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Hospitals get a mixed report card for preventing dangerous infections
New Jersey's acute-care hospitals have made progress in reducing some infections that patients get while in their care, but as a new federal report shows, they still have a long way to go. Looking at data for 2013 and comparing it to 2012 findings, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report showed that acute-care hospitals in New Jersey fell in efforts to prevent infections involving catheter use and colon surgeries.
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New Medicare targets seen as big step in restructuring how we pay for healthcare
Half of Medicare payments to providers in 2018 will be through accountable care organizations (ACOs) and other alternative payment models that are based on holding providers accountable for the value of the services they provide, according to targets announced by U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia M. Burwell.
New Jersey provider groups and healthcare policy experts welcomed the announcement, saying that it makes it more certain that healthcare will continue to move away from paying doctors and hospitals a fee for each service they provide.
Rate bump increases access for Medicaid patients
Medicaid reimbursement rates for primary care visits have a strong impact on patients' ability to get a doctor's appointment — especially in New Jersey.
That's according to a new study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
New med school will boost NJ profile, economy, officials say
A bold plan forged by Seton Hall University and one of the state’s largest hospitals to create the state's first private medical school in decades was described by officials as a boost to both the state's economy and its national profile. Seton Hall University will partner with Hackensack University Health Network to start the school, which is expected to open its doors to students in the fall of 2017.
The Obama administration wants to dramatically change how doctors are paid
The Washington Post
The Obama administration announced an ambitious goal to overhaul the way doctors are paid, tying their fees more closely to the quality of care rather than the quantity.
Rather than pay more money to Medicare doctors simply for every procedure they perform, the government will also evaluate whether patients are healthier, among other measures. The goal is for half of all Medicare payments to be handled this way by 2018.
The announcement marks the administration's biggest effort yet to shape how doctors are compensated across the healthcare system.
New healthcare price study hides the true cost of care
By Dr. Jonathan Kaplan
A recent Reuters article discusses the huge disparity in prices for common surgical procedures such as hip and knee replacement. The article highlights a study by Blue Cross Blue Shield that is self-serving to say the least. It points out how doctors and insurers charge high prices for these procedures and, depending on the facility, prices can fluctuate by up to 300 percent. But before we go any further, it is imperative to understand that what a hospital charges an insurer is almost completely unrelated to how much the insurer reimburses for those services.
Physician burnout: It just keeps getting worse
A national survey published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2012 reported that U.S. physicians suffer more burnout than other American workers. This year, in the Medscape Physician Lifestyle Report, 46 percent of all physicians responded that they had burnout, which is a substantial increase since the Medscape 2013 Lifestyle Report, in which burnout was reported in slightly under 40 percent of respondents. Burnout is commonly defined as loss of enthusiasm for work, feelings of cynicism, and a low sense of personal accomplishment. There have been questions about the use of these criteria, however.
Meaningful use sustainability to test physician practices
Without continued financial and operational support, physician practices with limited resources — especially those in rural areas — will be unable to keep up with meaningful use requirements in future phases of the EHR Incentive Programs, according to authors a recent study in the Annals of Family Medicine.
Empathy levels among healthcare professionals
By Dr. Afsaneh Motamed-Khorasani
There is plenty of recent evidence suggesting that empathy could improve clinical outcomes. Empathy has been defined as the ability to stand in the shoes of another and look at the situation from someone else's view. In the healthcare discipline, researchers define empathy as "a predominantly cognitive attribute that involves an understanding of the patient's experiences, concerns and perspectives, combined with a capacity to communicate this understanding and intention to help."
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Do 'communication and resolution' malpractice reforms help cut costs?
Medical malpractice is one of the biggest stressors for physicians and big hospitals, sometimes pushing talented physicians out of the field. As Kaiser Health News notes, shortly after the Affordable Care Act passed, the Obama administration awarded $23 million in planning and demonstration grants around the country as part of a patient safety and medical liability reform initiative. Many state reforms have revolved around controversial cap initiatives. In California, the state Supreme Court announced hat it will hear Hughes v. Pham, the case challenging the constitutionality of the state damages cap of $250,000 in medical malpractice suits.
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