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In December of last year, the federal government penalized 751 hospitals for having high numbers of patient injuries, retroactively reducing their Medicare payments by 1% for each patient’s stay, as well as reducing the amount of money the hospitals receive to teach medical residents and care for low-income individuals. These reductions will continue until the end of the government’s fiscal year in September of 2018. The harsh reality of reductions for those listed hospitals, and the potential financial and operational impacts on other hospitals in the future, serve as a call for action among hospital leaders.

The penalties are controversial. Many in the industry feel they unfairly target academic hospitals, which treat patients with more complex conditions and increased risk of developing HAIs (Hospital Acquired Infections), as well as hospitals that treat more low-income patients. The true intent of the penalties is to incentivize hospitals to continually focus on improving patient safety and quality. It is important to note, however, that of the 751 hospitals penalized for FY 2018, 425 were also penalized the previous year. Clearly, something needs to change.

 

Looking Towards the Future

While the penalties are not without fault, the program is expected to continue and hospitals will remain under scrutiny. So how do we work to improve overall patient safety and ensure penalized hospitals don’t become repeat offenders in 2019? In the midst of turmoil and uncertainty within the healthcare industry, increased CMS measures, and with a reduction in funding at stake, it’s never been more important to ensure your healthcare facility is utilizing a quality/risk management and performance improvement process that is both effective and efficient in mitigating, or even reversing, rising administrative overhead costs.

ActionCue CI provides capabilities for event reporting, quality management and performance improvement tracking in one easy-to-use online platform. It’s simple, collaborative and insightful, giving healthcare professionals access to real-time data that helps to streamline safety event reporting, while integrating it with quality and making performance improvement efforts much clearer and easier. This means your staff can not only quickly and efficiently document safety events, but also monitor the actions being taken to improve performance related to the area of concern. In 2018, Prista has worked with multiple healthcare organizations to document quality and safety improvements that have resulted in cost savings from $600,000 over the course of 10 months, to more than $1 million in prevented negative outcomes.

The system compiles and securely stores details on every adverse event, along with investigation procedures and findings, through a role-based workflow. With ActionCue’s clear and insightful visualizations, executives can easily view reporting and benchmarking, and tailor reports in minutes with just a few clicks. Our goal is not only to improve quality and performance management, but to ensure staff find day-to-day processes more efficient and enjoyable.

We value every effort hospitals are making to improve patient safety and overall quality of care. A safety penalty and subsequent reduction in funding is an unfortunate circumstance to say the least, but we’re here to help penalized hospitals bounce back and take the right step towards quality and performance improvement. If you’re interested in learning more about ActionCue, read what our clients have to say about the tool, check out our video library, or contact us today to discuss how we can work together to make a positive impact on patient care.