Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Top Metro Hospital Rankings Released

US News & World Report has released rankings for the top metropolitan hospitals in the nation. The list supplements the publication's annual list of Best Hospitals.

Forty-six hospitals made the list after being assessed on criteria such as reputation, specialty offerings, standing as a teaching hospital, and patient safety. The work of MSPs plays a huge role in the recognition of these facilities. MSPs are responsible for being the first-line of defense against providers who may be unfit to provide quality care. We also help hospitals maintain the quality data that can be used to catch and remedy medical error rates.

Congratulations to fellow MSPs who work in the nation’s top hospitals recognized in this ranking. Your contributions and support of the medical staff are a very important part of this national recognition.

To see the rankings, click here:

Source: US News & World Report

Happy Doctor's Day to Our Medical Staffs!

The first Doctor's Day observance was March 30, 1933 in Winder, Georgia. Eudora Brown Almond, wife of Dr. Charles B. Almond, decided to set aside a day to honor physicians. This first observance included the mailing greeting cards and placing flowers on graves of deceased doctors. The red carnation is commonly used as the symbolic flower for National Doctor's Day.

Doctor's Day marks the date that Crawford W. Long, M.D., of Jefferson, GA, administered the first ether anesthetic for surgery on March 30, 1842. On that day, Dr. Long administered ether anesthesia to a patient and then operated to remove a tumor from the man’s neck. Later, the patient would swear that he felt nothing during the surgery and wasn’t aware the surgery was over until he awoke.

On March 30, 1958, a Resolution commemorating Doctor's Day was adopted by the United States House of Representatives. In 1990, legislation was introduced in the House and Senate to establish a national Doctors Day. Following overwhelming approval by the United States Senate and the House of Representatives, on October 30, 1990, President George Bush signed S.J. RES. #366 (which became Public Law 101-473) designating March 30 as "National Doctor's Day."

Are you and your medical staff doing anything to celebrate Doctor's Day today? Share your stories in the comment area below this post on the NAMSS Blog.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Celebrate Doctor's Day on March 30

Chevalier Jackson, MD a laryngologist, pediatrician, inventor and designer saved thousands of children in the late 1800 and early 1900’s by removing objects that they had swallowed from their esophagi, traheae and lungs. Some 2,000 of the items he retrieved and catalogued are on display at Philadelphia's Mütter Museum.

As we approach Doctor’s Day, this is a timely article to share. As MSPs, each day we are truly honored to work with the most intelligent and respected men and women in our nation, who like Dr. Jackson, make significant contributions to the advance of medicine.

Join me in showing your appreciation for our medical staffs this week as we celebrate Doctor’s Day on Wednesday, March 30, 2011.

Read more about Dr. Chevalier Jackson here:


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hospital Corporation Settles with Families of Hurricane Katrina Victims

Tenet Healthcare Corp. has settled with the families of patients who died at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans, LA following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The families filed a class action lawsuit against the corporation, claiming that the hospital was not prepared to provide patient care in an emergency.

The suit also claimed that Memorial Medical failed to implement a plan for evacuating patients, leaving several patients in the hospital for days without power or life support as the temperature of the facility rose. Since these claims had been circulated in the news, Tenet claimed that it would have been impossible to find an impartial jury in the New Orleans area.

The details of the settlement will not be disclosed until it is approved by the court.

Source: Bloomberg

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Report Highlights Inconsistency Between Hospital and State Licensing Actions Against Physicians

A March 2011 report by Public Citizen, a non-profit consumer advocacy group, found that out of the 5,887 physicians in the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) "with one or more clinical privilege actions -- revocation or restriction of their clinical privileges," more than half had no state licensing actions taken against them. The report questions whether or not state medical boards are receiving reports of hospital actions and whether or not the medical boards are properly responding to reports of discipline through appropriate action at the state level.

Public Citizen examined clinical privilege reports, medical malpractice payment reports, as well as the NPDB Public Use File, which does not disclose the identity of the practitioners queried. It found that many physicians who had clinical privilege disciplinary actions related to incidents such as incompetence, sexual misconduct, fraud, malpractice, and being deemed "an immediate threat to health and safety" had reports in the NPDB, bit had no state licensure action taken against them.

