8. Preventing Hospital Readmissions Takes a Village
Hospitals have long complained that they shouldn't be punished when patients are readmitted for reasons that have nothing to do with the acute care they received or the discharge planning process. Rather, readmissions occur because of demographic, sociological factors in many cases, such as lack of transportation, poor sanitation in the home, lack of funds to pay for prescription drugs.
A new $500 million federal program that would fund community based organizations to tackle these problems was met with lukewarm response from hospital groups. But as I described in this April 12 column, several hospitals were starting to sign up.
9. Eight Reasons Why Ambulatory Care Quality Matters More Than Ever
Federal officials start ramping up the safety and quality markers for ambulatory care services, as I described in this Jan. 19 column. Medical mistakes with potentially life-threatening consequences arguably occur in outpatient settings perhaps even more frequently, although less acutely noticeable, than in inpatient settings.
More complex procedures are performed in clinics and office practices, more drugs given, and more levels of provider are delivering that care.
10. Patients Set to Unleash Feedback on Doctors
Data is now being collected by the federal government to post scorecards for patient experiences they had with physicians on Physician Compare, which is set to go live on Jan. 1. The scorecard is expected to be similar to the HCAHPS survey. Doctors, brace yourselves.