at this year’s conference were physicians.  The audience was international and multi-cultural; I personally met individuals from China, Malaysia and Switzerland.

We may think of blood transfusion as a long-held medical practice, but in reality its history is relatively recent. The first successful direct transfusion was performed between two brothers by Dr. George W. Crile (one of the founders of the Cleveland Clinic) in 1906 at St. Alexis Hospital in Cleveland. Transfusion didn’t become a commonly prescribed medical therapy until the Second World War. From the 1940’s until 1982 when researchers determined that the AIDS virus was being transmitted via transfused blood, it was a liberally prescribed treatment, and believed to be almost completely safe.

Transfusion is still a commonly prescribed therapy, and is now relatively safe from blood-borne diseases (such as HIV/AIDS) due to extensive testing. However, as the body of medical research continues to grow, the practice is being viewed with increasing concern for patient safety, both short and long term. In addition, in today’s resource-starved healthcare world, the cost vs. benefit of transfusion is under considerable scrutiny.

If this is an area of interest for you or your staff, and you’d like to visit the lovely city of Pittsburgh, consider saving these dates on your 2012 education calendar.  Watch the SABM web site for more information.


Improving Patient Experience and the Role of Patient Advocates

Lisa Venn, J.D., M.A.

For the first time in the history of health care, patients’ experience, namely what they think about the health care they receive, will affect providers’ bottom line. First, patient experience survey results will affect a provider’s reimbursement rate. Second, patients’ opinions about their health care have the power to influence patients’ choice of provider. Let’s examine each of these reasons.

(a) Patient experience survey results will affect a provider’s reimbursement rate.

In the past, Medicare paid health care providers such as hospitals, nursing homes and home health services, whatever “reasonable” costs they charged to treat Medicare patients. When reimbursing providers, Medicare did not measure or factor in treatment outcome or patients’ satisfaction with the care they received.

When this “You bill it, we pay it” reimbursement plan proved too expensive, Medicare changed the way it reimburses patient care. In 1983, Medicare began paying hospitals under a prospective payment system (PPS), which is a pre-determined, set rate based on the patient’s diagnosis. If the cost of the patient’s treatment is less than the set rate, the provider profits; if the cost is greater, the provider loses money. Medicare adopted the PPS for other services including sub-acute services given in nursing homes and home health service. Despite the switch to PPS reimbursement, health care costs continued to skyrocket.

Not only was Medicare paying more for care, evidence revealed that the quality of care was poor. In 2000, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published “To Err is Human” (Kohn, Corrigan & Donaldson, 2000) which indicated that as many as 98,000 patients die each year in hospitals from preventable medical errors. In March 2001, the IOM issued another report “Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century” (2001). The IOM reported that the health care delivery system is not meeting the changing needs of patients. The IOM outlined ten rules for redesigning health care. Among other things, the IOM called for health care to be transparent, providing patients with information to choose their provider and make evidence-based decisions.

Read the rest

Teen Gets Badge; Poses as Physician Assistant

Matthew Scheidt, Jr., 17, of Osceola, Fla., is facing felony charges.  He was arrested September 2nd, accused of impersonating a physician’s assistant for five days at a central Florida hospital.

It all started on Aug. 24, when Scheidt allegedly went to the human resources office at the Osceola Regional Medical Center and requested a new hospital badge, according to the police report.

Impersonating a Physician Assistant is particularly dangerous as these professionals manage a high level of patient care.  The American Academy of Physician Assistants describes the role this way:

PAs deliver a broad range of medical and surgical services, including:

  • Conduct physical exams
  • Diagnose and treat illnesses
  • Order and interpret tests
  • Counsel on preventive health care
  • Assist in surgery
  • Prescribe medications

The hospital is reportedly reviewing its human resources policies regarding issuing ID badges.

 More on this story:

ABC News Report

NBC Miami Report

Orlando Sentinel Report