March 2020, Volume XXXIII, No 12

  CAPSULES

 

Information blocking and interoperability rules under review by AMA

Since last year’s release of proposed rules from the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) implementing the 21st Century Cures Act’s provisions on information blocking and interoperability, the American Medical Association (AMA) has engaged regularly with policymakers to refine the proposals so they meet the needs of patients and physicians.

“As the AMA reviews the new rules, we will pay special attention to policies aimed at creating efficiencies in data exchange, reduction in physician burden, and patient control over and access to their data,” said AMA President Patrice A. Harris, MD.

The AMA’s review will examine:

  • Privacy controls requiring transparency and security safeguards for patients who access health information apps.
  • Rules prohibiting vendors from charging excessive fees.
  • A usage-based fee structure to limit EHR vendor fees and prevent physicians from incurring costs for exchanging health data that complies with federal requirements.
  • Programming tools to improve physician and patient access to health information.
  • More stringent requirements on EHR testing and usability.
  • Limiting unnecessary and inappropriate access to EHR data from insurers and other non-clinical entities.
  • More clarity and a reduction in the complexity of information-blocking exceptions for physicians.
  • Less aggressive and separate EHR implementation timelines for vendors and physicians.

Pediatric Home Service, RSVP Home Care form new partnership

Pediatric Home Service (PHS), an independent comprehensive home care provider, recently partnered with RSVP Home Care, a pediatric specialist group serving patients in Ohio and Kentucky. RSVP Home Care and their adult division, Pulmonary Partners, provide specialized in-home enteral nutrition, respiratory care, and equipment to patients.

For the next six to 12 months, RSVP Home Care will carry a co-brand with PHS before transitioning to a unified brand under the Pediatric Home Service name. Pulmonary Partners will maintain the existing name.

“Our shared values and critical eye for quality is why we choose to partner with RSVP Home Care,” said PHS’s Chief Clinical Officer Judy Giel. “RSVP Home Care team provides care that mirrors the level and expectations we have for our teams. As such, clinical and operational teams from each organization will remain in place.”

Patients will not see a disruption in services or care. Their primary clinician, access to equipment and supplies, billing, and ordering will remain consistent.

Nura Pain Clinic expands its facilities

Nura Pain Clinics’ newly renovated site at 7400 France Avenue in Edina makes it the Twin Cities’ oldest—and now newest—multi-disciplinary pain clinic. Nura is now the sole occupant of the 20,000-square-foot facility, which offers comprehensive pain management treatment, including chronic pain evaluation, medication management, physical therapy, and behavioral health counseling, as well as interventional pain procedures and surgeries.

This multi-disciplinary approach benefits patients who otherwise may receive fragmented and poorly coordinated pain management by multiple providers at multiple locations, according to David Schultz, MD, Nura’s founding physician.

Schultz also cited Nura’s use of implantable pain control options of neurostimulation and precision-targeted drug delivery, both of which provide new treatment modalities as practitioners pursue alternatives to opioid-based treatments for patients with complex chronic pain.

Renovation highlights include two state-of-the-art operating rooms; a warm, salt-water pool for physical therapy; an onsite research division; and a more patient-friendly layout for those undergoing treatment, as well as their family members and friends.

Nursing homes invest $6.7 million annually in improvements

More than 100 nursing homes across Minnesota have begun kicking off 36 projects to promote better care and quality of life for their residents. The projects, funded by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), range from efforts to improve mental health and social connections to reducing falls and infections.

At $6.7 million per year, the Performance-based Incentive Payment Program (PIPP) provides up to 5% in additional operating payments to nursing homes throughout the state. PIPP lets nursing homes dedicate resources to quality improvement and requires them to meet specific goals related to care, resident quality of life, workforce, and other issues. Since 2006, the program has funded more than 300 projects. Eighty percent of Minnesota nursing homes have participated.

“Collectively, these performance improvement projects make a big difference and improve the lives of thousands of nursing home residents,” said Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “We’ve seen ground-breaking improvements in areas like resident sleep quality and falls prevention. Nursing facility staff are invested in making improvements and excited about sharing successes with their peers.”

This round of PIPP funding goes to organizations across the state during fiscal year 2020.

New development will include senior living units

North Memorial Health and Ryan Cos. plan to build a mixed-use development that will include 400 units of multifamily living and 150 units of senior living on a 100-acre site in Maple Grove.

The plot is centered around Maple Grove Hospital, and the development includes additions to the hospital.

It will be one of the largest developments in city history, according to a report Ryan sent to the Maple Grove Planning Commission. The plans refer to the site as the “Minnesota Health Village.”

The plans say Maple Grove Hospital could get either a direct expansion, smaller medical office buildings—which would serve in a supportive capacity—or both. In all, the development calls for 339,350 square feet for health care use (which could be part of the hospital expansion, or could be used for non-hospital health care space like a clinic) and 302,400 square feet for medical office space.

