HealthLeaders Media QualityLeaders - October 22, 2009 | Quality in 2009: Stuck in Neutral? View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Quality in 2009: Stuck in Neutral?
Janice Simmons, Senior Editor
For the dozen years that the National Committee for Quality Assurance has been compiling its annual State of Health Care Quality report, "there's never been a more opportune time" to present this report, said NCQA President Margaret E. O'Kane Thursday at a news conference in Washington. The problem this year, though, is that for the most part, "the quality results are not at the same level of improvement that we've seen in the past," she said. In other words, they have been flat, stagnant—or just plain stuck in neutral compared with previous years. [Read More]
October 22, 2009
Editor's Picks

What do quality leaders think?
The 2010 edition of the HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey for Quality Leaders is now open online at Included this year are new questions that seek your thoughts on the HIT stimulus package and healthcare reform efforts, among others. Plus, we build on key benchmark questions from last year, checking on your top priorities and your assessment of the challenges and solutions for key quality initiatives. This comprehensive survey should take about 14 minutes to complete. Be sure to provide contact information and we'll enter your name in a drawing for a $1,000 gift card. [Take the Survey Now]

Enormous Surgical Variation Found in California
Charts released by California health officials show enormous frequency variation in four surgical procedures in each of the state's 58 counties, a finding sure to raise questions about regional appropriateness of care throughout the state. The state charts are an effort to publish information about regional utilization similar to reports produced by the Dartmouth Atlas, which looks at regional variations in medical practice and healthcare utilization and cost, especially in the last months of life. [Read More]

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Cedars Sinai Over CT Radiation Overdose
One of the 206 patients who received a radiation overdose eight times more than the normal amount during a CT scan at Cedars Sinai Medical Center has filed a class action lawsuit against both the hospital and the device manufacturer. The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff was not only subjected to an overdose of radiation, but faces a higher risk of cancer, the expense of longer term health monitoring of its effects, and "severe and serious physical and emotional damage." [Read More]

Smoke Bans Improving Heart Health
Efforts to ban smoking in public places and eliminate secondhand smoke are making an impact in reducing heart disease among nonsmokers as well as smokers, a new study from the Institute of Medicine finds. [Read More]

The Anti Dartmouth: Study Says Spending More Results In Lower Mortality
The Dartmouth Atlas has become Exhibit A of evidence that the U.S. healthcare system is chaotic. It shows enormous variation in regional practice, Medicare spending, and utilization of healthcare resources in the last six months of life for 12 chronic illnesses, without any improvement in quality. [Read More]
This Week's Headlines
Facilities Accreditation Program Adopts NQF Safe Practices
Matt Phillion, for HealthLeaders Media – October 21, 2009

The Future of Nursing is Up for Debate
Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media – October 20, 2009

Mortality, Quality Gulfs Persist in Hospitals
John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media – October 21, 2009

Webcasts/Audio Conferences

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From HealthLeaders Magazine
Care Team Architecture
Creativity and flexibility count, sure. But underlying the successful care team design is a foundation of essential and lasting values. [Read More]  

Service Line Management
State of Emergency
The nation's emergency departments are feeling the effects of the economic downturn, but innovations in patient throughput and other strategies offer hope for a beleaguered system. [Read More]

Leaders Forum
International Medical Graduates Key to Solving the Physician Shortage: Contributor Carl Shusterman argues that it is time to consider opening U.S. medical practice to physicians who have trained elsewhere if we want to solve the physician shortage. [Read More]
Audio Feature
Jim Pavletich, senior director and COO for the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, discusses the AAAHC's new accreditation standards for medical homes. [Listen Now]
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