Quality

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) estimated 8,000 deaths were prevented and $2.9 billion was saved between 2014 and 2016 through successful initiatives to reduce hospital-acquired conditions, including infections, injuries from falls and adverse drugs events.

CMS has released a new a “scorecard” tracking quality measures of states within Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), but the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) said it failed to offer a true apples-to-apples comparison of state performance.

Hospitals will be expected to perform fewer unnecessary C-sections, cut down on imaging procedures for lower back pain and prescribe fewer opioids. If they don’t do so by the end of 2019, Covered California will try to get participating health insurers to exclude those hospitals from their networks.

Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston has long been touted as one of the top hospitals in the country for heart transplant and surgery. In recent years, however, its quality scores have plummeted and top physicians have left, all while the center was being led by a relatively inexperienced surgeon.

The report from Illinois' Cook County inspector general pinned much of the blame on the system’s bureaucracy, citing “a significant number of registration clerks, coders and billers who do not possess adequate self-motivation or the required skill sets and knowledge base” to do the jobs they’ve been assigned.

The Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP) has released the 2018 edition of its annual quality report, illustrating how deficiencies were most commonly found at the hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) it inspects.

The “Just Culture” model to encourage healthcare professionals to report mistakes to focus on improving processes, not punishment, hasn’t worked, according to a study authored by Marc Edwards, MD, MBA, of the QA to QI Patient Safety Organization.

The Commonwealth Fund’s 2018 scorecard on state health system performance saw the five highest-ranked states maintain their exact rankings from the last report, with Hawaii again claiming the No. 1 spot. The most striking finding was the surge in deaths from suicide, alcohol and overdoses from opioids and other drugs since 2005.

The older a surgeon gets, the lower the patient mortality rate, with female surgeons in their 50s having the lowest rates overall, according to research led by Yusuke Tsugawa, MD, MPH, PhD, assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The Leapfrog Group’s 2018 Hospital Safety Grades found that a handful of facilities have made major strides in reducing infection rates and deaths due to error. Of the 2,500 hospitals examined, 89 receiving an A this year had previously been rated as a D or F.

Teaching hospitals that rack up dozens of safety violations from CMS are also the training ground for the next generation of physicians, which could increase the risk of those young doctors picking up habits that result in unsafe care or burning themselves out and leaving the profession.

The latest sentinel event alert from the Joint Commission said healthcare workers and organizations need to do better on reporting—and preventing—workplace violence, including verbal abuse that physicians and nurses too often too often dismiss as “part of the job.”