The current plans are subject to change and have to be approved by the Planning Commission.

CIDRAP launches COVID-19 resource center

The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota has launched an online CIDRAP COVID-19 Resource Center that provides information for public health experts, business preparedness leaders, government officials, and the public regarding the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The CIDRAP COVID-19 Resource Center will highlight the latest news developments, relevant scientific literature, and guidance from leading agencies, including:

  • Frequently asked questions on COVID-19, including how the virus is transmitted, what you can do to reduce exposure, and when we can expect a vaccine.
  • Relevant information for employers.
  • A comprehensive bibliography.
  • Up-to-date news from the U.S., across Asia, and around the world.
  • Links to COVID-19 content on websites from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and other key agencies.
  • Links to the latest maps, case counts, epidemiologic curves, and other useful data.
  • The COVID-19 Resource Center is made possible with support from the University of Minnesota Office of the Vice President for Research and the Bentson Foundation.

Report shows progress in follow-up depression care, antibiotic overuse

In its “2019 Minnesota Health Care Quality Report” (online at https://tinyurl.com/hcn2mncm), MN Community Measurement cites encouraging signs in two key areas:

Depression care. Rates of follow-up depression care, improvement of symptoms, and remission measured at 12 months all increased significantly compared to the 2018 report.

The statewide average for the depression follow-up measure improved to nearly 30 percent, although four medical groups (HealthPartners Central Minnesota Clinics, Essentia Health, Park Nicollet Health Services, and Entira Family Clinics) achieved rates above 50 percent for this measure.

Two medical groups (HealthPartners Clinics and Park Nicollet Health Services) achieved rates above the statewide average for all eight depression measures included in the report, and an additional four medical groups (Entira Family Clinics, Essentia Health, HealthPartners Central Minnesota Clinics, and Mankato Clinic) achieved above-average rates on seven of the eight measures.

Avoiding overuse of antibiotics. When a patient takes antibiotics that are not medically necessary, it can cause negative side effects and lead to antibiotic resistance, one of the most urgent ongoing threats to the public’s health.

Fortunately, avoiding antibiotic treatment in adults with acute bronchitis improved from 35.8% to 45.5%, with gains occurring broadly across many medical groups. 

 

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  CAPSULES

 

Information blocking and interoperability rules under review by AMA

Since last year’s release of proposed rules from the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) implementing the 21st Century Cures Act’s provisions on information blocking and interoperability, the American Medical Association (AMA) has engaged regularly with policymakers to refine the proposals so they meet the needs of patients and physicians.

“As the AMA reviews the new rules, we will pay special attention to policies aimed at creating efficiencies in data exchange, reduction in physician burden, and patient control over and access to their data,” said AMA President Patrice A. Harris, MD.

The AMA’s review will examine:

  • Privacy controls requiring transparency and security safeguards for patients who access health information apps.
  • Rules prohibiting vendors from charging excessive fees.
  • A usage-based fee structure to limit EHR vendor fees and prevent physicians from incurring costs for exchanging health data that complies with federal requirements.
  • Programming tools to improve physician and patient access to health information.
  • More stringent requirements on EHR testing and usability.
  • Limiting unnecessary and inappropriate access to EHR data from insurers and other non-clinical entities.
  • More clarity and a reduction in the complexity of information-blocking exceptions for physicians.
  • Less aggressive and separate EHR implementation timelines for vendors and physicians.

Pediatric Home Service, RSVP Home Care form new partnership

Pediatric Home Service (PHS), an independent comprehensive home care provider, recently partnered with RSVP Home Care, a pediatric specialist group serving patients in Ohio and Kentucky. RSVP Home Care and their adult division, Pulmonary Partners, provide specialized in-home enteral nutrition, respiratory care, and equipment to patients.

For the next six to 12 months, RSVP Home Care will carry a co-brand with PHS before transitioning to a unified brand under the Pediatric Home Service name. Pulmonary Partners will maintain the existing name.

“Our shared values and critical eye for quality is why we choose to partner with RSVP Home Care,” said PHS’s Chief Clinical Officer Judy Giel. “RSVP Home Care team provides care that mirrors the level and expectations we have for our teams. As such, clinical and operational teams from each organization will remain in place.”

Patients will not see a disruption in services or care. Their primary clinician, access to equipment and supplies, billing, and ordering will remain consistent.

Nura Pain Clinic expands its facilities

Nura Pain Clinics’ newly renovated site at 7400 France Avenue in Edina makes it the Twin Cities’ oldest—and now newest—multi-disciplinary pain clinic. Nura is now the sole occupant of the 20,000-square-foot facility, which offers comprehensive pain management treatment, including chronic pain evaluation, medication management, physical therapy, and behavioral health counseling, as well as interventional pain procedures and surgeries.

