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Commissioning Healthcare Policy: Hospital Readmission and Its Price Tag

The message comes in over the office slack line at 1:05 pm. There are four patients in rooms, one new, 3 patients in the waiting room. Really, not an ideal time to deal with this particular message.

“Kathy the home care nurse for Mrs. C called and said her weight yesterday was 185, today it is 194, she has +4 pitting edema, heart rate 120, BP 140/70 standing, 120/64 sitting”

Unproven medical treatments cost us lives and money. Let research tell us what works.

Late last year, an Oklahoma jury awarded $25.5 million to Orrana Cunningham’s husband. In 2014, she had nasopharyngeal cancer growing behind her nose. Her doctors recommended proton therapy, a type of radiation treatment, but Aetna refused to pay. She created a GoFundMe campaign and mortgaged her home to pay $92,082. Unfortunately, Mrs. Cunningham died within months from complications of her cancer. Jurors condemned Aetna, saying it acted “recklessly” in its review and delay of her care, and that it “should’ve paid for the treatment.”

House Reauthorizes Hospital Preparedness Program

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed legislation (H.R. 269) that includes the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act. The measure reauthorized the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) at an increased amount, including reserving a percentage of HPP funds for the purpose of developing regional health care emergency preparedness and response systems. CHA supports the measure and is hopeful that the Senate will act soon. 

CAVS Exam to Be Offered at Volunteer Conference

The 2019 California Hospital Volunteer Leadership Conference planning committee is pleased to provide a site for a “paper-and-pencil” Certified Administrator of Volunteer Services (CAVS) exam on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, from noon–2:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento.  

The CAVS is the volunteer management credential available through the Association for Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals (AHVRP), a professional membership group of the American Hospital Association.  

Pre-registration with AHVRP is required and open to all candidates who meet CAVS exam eligibility requirements.

New Study: Medicare’s Readmission Penalties May Be Killing Patients

On the morning of December 21, I opened my copy of the New York Times to find an op-ed that said almost exactly what I had said in a two-part article The Health Care Blog posted two weeks earlier. The op-ed criticized the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), one of dozens of “value-based payment” programs imposed on the Medicare fee-for-service program by the Affordable Care Act. The HRRP punishes hospitals if their rate of readmissions within 30 days following discharge exceeds the national average. The subtitle of the op-ed was, “A well-intentioned program created by the Affordable Care Act may have led to patient deaths.”