The report issued several recommendations. First, it encouraged states to strengthen medical board oversight to improve performance in taking action against disciplined physicians. It also called on the boards to work with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to ensure that action is taken against the physicians in the NPDB who curerntly have clinical privilege reports but no state licensure action. Finally, the report called on the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General to resume investigations of state medical board effectiveness. This oversight review was last performed 18 years ago.

In response to the report, Humayun Chaudhry, D.O., president and CEO Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) stated:
“While not every hospital action requires a medical license disciplinary action, many states have indicated that there is significant under-reporting to them of hospital sanctions. Recognizing this, several state medical boards and the Federation of State Medical Boards have been collaborating with HRSA since 2010 to explore ways of cross-referencing information contained in the National Practitioner Data Bank with the information the boards have in order to create a more effective reporting system. State medical and osteopathic boards do the best they can with the resources they have, but they cannot take an action against a physician if they are unaware of the problem. The report by Public Citizen is a reminder of the value of collaboration among many different groups (e.g., physicians, hospitals, state boards, federal agencies and the public) and the need for them to seek ways to work together in protecting the public and promoting quality health care.”

To read the Public Citizen report, click here:

Sources: Public Citizen, FSMB

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New FAQ on MS.01.01.01

The Joint Commission has posted new FAQ on Standard MS.01.01.01. The questions address the role of the medical staff in governing body decision making and when formal meetings are needed to obtain approval on medical staff bylaws and amendments thereto.

The FAQ can be found here:

Source: The Joint Commission

Bills Introduced in Congress to Discourage Frivolous Lawsuits

Members of both the House and Senate have introduced tort reform bills in the House and the Senate, which would increase penalties for those who file meritous lawsuits in federal court.

The Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2011 was introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) in the House and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in the Senate. This bill would impose mandatory sanctions on lawyers including the payment of the defendant's attorney's fees and court costs. The bill reinstates stricter provisions and penalties which were reduced in 1993.

The Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-Cost Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2011 was introduced in the House by Rep. Dave Scott (D-GA), Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), and Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA). This bill would impose a cap of $250,000 on noneconomic damages awarded in malpractice cases and would lower premiums for malpractice insurance. Supporters of the bill say that it will reduce the ordering of unnecessary services by physicians practicing "defensive medicine." The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that this bill would reduce the federal deficit by $40 billion between 2011 to 2021. It is predicted that while this bill has support to pass the Republican-dominated House, it will fail in the Senate.



Medscape Today

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Utah Approves Bill on Negligent Credentialing

Both the Utah House and Senate have approved a bill that bars negligent credentialing as a cause of action in medical malpractice suits.

SB 150 reverses a May 2010 Utah Supreme Court decision which allows plaintiffs to include hospitals in malpractice suits on the grounds that the hospital should not have given credentials to a practitioner with a past history of questionable actions. The majority of states still recognize negligent credentialing as a cause of action in malpractice suits.

History of the bill can be found here:

An overview of arguments for and against the bill can be found here (Salt Lake City News):

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

TJC Granted Deeming Authority for Psychiatric Hospitals

The Joint Commission (TJC) has been granted deeming authority for psychiatric hospitals by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). For the next four years, hospitals accredited by TJC will be considered as meeting CMS requirements.

In addition to psychiatric hospitals, TJC has deeming authority for ambulatory surgical centers, clinical laboratories, critical access hospitals, durable medical equipment suppliers (DMEPOS), advanced diagnostic imaging centers, hospitals, home care agencies; and hospices.

To read TJC's announcement, click here:’s_accreditation_of_psychiatric_hospitals/

Thursday, March 3, 2011

AAPA Provides Clarification on the Medicare Enrollment of PAs

The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) recently contacted NAMSS, providing the information below, which may be helpful to MSPs who are responsible for the credentialing and Medicare enrollment of Physician Assistants (PAs):

With the new PECOS requirement, hospitals have been scurrying to get employed PAs enrolled to meet the “ordering/referring” rule.

Some MSPs who are responsible for physician credentialing and enrollment in Medicare have been asked to present Medicare contractors with current certification information. In some states, maintenance of certification is not a requirement for licensure; nor is it a requirement for Medicare enrollment. The PA must have passed the certifying exam. There is no mention of maintenance of certification. Transcripts from the PA program are not required if proof can be presented that the PA is NCCPA certified. In this case, certification and license are all that is required.

