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Small Practices Can Prosper in Era of Consolidation Print E-mail
Written by FHI's Week in Review   
Monday, 26 September 2016 15:27

In a September 19, 2016 post, author Michael Laff asserts:

Although the number of large physician practices isgrowing, the choice of whether to care for patients in a small or a large practice remains in the hands of individual physicians. 

According to the author:

AAFP Board Chair Robert Wergin, MD, of Milford, Neb., who is a rural, small-practice physician, notes that plenty of resources are available to help small practices thrive. Wergin has received multiple offers to merge or sell his practice but he declines them all. He points out that studies indicate small practices are well-positioned to reduce costs and achieve higher quality.

"I like the autonomy of a small practice and the focus on an individual patient and care delivery one patient at a time," Wergin said. "Even Medicare recognizes that the survival of small practices is important," he added.

Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>>

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 October 2016 13:37
Moderate Tea Drinking May Slow CAC Progression, Cut CV Event Risk Print E-mail
Written by Larry Hand | Heartwire from Medscape   
Monday, 26 September 2016 00:00

Moderate tea drinking can help to slow progression of coronary artery calcium and reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, but coffee intake may have a neutral effect, according to new research.

"We found that being a regular tea drinker was associated with a lower prevalence and progression of coronary artery calcium and a lower incidence of cardiovascular events," <states> first author Dr. P. Elliott Miller (NIH). "In contrast, we found a neutral association between regular coffee and caffeine intake with coronary artery calcium and incident cardiovascular outcomes," he added.

...The results were published online September 15, 2016 in the American Journal of Medicine.

Miller and colleagues analyzed data on more than 6500 ethnically diverse individuals involve in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), a population-based study into the prevalence, risk factors, and progression of subclinical cardiovascular disease.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 September 2016 17:14
Dying to be Cured: When Healthcare Mistakes become Deadly Print E-mail
Written by FHI News   
Tuesday, 20 September 2016 10:43

A recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine says medical errors should rank as the third leading cause of death in the United States.  The Hopkins study, based on an analysis of prior studies, estimates that more than 250,000 Americans die each year from medical errors which can include death from surgical complications, prescription medication mistakes and infections.

The Hopkins researchers argue that the CDC should include medical errors as the cause of death in their published mortality statistics not the "underlying cause of death” and by doing so the public and professionals would become more aware and concerned about death by medical error. If this were the case, on the CDC's official list, death related to medical errors would rank third just behind heart disease and cancer.

This number is staggering and to put it into context it would be equivalent to 417 Boeing 747 airlines crashing per year or nearly two per day. If this was happening in the skies, we would all demand that the FAA do something to prevent it and the same should be the case with the CDC.

Dr. Alejandro Badia and Justin Irizarry believe that another opportunity for reducing deaths related to hospital medical errors is the redirection of patients reporting to an emergency room to an urgent care center.  They believed in it so much, that they Co-Founded OrthoNOW®, the nation’s only orthopedic urgent care center franchise.  Irizarry, a Wharton Fellow and financial industry experts says “According to the Urgent Care Association of America, UCAOA, 98% of patients seeking treatment at their local emergency room should be treated at an urgent care center.  The growth of specialized urgent care, such as OrthoNOW, will deliver healthcare’s triple aim; better care, better health and lower costs.”

Dr. Badia states “Aside from the time and cost savings associated with this maneuver, urgent care franchises do not accept trauma patients nor do they experience the same volume as an ER. Patients presenting to major emergency rooms are also exposed to nosocomial (hospital related) bacterial infections due to the environment present amidst long waits”.  Badia continues “Specialized, non-hospital care environments are healthier, and more efficient, for a patient seeking orthopedic acute care. Combined these facts allow urgent care medical staff extra time with a patient to discuss history and possible underlying conditions in a reduced stress environment. This minimizes both the risks of infection and the likelihood of prescription medication errors which contribute to the death rates as denoted by the Hopkins Study”.

The Hopkins Study casts a light on a significant health care delivery method weakness that will not doubt feed conversation and thought in the months to come. During this time of transformational change in the industry disruptive delivery solutions and entrepreneurial innovations like OrthoNOW are viable alternatives to hospitalization and can lower the accidental death count.

About OrthoNOW®:
OrthoNOW® is a network of specialized urgent care franchises focused on sports medicine and the treatment and prevention of the full range of orthopedic injuries, all on a walk-in basis. Services include treatment of injuries to the hand, wrist, foot, ankle, knee, spine and shoulder, as well as preventative consultation and regimens by experts in orthopedics. Named by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the “Top Ten Franchise Opportunity” in healthcare, OrthoNOW has become the first and only orthopedic urgent care center network in the nation to provide franchise opportunities. The expansion in the past two years includes centers in Florida and Georgia. Visit for more information.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 September 2016 11:03
Better Patient Care At High-Quality Hospitals Print E-mail
Written by FHI's Week in Review   
Tuesday, 13 September 2016 15:26

In a study published 9.7.16 in Health Affairs by Thomas C. Tsai, Felix Greaves, Jie Zheng, E. John Orav, Michael J. Zinner and Ashish K. Jha, researchers found:

Patients who had major surgery at high-quality hospitals in the U.S. cost Medicare less than those who had surgery at low-quality hospitals. The difference in Medicare spending was driven primarily by the cost of care in the weeks following surgery.

Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>>

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 September 2016 15:34
MACRA/MIPS Performance Categories, Part 4: Resource Use/Cost Print E-mail
Written by HealthFusion   
Thursday, 01 September 2016 00:00

Resource Use (Cost) is essentially replacing the Value-Based Modifier and only counts for 10 percent of your overall MIPS score in year one, but don't let that small number fool you. CMS is proposing that the Cost/Resource Use category account for 15 percent in 2020 and 30 percent of your total MIPS score in 2021 and beyond. The good thing about this performance category is that it requires no reporting from you. CMS gathers the data from Medicare claims, so there's no administrative burden on your practice, and they calculate measures based on the claims and availability of sufficient volume. The Resource Use performance category generally requires a 20-patient sample and is calculated based on the average score of all attributed cost measures.
This category is arguably one of the most complicated pieces in the MIPS puzzle and may be the most difficult to impact, in terms of improving your score. To ensure your practice's success, focus on the performance categories you can impact, like Advancing Care Information (rough translation: Meaningful Use), Quality and Clinical Practice Improvement Activities (new), and invest in software that will gauge your performance in all four MIPS categories at all times, so that you're constantly aware of how you're doing.

Last Updated on Friday, 02 September 2016 18:01
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