Physician Practice Roundup—Healthcare organizations ask CMS to push back application deadline for overhauled MSSP

Doctor looking at time
Healthcare groups, including the American Medical Association, are asking CMS to give more time to organizations to apply to participate in its new accountable care organizations. (iStock/Getty Images)

Healthcare organizations ask CMS to push back application deadline for overhauled MSSP

Big-name healthcare organizations are asking CMS to push back the application deadline for its new accountable care organizations, allowing interested providers—including independent physicians—more time to account for complex changes. 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is accepting applications for its revamped Medicare Shared Savings Program—called Pathways to Success—through Feb. 19. In the letter (PDF), groups including the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association and the Health Care Transformation Task Force warn that, for many ACOs, meeting that deadline “will be challenging, if not impossible.” 

“Many existing ACOs, and those in the process of formation, are still actively working to understand how they may successfully participate in the program,” the groups said. “Additional time is needed to ensure ACOs may evaluate their options and complete the administrative and legal requirements of the application.” (FierceHealthcare)

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Want health professionals to help reduce medical errors? Patient Safety Movement releases new curriculum

Two decades ago, the Institute of Medicine shook the medical profession with its "To Err is Human" report which said nearly 100,000 people a year lost their lives to preventable medical errors.

With subsequent reports estimating that the number is likely much higher than that, more health systems have been seeking ways to engineer the possibility of human error out of their healthcare delivery.

During the 7th Annual World Patient Safety, Science & Technology Summit over the weekend, the Patient Safety Movement Foundation released a new tool on its website to help with the training.

The patient safety curriculum is one of 17 Actionable Patient Safety Solutions made available to organizations for free to help train health professionals in systems science so they can help find ways to reduce preventable patient deaths, officials said. (FierceHealthcare)

HHS ‘religious freedom’ division takes first enforcement action

A year after the Trump administration established its controversial Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) took its first enforcement action.

OCR announced on Friday that it found that the state of California violated federal conscience protection laws by passing legislation requiring crisis pregnancy centers to post information for women on how to access abortion and family planning services. The action, however, was a bit moot as the Supreme Court had found the state law unconstitutional in a ruling last June.

As today marks the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the U.S., last week HHS highlighted the Trump administration’s actions to “protect life and conscience.” HHS said it plans to issue a final rule “promptly” to make changes to Title X family planning services that would prevent federal grants form going to facilities where abortion is also provided.

HHS said it is also in the process of finalizing a rule to strengthen enforcement procedures for 25 health-related federal conscience and religious freedom laws that provide protections for doctors and other healthcare workers in HHS-funded programs. The proposed rule was issued in January 2018 to enforce existing laws that protect workers from participating in activities that violate their conscience, such as abortion, sterilizations or physician-assisted suicide. (OCRHHS)

Two doctors who cared for incapacitated patient who gave birth leave center

Two doctors who cared for an incapacitated woman who gave birth after a sexual assault at a Phoenix long-term care center are no longer providing medical services at the center, according to the Associated Press.

One doctor resigned and the other was suspended from Hacienda Healthcare. The 29-year-old rape victim, a patient at the center since she became incapacitated at age 3 after a near-drowning, gave birth Dec. 29. A police investigation and reviews by regulators are ongoing. (Associated Press article)

Doctors still prescribing too many inappropriate antibiotics, study finds

Almost one in four outpatient antibiotic prescriptions in the U.S. are prescribed inappropriately, according to a study published in BMJ.

Researchers said almost one-quarter (23.2%) of antibiotic prescriptions for privately insured children and nonelderly adults in 2016 were inappropriate, based on an analysis of diagnostic codes and insurance claims data for 19.2 million patients.

Providers were still writing prescriptions for patients diagnosed with acute bronchitis, acute upper respiratory tract infections and respiratory symptoms such as cough.

Of the inappropriate prescriptions, 70% were written in office-based settings, 6% in urgent care centers and 4% in emergency departments. (FierceHealthcare)

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