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Graduate Medical Education That Meets the Nation’s Health Needs

September 11, 2014 Comments off

Graduate Medical Education That Meets the Nation’s Health Needs
Source: Institute of Medicine

Since the creation of the Medicare and Medicaid programs in 1965, the public has provided tens of billions of dollars to fund graduate medical education (GME), the period of residency and fellowship that is provided to physicians after they receive a medical degree. Although the scale of govern­ment support for physician training far exceeds that for any other profession, there is a striking absence of transparency and accountability in the GME financing system for producing the types of physicians that the nation needs.

The IOM formed an expert committee to conduct an independent review of the governance and financing of the GME system. The 21-member IOM committee concludes that there is an unquestionable imperative to assess and optimize the effectiveness of the public’s investment in GME. In its report, Graduate Medical Education That Meets the Nation’s Health Needs, the committee recommends significant changes to GME financ­ing and governance to address current deficiencies and better shape the phy­sician workforce for the future. The IOM report provides an initial road­map for reforming the Medicare GME payment system and building an infrastructure that can drive more strategic investment in the nation’s physician workforce.

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HHS OIG — Nursing Facilities’ Compliance with Federal Regulations for Reporting Allegations of Abuse or Neglect

August 19, 2014 Comments off

Nursing Facilities’ Compliance with Federal Regulations for Reporting Allegations of Abuse or Neglect
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General

WHY WE DID THIS STUDY
To protect the well-being of residents, nursing facilities must comply with Federal regulations to develop and implement written policies related to reporting allegations of abuse, neglect, mistreatment, injuries of unknown source, and misappropriation of resident property (allegations of abuse or neglect). Further, allegations of abuse or neglect must be reported to the facility administrator or designee and the State survey agency within 24 hours. Results of investigations of these allegations must be reported to the same authorities within 5 working days. Nursing facilities must also notify owners, operators, employees, managers, agents, or contractors of nursing facilities (covered individuals) annually of their obligation to report reasonable suspicions of crimes.

HOW WE DID THIS STUDY
This study included a: (1) review of sampled nursing facilities’ policies related to reporting allegations of abuse or neglect, (2) review of sampled nursing facilities’ policies related to reasonable suspicions of crimes, and (3) survey of administrators from those sampled facilities. It also included an examination of a random sample of allegations of abuse or neglect identified from the sampled nursing facilities, and a review of documentation related to those sampled allegations of abuse or neglect.

WHAT WE FOUND
It is both required and expected that nursing facilities will report any and all allegations of abuse or neglect to ensure resident safety. We found that 85 percent of nursing facilities reported at least one allegation of abuse or neglect to OIG in 2012. Additionally, 76 percent of nursing facilities maintained policies that address Federal regulations for reporting both allegations of abuse or neglect and investigation results. Further, 61 percent of nursing facilities had documentation supporting the facilities’ compliance with both Federal regulations under Section 1150B of the Social Security Act. Lastly, 53 percent of allegations of abuse or neglect and the subsequent investigation results were reported, as Federally required.

WHAT WE RECOMMEND
We recommend that CMS ensure that nursing facilities: (1) maintain policies related to reporting allegations of abuse or neglect; (2) notify covered individuals of their obligation to report reasonable suspicions of crimes; and (3) report allegations of abuse or neglect and investigation results in a timely manner and to the appropriate individuals, as required. CMS concurred with all three of our recommendations.

Graduate Medical Education That Meets the Nation’s Health Needs

August 19, 2014 Comments off

Graduate Medical Education That Meets the Nation’s Health Needs
Source: Institute of Medicine

Since the creation of the Medicare and Medicaid programs in 1965, the public has provided tens of billions of dollars to fund graduate medical education (GME), the period of residency and fellowship that is provided to physicians after they receive a medical degree. Although the scale of govern­ment support for physician training far exceeds that for any other profession, there is a striking absence of transparency and accountability in the GME financing system for producing the types of physicians that the nation needs.

The IOM formed an expert committee to conduct an independent review of the governance and financing of the GME system. The 21-member IOM committee concludes that there is an unquestionable imperative to assess and optimize the effectiveness of the public’s investment in GME. In its report, Graduate Medical Education That Meets the Nation’s Health Needs, the committee recommends significant changes to GME financ­ing and governance to address current deficiencies and better shape the phy­sician workforce for the future. The IOM report provides an initial road­map for reforming the Medicare GME payment system and building an infrastructure that can drive more strategic investment in the nation’s physician workforce.

When Doctors Don’t Listen: Sample Worksheet Towards Your Diagnosis Before You Go to the Doctor

July 25, 2014 Comments off

Sample Worksheet Towards Your Diagnosis Before You Go to the Doctor (PDF)
Source: When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests (book, by Dr. Leana Wen and Dr. Josh Kosowsky)

General Tips

  • Use your own words, as if you are speaking to a family member
  • Being your own advocate will save your life.
  • Speak up! Interrupt if you do not feel like you are not being heard.