The relevant Medicare regulations are below:

Medicare Benefit Policy Manual
Chapter 15 – Covered Medical and Other Health Services
Table of Contents
(Rev. 117, 12-18-09)

190 - Physician Assistant (PA) Services
(Rev. 1, 10-01-03)

Effective for services rendered on or after January 1, 1998, any individual who is participating under the Medicare program as a physician assistant for the first time may have his or her professional services covered if he or she meets the qualifications listed below and he or she is legally authorized to furnish PA services in the State where the services are performed. PAs who were issued billing provider numbers prior to January 1, 1998 may continue to furnish services under the PA benefit.

See the Medicare Claims Processing Manual, Chapter 12, “Physician and Nonphysician Practitioners,” §110, for payment methodology for PA services. Payment is made under assignment only.

A. Qualifications for PAs

To furnish covered PA services, the PA must meet the conditions as follows:

1. Have graduated from a physician assistant educational program that is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (its predecessor agencies, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Committee on Allied Health Education and Accreditation (CAHEA); or
2. Have passed the national certification examination that is administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA); and
3. Be licensed by the State to practice as a physician assistant

The AAPA contacted CMS to seek clarification on this issue. The following response was received on January 19, 2011:

“The regulations at 42 CFR 410.74 that contain the PA qualifications should be
interpreted as follows:

1. Have graduated from a PA educational program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs and be licensed by the State to practice as a PA; or

2. Have passed the national certification examination that is administered by the National Commission on Certification of PAs and, be licensed by the State to practice as a PA.”

For more information, or questions regarding the credentialing and enrollment of PAs, please contact:

Tricia Marriott, PA-C, MPAS
Director, Reimbursement Policy
American Academy of Physician Assistants

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Celebrating Women's History Month with the History of NAMSS

The month of March is National Women’s History Month. In his article, Mr. Umbdenstock of the American Hospital Association (AHA) recognizes the pivotal role that women have historically played in the leadership and workforce of hospitals. Mr. Umbdenstock asks us to ponder the extraordinary contributions of women in a field that has benefited from their efforts longer and more profoundly then perhaps any other.

So, let’s take a minute and look back at the history of NAMSS. Years ago, in 1971, 22 women who were medical staff secretaries met in California, sharing the following common goals:

  • To provide educational workshops;
  • To foster standards of excellence nationwide, with the objectives of professional and personal development;
  • To provide an information exchange;
  • To provide a communication resource; and
  • To provide career development

Six years later, on October 13, 1977, 31 people attended the first National Educational Conference presented by the California Association Medical Staff Services, which began the launch of the National Association Medical Staff Services.

Those 22 women could never have guessed how NAMSS and the medical staff services profession would grow and the impact it would have on the healthcare industry. Today we are truly medical staff services professionals. We are a community of men and women who continue to gain recognition for our valuable role in ensuring safe, patient care. NAMSS continues to provide education and resources to help us prepare for the growing responsibilities of our profession, just as the founding members of NAMSS envisioned. Furthermore, we are no longer just a resource to other MSPs, but a resource to the healthcare community and policy makers, providing them with a better understanding of the role of medical staff management and credentialing.

The 2011 Theme for Women’s History Month is “Our History Is Our Strength”. I could not have said it better.

To learn more about NAMSS' history, click here:

To learn more about Women’s History Month, click here:

URAC Releases Revised HIPAA Privacy and Security Standards

URAC has released revised HIPAA privacy and security standards to align with provisions in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.

The revisions recognize the movement toward the patient-centered medical home and use of the electronic health record. The revisions include:

  • HIPAA Privacy Business Associate and Covered Entity programs have been combined into one URAC HIPAA Privacy Standards accreditation program.
  • The background and training needed to assume the responsibilities of a “Privacy Official” have been clarified.
  • New standard language has been added requiring that organizations offer individuals an electronic copy of their health information contained within a designated record set or to have that information forwarded to a third party of their choice.
  • The background and training needed to assume the responsibilities of a “Security Official” have been clarified.
  • Clarification around the need to update policies and procedures prior to the effective date of changes to the Security Rule and law or regulation affecting the Security Rule, as well as application for accreditation.
  • Applicant organization must maintain an archive of superseded policies and procedures for at least six (6) years, which is the same for privacy documentation.

To read the full announcement, click here: