In today's healthcare marketplace, it is growing commonplace to consider patients as customers - and the shoe fits, so to speak. Patients do have choices when it comes to medical care, and now have plenty of ratings and data points to consider when selecting a physician, an outpatient center, a hospital or a long-term care facility. One of those data points is patient experience, which encompasses the many interactions with medical staff, facilities, and representatives. In today's post, we will consider the measurable aspects of the patient experience, including infection control and prevention.
One of the most tracked and reported metrics in today's healthcare facilities is infection rates. Anyone working in a hospital is aware of the importance of keeping these rates as low as possible, as they impact not only patient outcomes, but reimbursement rates and facility reputation as well. It may be an assumption by the general public that these rates are an objective metric with little grey area. However, a recent study investigated what infection prevention experts think about these metrics, and the results may surprise you!
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) uses a Prospective Payment System (PPS) to provide incentives for healthcare providers to be effective and efficient. Much like health maintenance organizations (HMOs), the PPS provides a flat fee for each service, encouraging providers to stay within efficient financial limits. (In contrast, the older fee-for-service model incentivized over-utilization of services.) Each year, CMS releases changes to the PPS, in their efforts to remain flexible to changing medical needs and feedback from patients and providers. Earlier this month, CMS released the final inpatient rule (all 2,087 pages), including a few important changes.
Our previous post presented some of the problems with the current fee-for-service payment model used in healthcare. In response to these costly problems, there are a number of alternative payment models being tested, with promising results. Today we will look at the alternatives that seem to be picking up speed as we move toward reducing our nation's healthcare costs.
As hard as it is to believe, most hospitals do not know how much their services cost. They know what they charge, but that number has almost nothing to do with what individual services actually cost them as providers. This is about to change. With shockingly rising healthcare costs (17% of our gross national product, and rising at 4% per year) and frighteningly shrinking coffers with which to pay for it, there is a growing movement to move from fee-for-service payment models to alternative value-based payments. As we move towards these new cost-reducing models, what will be the impact on infection control?
Although COVID-19 is taking the most attention, Medicare continues to penalize hospitals with the highest patient safety incidents. In today's post we explore the whole issue of Medicare reimbursements, penalties, and safety programs.
Long-Term Acute Care Hospitals (LTACHs) are facilities serving only patients with serious medical conditions who need at least 25 days of ICU-level care. They evolved from the TB sanitoriums and other specialized treatment facilities of the past, and have experienced significant growth over the past decade. In today’s post, we’ll explore the purpose of these new medical facilities, as well as the implications for infection control when serving these high-risk populations.