High Interest GAO Report — GAO-14-705T, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Preliminary Results of Undercover Testing of Enrollment Controls for Health Care Coverage and Consumer Subsidies Provided Under the Act, July 23, 2014

July 23, 2014 Comments off

GAO-14-705T, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Preliminary Results of Undercover Testing of Enrollment Controls for Health Care Coverage and Consumer Subsidies Provided Under the Act, July 23, 2014
Source: Government Accountability Office

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) officials told us they have internal controls for health care coverage eligibility determinations. GAO’s undercover testing addressed processes for identity- and income-verification, with preliminary results revealing questions as follows:

  • For 12 applicant scenarios, GAO tested “front-end” controls for verifying an applicant’s identity or citizenship/immigration status. Marketplace applications require attestations that information provided is neither false nor untrue. In its applications, GAO also stated income at a level to qualify for income-based subsidies to offset premium costs and reduce cost sharing. For 11 of these 12 applications, which were made by phone and online using fictitious identities, GAO obtained subsidized coverage. For one application, the marketplace denied coverage because GAO’s fictitious applicant did not provide a Social Security number as part of the test.
  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires the marketplace to provide eligibility while identified inconsistencies between information provided by the applicant and by government sources are being resolved through submission of supplementary documentation from the applicant. For its 11 approved applications, GAO was directed to submit supporting documents, such as proof of income or citizenship; but, GAO found the document submission and review process to be inconsistent among these applications. As of July 2014, GAO had received notification that portions of the fake documentation sent for two enrollees had been verified. According to CMS, its document processing contractor is not required to authenticate documentation; the contractor told us it does not seek to detect fraud and accepts documents as authentic unless there are obvious alterations. As of July 2014, GAO continues to receive subsidized coverage for the 11 applications, including 3 applications where GAO did not provide any requested supporting documents.
  • For 6 applicant scenarios, GAO sought to test the extent to which, if any, in-person assisters would encourage applicants to misstate income in order to qualify for income-based subsidies. However, GAO was unable to obtain in-person assistance in 5 of the 6 initial undercover attempts. For example, one in-person assister initially said that he provides assistance only after people already have an application in progress. The in-person assister was not able to assist us because HealthCare.gov website was down and did not respond to follow-up phone calls. One in-person assister correctly advised the GAO undercover investigator that the stated income would not qualify for subsidy.

A key factor in analyzing enrollment is to identify approved applicants who put their policies in force by paying premiums. However, CMS officials stated that they do not yet have the electronic capability to identify such enrollees. As a result, CMS must rely on health insurance issuers to self-report enrollment data used to determine how much CMS owes the issuers for the income-based subsidies. Work is underway to implement such a system, according to CMS, but the agency does not have a timeline for completing and deploying it. GAO is continuing to look at these issues and will consider recommendations to address them.

Psychology — Gifted Children and Adults—Neglected Areas of Practice

July 2, 2014 Comments off

Gifted Children and Adults—Neglected Areas of Practice
Source: National Register of Health System Psychologists

Working with gifted and talented children and their families and with gifted adults is a neglected area of practice for psychologists. Two widespread myths among educators, pediatricians, and psychologists, is that gifted children and adults are quite rare, and that bright minds have few issues and seldom need special help. In fact, gifted children and adults are defined as those in the upper three to ten percent of the population in any of several intellectual domains (NAGC, 2010). Clinical and educational practice usually focuses on disadvantaged persons and obvious psychopathology. Many are unaware that talented and gifted children are at risk for underachievement, peer relationship issues, power struggles, perfectionism, existential depression, and other problems, and that bright adults often have job difficulties, problems with peers, spouses or children, and existential depression that stem from giftedness. In addition, few psychologists understand that special issues can arise when a child or adult is twice-exceptional—that is, gifted as well as having diagnosable condition such as a learning disability, vision difficulties, auditory issues, ADHD, etc. As a result, many gifted children and adults are being overlooked, misdiagnosed, and receiving treatment that may be inappropriate.

Integrating Primary Care Practices and Community-based Resources to Manage Obesity: A Bridge-building Toolkit for Rural Primary Care Practices

July 1, 2014 Comments off

Integrating Primary Care Practices and Community-based Resources to Manage Obesity: A Bridge-building Toolkit for Rural Primary Care Practices
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Managing and treating obesity is particularly challenging for primary care practices. Although evidence suggests the potential for improving eating and physical activity behaviors by effectively linking primary care practices and community resources, establishing such linkages may be especially challenging in rural areas, where limited availability of and access to services may compound standard barriers.

In 2010 the Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network (ORPRN) received funding from the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality for research into “Integrated Primary Care Practices and Community-based Programs to Manage Obesity.” Over a 2-year period we worked with eight primary care practices and community-based health coalitions in four rural Oregon communities to:

  1. Evaluate local clinic and community factors necessary to develop sustainable linkages between primary care and community resources for obesity management.
  2. Design, implement, and evaluate a participatory process using practice facilitation and community-health development principles to achieve these linkages.

We used the findings from this 2-year process to develop this toolkit to help other primary care clinics that want to improve linkages with community-based resources for obesity management. This process highlights strategies to build on the ties that often already exist in rural areas. Although our process is tailored to rural settings, we anticipate that many of the strategies will be beneficial for urban practices and communities to consider. This toolkit offers key steps in our process, providing tools and recommended steps that we encourage you to adapt to fit your local setting.

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