MASSDEVICE ON CALL — House Republicans introduced a new "doc-fix" proposal and submitted legislation to replace a cost-cutting formula for physician reimbursement.
On Jan. 1, 2014, Medicare payments to doctors are slated to be slashed by more than 24%, but the doc-fix would temporarily prevent a reduction in payments. The draft legislation would change the payment model from Medicare’s controversial "sustainable-growth-rate" formula to a mix of fee-for-service and pay-for-performance.
The proposed legislation does not offer a way to make up for the loss of Medicare cost-savings set to roll out next year, but would give organized medicine and medical societies more leverage in how physician members will be paid, according to reporting from TheHeart.org.
Stanford Hospital pop-ups make docs think twice about blood
Stanford Hospital successfully cut down on the number of doctor requests for blood transfusion with a computer pop-up program.
The computer system prompts docs to think twice before submitting a request for blood for patients, thus far leading to a 24% decrease in the number of executed requests since 2009. The Stanford Hospital network one of a slate of hospitals nationwide attempting to reduce transfusions over concerns that blood, a precious resource, can carry risks to the patient.
CT scans increase cancer risks, especially in kids
A new study shows that reducing children’s exposure to x-ray and CT scans children can reduce risks of developing cancer later in life by 62%. Because children’s cells are still dividing rapidly, they are especially vulnerable to leukemia and brain cancers, researchers warned.
The study’s lead author, Diana Miglioretti at the University of California, Davis, said that reducing unnecessary scans and trimming the radiation dose appropriately for children can significantly reduce cancer risks. The study measured CT scans at 6 healthcare systems from 1996 to 2010 and found that scan-use increased dramatically until 2005 and then tapered off slightly.
Video surveillance proves effective in hospital hand-washing hygiene
With the rate of hospital infections and drug-resistant bacteria increasing, North Shore University Hospital in Long Island began a surveillance program that has successfully encouraged staff to wash their hands more often.
The program sends images of the intensive care unit to observers in India, who check that hospital staff is diligently scrubbing away, according to the New York Times. All hospitals are trying to up the ante with hand hygiene, as healthcare reform means hospitals will lose money when patients acquire preventable infections.
Obama says the ACA is "working the way it’s supposed to"
Speaking in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, President Barack Obama said that for states already rolling out healthcare reform, "competition and choice are pushing down costs in the individual market, just like the law was designed to do."
He noted the concern of rising premiums, deductibles and co-pays in employer-based insurance, but stressed that the ACA "moves us in the right direction."