CJR Program Success: Stick to Metrics That Matter

Data can be a valuable strategic asset for hospitals. Benchmarked internally and to national best practices, it can be used to identify opportunities to lower costs as well as improve quality and patient outcomes. But hospitals only benefit when the right data is communicated in the right way to the right stakeholders at the right time. Continue reading

Building a Balanced Trauma Team – Determining the Right Mix of Nonphysician Staff

The importance of trauma centers cannot be overstated. They are the first line of care for the most serious injuries that patients suffer, from broken bones to head trauma to gunshot wounds. The heroic actions of emergency physicians and their staff can be the difference between life and death. It’s surprising, then, that the American College of Surgeons (ACS), the association charged with setting standards for surgical care, offers little guidance on trauma center staffing – particularly for the nonphysician staff who extend and support physicians.

In a recent study, ECG Senior Manager Jason Lee and Senior Consultant Dwight Asuncion examined nonphysician staffing at 14 Level II trauma centers in an effort to offer guidance on appropriate staffing and personnel ratios. They published their results last month in an article for H&HN. Here, they discuss their findings and describe the challenges that trauma centers face in determining the most effective way to use nonphysician staff to bolster their services. Continue reading

Transforming Your Care Model? Don’t Forget the Physicians

Whether prompted by government mandate, regional competition, or patient demands, healthcare organizations are adopting new care models designed to foster value-based care. Patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs), accountable care organizations (ACOs), and a host of other options offer organizations a structured approach to improving patient outcomes while lowering the cost of care. Continue reading

MACRA Forces Providers Seeking APM Track to Move Quickly

In the recent proposed rules for MACRA, CMS offered some clarity for providers who are trying to decide whether to participate under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or the Alternative Payment Model (APM) track.  In short, it really is not a decision that the provider makes, but rather a determination made by CMS based on the provider’s level of participation – if any – in qualifying APMs (also known as advanced APMs). Continue reading

MACRA Proposed Rules Provide Some Clarity, But Questions Remain

Last week CMS released its much-anticipated proposed rules for the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), which was passed by Congress approximately 1 year ago and introduced substantive changes in the way Medicare will reimburse physician services. Readers of previous ECG blog posts and articles may recall that, like the ACA before it, this legislation grants the HHS Secretary great latitude in fleshing out the details through rulemaking. While these are only proposed rules, and CMS is using this as an opportunity to solicit commentary from the public, they do shed light on what we can expect when the rules are finalized in November. Continue reading