Best Quality Columns of 2012 from A to Z

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , January 3, 2013

R is for Readmissions
In this column, a top Harvard healthcare policy physician-researcher, Ashish Jha, MD, questioned federal thinking in assigning higher penalties for higher 30-day readmissions than for 30-day mortality in its formula to incentivize higher quality care.  

For example, in the first year that both of these penalties are in effect under two separate provisions of the Affordable Care Act, hospitals with higher 30-day readmission rates are penalized up to 2% of their Medicare base DRG payments. But hospitals with higher 30-day mortality rates see that driving down or affecting only 25% of a 1.25% value based purchasing incentive payment.

It seems that readmissions carry a weight that is just under six times heavier than mortality.

S is for Surgical Site Infection
This column describes what happens when what you write about all the time becomes a real horror to someone you know. A friend and former editor, John Muncie and his wife Jody Jaffe, sought a resolution to his intolerable back pain. What could go wrong? They liked their doctor and the hospital, in a small Virginia town, was spanking brand new.

What came next was a near death experience, and many lessons learned. Thank goodness, John and his wife just posted happy New Year's photos, and I know he's going to be okay.

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