More skepticism of hospitals’ role in promoting health, health care for the homeless, & concerns about quality metrics
December 18, 2014
In order to bring you more of the news you want to read, RightCare Weekly summarizes and interprets three important articles and provides headlines linking to the many other articles and editorials you’ll find interesting. As always, RightCare Weekly presents articles related to moving our health care system toward the right care for all patients.
Join the conversation: Post your comments in our new section at the bottom of this page.
We asked last week if hospitals are playing a significant role in advancing good health in our communities.Andy Lazris, MD, a Maryland primary care, geriatric physician responded, stating he doesn’t think so. Later in the week, he elaborated his position. “Hospitalization may be dangerous for patients, it may be bankrupting the system, but it is still encouraged on every level,” he wrote. “Involve practicing primary care doctors in the discussion, transfer the decision making and financial power away from hospitals and to patients, and the revolution will begin.” As always, we welcome comments from our readers and will consider submitted guest blogs.
An innovative initiative to help treat the sickest in the homeless population was the brainchild of Mitchell Katz, MD, director of L.A. Country Department of Health Services and drew the attention of the PBS NewsHourlast week. Katz advocates that federal funds from Medicaid expansion be used to purchase or build housing for the homeless. The cost of caring for such patients, who are often chronically ill and heavy users of emergency departments, range from $90,000-$150,000 a year, according to the segment. “For the homeless,” Katz said, “housing is a relevant health service.” Katz is a keynote speaker at the Lown Institute third annual conference, Road to RightCare: Engage, Organize, Transform, March 8-11, 2015, at the Omni San Diego Hotel. (More on the conference, in the announcements section below.)
Joanne Lynn, MD, of the Altarum Institute spoke at our last annual conference about her work developing more effective elder care systems for communities. Now, in her blog on medicaring.org, and also in our commentaries section, she says efforts to improve hospital quality by penalizing hospitals with high Medicare re-admission rates are, in fact, hitting hospitals that have successfully reduced overall admissions, at the same time that they keep the rate of re-admissions constant. But since the metric looks at re-admission rates, many high-quality hospitals are facing stiff financial penalties. Her point is that it’s difficult to design effective quality metrics for health care, but getting quality metrics right is essential when they’re tied to financial incentives.
QUESTION: Do you know of another quality metric that does not truly capture its intent? Please tell us in the comments section below.
On behalf of RightCare Weekly and the Lown Institute, we wish you and your loved ones a happy and healthy holiday season. If you enjoy reading RightCare Weekly, we hope you’ll consider sharing it with your friends and colleagues! We’ll be taking a short break, but we’ll be back on January 8.
We can’t wait to hear Dr. Harlan Krumholz’s keynote at our third annual conference, Road to RightCare: Engage, Organize, Transform, at the Omni San Diego Hotel, March 8-11 next year. Join your colleagues in advocating for health care that delivers the right care, compassionately and effectively. Register now.
The Lown Institute, in collaboration with the Do No Harm Project, is calling for applications to the first Do No Harm Project Vignette Competition. The top two vignettes will be eligible for conference scholarships. Applications are due by January 7, 2015. To learn more, read here or apply now.