December 21, 2012
By Adam Mingal*
Medicare Releases Hospital Penalties and Bonuses
Kaiser Health News (12/20) reports that Medicare has released a list of the bonuses awarded and payments assessed to nearly 3,000 hospitals nationwide as part of a process to tie almost $1 billion to patients' quality of care. The nationwide effort compared how well hospitals followed basic standards of care and how patients rated their experiences. In the end, Medicare awarded 1,557 hospitals with more money and penalized 1,427 others.
Children's Cardiac Arrest Survival Rate Improves in Hospitals
Ivanhoe (12/20) reports that according to a recent study, substantially more children are now surviving cardiac arrest in hospitals than in years past. The study evaluated 1,031 children who had cardiac arrest in twelve different teaching hospitals, and found a positive survival trend from 2000 to 2009. The fact that all twelve hospitals participated in the "Get With The Guidelines - Resuscitation Program" has been cited as a possible factor in the higher survival rates found.
Hospitals Concerned Over Medicare Cuts
The New York Times (12/18) reports of a growing consensus in Congress that Medicare savings should come from cuts to payments to hospitals and other institutional care providers. In fact, there is "already discussion of cutting special payments to teaching hospitals and small rural hospitals." Moreover, President Barack Obama's most recent budget request would realize $300 billion in Medicare savings over ten years.
Laser Revolutionizes Corneal Transplants
Florida Today (12/19) reports that more than 46,000 corneal transplant surgeries were performed last year, the vast majority of which were performed with a trephine, which is a circular cutting tool. However, recent advances in technology have made laser-performed corneal transplant surgery more precise, with a lessened chance of post-surgical astigmatism and infection.
UMass Memorial Health Care Absorbs Operating Margin Hit
Telegram & Gazette (12/20) reports that UMass Memorial Health Care Inc. ended fiscal year 2012 with a significantly lower operating surplus than the previous year. The results come as UMass Memorial system, which consists of one teaching hospital and three hospitals with large shares of poor patients, is under pressure from its insurers to reduce expenses.
*We would like to thank Adam Mingal, Esquire (Department on Disability Services, Washington, DC), for providing this week's update.
Note: The Teaching Hospital Update will be taking the next two weeks off for the holidays. We will resume publishing the Update the week of January 7. From all the Teaching Hospitals and Academic Medical Centers Practice Group leaders and volunteers, we wish you a wonderful holiday season!