Recently the Food and Drug Administration has been planning to make changes to its medical device clearance process. These changes they are planning on implementing would mean they would rely far less on older predicate devices so that they could offer a modernized pathway for high-tech medical innovations.
A recent uproar in the media was the National Rifle Association telling doctors in a tweet to “stay in their lane” when addressing the issue of gun violence. As you know, doctors see the aftermath of gun violence; you have to tell the family whether their loved one is alive or dead from this senseless act of violence. An immediate tweet back to the NRA from the Annals of Internal Medicine simply said: “Doctors are in our lane.” In addition to this, the AIM also decided to collaborate with the American Foundation for Firearm Injury Reduction in Medicine (AFFIRM) to fund new research supporting new practice recommendations.
According to the Advisory Boards Annual Healthcare CEO Survey, cost control is now the healthcare system CEOs’ number one priority. This survey was nationwide and took place between December 2017 to March 2018. Of the 33 concerns outlined in the survey, 62% of the CEO’s surveyed chose cost control as the one of utmost importance. Emerald Coast Medical Association would like to help our members apply the principles necessary to address cost control in your practice and hospitals.
Investing in the people and processes serving in operational roles in your practice or hospital can prove to be successful for cost control for your healthcare facility. This investment does not have to be financial; it merely has to be putting time into these people and operational roles. There are three different ways your healthcare facility can “invest” in cost control.
Data measurement is an easy way to set goals to start the process of facilitating cost control. Setting goals for your team to work toward and to analyze the current state of your facilities departments is a significant first step towards working to getting your cost under control. Doing so will allow you and your team to align with the organization’s goals, establish milestones, and report progress. Pairing activity reports with data makes your information more precise and error-resistant, while also removing biases from discussions. Data provides concrete evidence, so that costly mistakes can be avoided while making better decisions and more accurate predictions on how to move forward with the company.
Another way to invest in cost control is employee engagement. Enhancing revenue can be an easy way to up employee engagement. An employee who feels valued is always more likely to go above and beyond in their work than an employee who does not. Lost productivity stemming from employee disengagement can cost a company anywhere from $450 billion to $550 billion annually. Asking your employees how they want to grow and what their goals are can spark an engaging conversation that will lead to them being more productive.
Not having the appropriate staff for a specific position can be an easy way to lose money. It is not uncommon for a facilities technician to be promoted to a leadership position just because of seniority rather than having the appropriate training, mentoring, or leadership ability. This mistake can lead to high turnover, a loss of organizational knowledge, and an increased reliance on external service contracts that will cost organizations far more than they would like to spend. Having to use outside services for help costs more money than it would to hire, train, and develop an already active employee. Investing in employees by either giving them the correct training or hiring someone who is ready for the job they are being recruited for can save tons of money.
Each of these actions has little to no cost for your organization, and can only help to improve your facility and patient care. These principles will help set your practice or hospital up for success while also saving money.
It is a known fact among all of our members that patients often do not do what their physician advises them to after seeing them. As frustrating as it can be, it is important to us at Emerald Coast Medical Association to make our members know that this is not a failure on your part, as you can only do so much. Our meetings are open for our members to discuss these frustrations without judgment, and allow them to discuss among each other how to better address these types of situations.
Emerald Coast Medical Association aims to keep our members up to date on the newest legal changes. CMS listened to doctors and decided to delay any changes to codes for Medicare patient visits until 2021. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, doctors were worried that the plan would cut revenue for physicians who care for Medicare patients. Although CMS made changed to its plan, it did decide to continue with its plan to consolidate codes for Medicare patient visits.
Seema Verma, a CMS Administrator, said that they would consolidate codes for “evaluation and management” (E/M) visits to three, maintaining the level 5 code that is used for physicians who see the sickest patients who require more services. The agency will work with doctors to iron out the details, which will delay implementation to 2021. The E/M changes are part of a final rule that outlines the physician fee schedule for 2019. Along with that also come changes to the third year of the physician payment system implemented under MACRA.
The American Medical Association is on board with the revisions of the original proposed E/M policies. They are grateful that the administration is not moving forward with the payment collapse of E/M codes in 2019. The two-year window allows time for an AMA-convened workgroup to look over and make recommendations on this controversial topic.
Effective January 1, 2019, CMS will finalize several burden-reduction proposals that were supported by doctors. The final rule, though, will include revisions that preserve access to care for complex patients, equalize certain payments for primary and specialty care, and allow the delay in implementation of E/M coding reforms until 2021.
The original implementation would have been much sooner, but CMS received over 15,000 comments on a proposed rule that was released in July. Most of the 15,000 comments were in opposition to the change. This change would have collapsed payment rates for eight office visit services for new and established patients down to two each, a massive cut in the overall scheme of things. In addition to that, it also was said it could underpay doctors who treat the sickest patients, which more than 150 medical groups opposed and sent letters disputing the plan to consolidate E/M codes. CMS has released fact sheets with more details about the physician fee schedule, and one outlining changes to the quality payment program under MACRA.
Free Loaner Copy Machines
CPC Office Technologies is offering loaner copiers at no charge for 90 days to any companies affected by the hurricane. If your business or a business that you know of was affected, please let us know.
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Managing Traumatic Stress After the Hurricane
Time will tell whether Houston, the Caribbean, and Florida manage to recover from the trauma of recent hurricanes mentally but while the physical injuries will fade and the houses will be rebuilt, the psychological impact is likely to worsen. Implementing targeted psychosocial care is both a humanitarian need and an economic necessity—saving lives, jobs, and families.
Emerald Coast Medical Association is aware that physician and nurse burnout is becoming more and more of a problem in the workforce. Recent reports have shown that factors such as the generation and role of the nurse can have a major impact on whether they experience burnout. We aim to provide our members with a compassionate community that supports each other through tough times. Our members communicate with each other to aid in problem-solving.
Listed Here are Resources Available for Physicians in Bay County
and Surrounding Areas
Last Updated: 12/13/2018
October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Emerald Coast Medical Association offers Cyber Liability Insurance to our dedicated members. We are using the month of October to make our members aware of cybersecurity and the aftermath of cybersecurity attacks.
Topics: Cyber Liability Insurnance
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