The National Association for Medical Direction of Respiratory Care

The Washington Watchline

NAMDRC Takes on the Challenge of Improving Patient Safety

Patients admitted to acute care hospitals for a variety of reasons are at risk for worsening respiratory function that can progress to respiratory failure, often requiring transfer to the intensive care unit and ventilator support. NAMDRC recently hosted a multi-society round table to examine the question of whether a high risk patient population can be defined and if there are overlooked opportunities to intervene in order to prevent progressive respiratory failure and improve patient safety.

The 2016 IPPS, Pneumonia as a Focus of Quality Measurement

On April 17, 2015 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule to update fiscal year 2016 Medicare payment policies and and rates under the Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS).  While the rule pertains to compensation for Part A Medicare services, it contains items of interest for any physician with an impatient practice billing Part B services.

Be Careful What You Ask For -- SGR Repeal Does Not Mean Financial Relief

Washington politics will never cease to amaze us. Emerging from the background of legislative chaos created by partisan policy dis-agreements over deficit spending in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget, HR 2, a bill to repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate formula, was introduced March 24 by leaders of the House Energy and Com-merce and Ways and Means Committees and passed by an as-tounding vote of 392 to 37 on March 26. This legislation resurrects HR 4015, which was passed by the House of Representatives a year ago 238 to 181, with the great majority of Democrats oppos-ing the bill.

Physician Compensation in Medicare; 2015 and Beyond

Absent legislative action, payments to physicians under Medicare will but cut by 21.2 percent starting April 1. With the cur-rent “doc fix” expiring at the end of this month, some action will have to be taken quickly to avoid precipitous payment cuts. Given the burdens Congress is facing at this time the odds again favor another short term extension. As discussed in the July 2014 Washington Watchline, it appears that Congress hopes the issue of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula will fade away as an increasing number of physicians accept salaried arrangements.

Physician Profiling

Concerns about medical errors and the quality of care have led to legislative efforts to establish programs in Medicare that measure the performance of physicians and health care organiza-tions and promote public profiling of providers. This is often re-ferred to as increasing transparency in healthcare. Provisions in the 2015 Medicare fee schedules increase the specificity of pro-vider profiling on the Hospital Compare and Physician Compare websites.

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