This multi-disciplinary approach benefits patients who otherwise may receive fragmented and poorly coordinated pain management by multiple providers at multiple locations, according to David Schultz, MD, Nura’s founding physician.

Schultz also cited Nura’s use of implantable pain control options of neurostimulation and precision-targeted drug delivery, both of which provide new treatment modalities as practitioners pursue alternatives to opioid-based treatments for patients with complex chronic pain.

Renovation highlights include two state-of-the-art operating rooms; a warm, salt-water pool for physical therapy; an onsite research division; and a more patient-friendly layout for those undergoing treatment, as well as their family members and friends.

Nursing homes invest $6.7 million annually in improvements

More than 100 nursing homes across Minnesota have begun kicking off 36 projects to promote better care and quality of life for their residents. The projects, funded by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), range from efforts to improve mental health and social connections to reducing falls and infections.

At $6.7 million per year, the Performance-based Incentive Payment Program (PIPP) provides up to 5% in additional operating payments to nursing homes throughout the state. PIPP lets nursing homes dedicate resources to quality improvement and requires them to meet specific goals related to care, resident quality of life, workforce, and other issues. Since 2006, the program has funded more than 300 projects. Eighty percent of Minnesota nursing homes have participated.

“Collectively, these performance improvement projects make a big difference and improve the lives of thousands of nursing home residents,” said Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “We’ve seen ground-breaking improvements in areas like resident sleep quality and falls prevention. Nursing facility staff are invested in making improvements and excited about sharing successes with their peers.”

This round of PIPP funding goes to organizations across the state during fiscal year 2020.

New development will include senior living units

North Memorial Health and Ryan Cos. plan to build a mixed-use development that will include 400 units of multifamily living and 150 units of senior living on a 100-acre site in Maple Grove.

The plot is centered around Maple Grove Hospital, and the development includes additions to the hospital.

It will be one of the largest developments in city history, according to a report Ryan sent to the Maple Grove Planning Commission. The plans refer to the site as the “Minnesota Health Village.”

The plans say Maple Grove Hospital could get either a direct expansion, smaller medical office buildings—which would serve in a supportive capacity—or both. In all, the development calls for 339,350 square feet for health care use (which could be part of the hospital expansion, or could be used for non-hospital health care space like a clinic) and 302,400 square feet for medical office space.

The current plans are subject to change and have to be approved by the Planning Commission.

CIDRAP launches COVID-19 resource center

The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota has launched an online CIDRAP COVID-19 Resource Center that provides information for public health experts, business preparedness leaders, government officials, and the public regarding the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The CIDRAP COVID-19 Resource Center will highlight the latest news developments, relevant scientific literature, and guidance from leading agencies, including:

  • Frequently asked questions on COVID-19, including how the virus is transmitted, what you can do to reduce exposure, and when we can expect a vaccine.
  • Relevant information for employers.
  • A comprehensive bibliography.
  • Up-to-date news from the U.S., across Asia, and around the world.
  • Links to COVID-19 content on websites from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and other key agencies.
  • Links to the latest maps, case counts, epidemiologic curves, and other useful data.
  • The COVID-19 Resource Center is made possible with support from the University of Minnesota Office of the Vice President for Research and the Bentson Foundation.

Report shows progress in follow-up depression care, antibiotic overuse

In its “2019 Minnesota Health Care Quality Report” (online at https://tinyurl.com/hcn2mncm), MN Community Measurement cites encouraging signs in two key areas:

Depression care. Rates of follow-up depression care, improvement of symptoms, and remission measured at 12 months all increased significantly compared to the 2018 report.

The statewide average for the depression follow-up measure improved to nearly 30 percent, although four medical groups (HealthPartners Central Minnesota Clinics, Essentia Health, Park Nicollet Health Services, and Entira Family Clinics) achieved rates above 50 percent for this measure.

Two medical groups (HealthPartners Clinics and Park Nicollet Health Services) achieved rates above the statewide average for all eight depression measures included in the report, and an additional four medical groups (Entira Family Clinics, Essentia Health, HealthPartners Central Minnesota Clinics, and Mankato Clinic) achieved above-average rates on seven of the eight measures.

Avoiding overuse of antibiotics. When a patient takes antibiotics that are not medically necessary, it can cause negative side effects and lead to antibiotic resistance, one of the most urgent ongoing threats to the public’s health.

Fortunately, avoiding antibiotic treatment in adults with acute bronchitis improved from 35.8% to 45.5%, with gains occurring broadly across many medical groups. 

 

Fortunately, avoiding antibiotic treatment in adults with acute bronchitis improved from 35.8% to 45.5%, with gains occurring broadly across many medical groups.