Friday, April 22, 2011

Article Highlights Risks of Social Media in Medicine

Dr. Alexandra Thran was fired from Westerly Hospital in Rhode Island after posting information about a patient on a social media website. Dr. Thran did not mention the patient by name, but had provided details that could be used to identify the patient.

In addition to being fired, Dr. Thran was also reprimanded by the state medical board and fined $500.

The increase in communication through social media has led to the blurring of patient privacy boundaries. Some healthcare professionals have faced stiffer penalties under HIPAA for posting pictures of, or discussing patients over social media outlets. The best piece of advice for those who use social media and work in the healthcare setting may be to keep your professional life separate from your personal life -- especially online.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cardiologists Seek Supreme Court Review of Economic Credentialing Case

Three cardiologists have petitioned the US Supreme Court to review an appellate court decision finding that they did not have a claim against a hospital that had allegedly terminated their privileges based on their refusal to refer patients to the hospital's only cardiac surgeon. (Gaalia v. Citizens Medical Center).

The cardiologists claimed that in 2007, they refused to refer patients to Citizens Medical Center's cardiac surgeon because the surgeon's mortality rate exeeded that of other surgeons in the area. They claimed that CMC took action against them, imposing an on-call duty requirement that they were unable to fulfill, essentially leading to the termination of their privileges. They claimed that under the federal Anti-Kickback Act, the hospital wrongfully terminated their privileges under a practice of economic credentialing.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that CMC had a rational basis for terminating the cardiologists' privileges and that the hospital committed no violation. The cardiologists are seeking review of the decision by the Supreme Court, stating that the healthcare industry needs clarification on when the federal anti-kickback statute applies.

Source: BNA

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

There's an App for That!

Did you know there are 17,000 medical applications available for download from major app stores for the Apple iPhone and iPad, and for smart phones and mobile computers? Technology is exploding and physicians are starting to use an iPad and other devices to track their patients through EMR.

Has anyone transitioned their credentials committee or MEC to use an iPad for committee work? If so share your best practices with other members.

For the full story click here:

Source: H&HN

Monday, April 18, 2011

Oregon Medical Board Investigating Surgeon and Distributorship Relationship

The Oregon Medical Board is investigating neurosurgeon Dr. Vishal James Makker after his privileges were revoked by Providence Portland Medical Center at the end of March.

Medicare claims data showed that Makker was performing spinal surgeries at 10 times the national average rate. In 2006, Makker underwent training for performing unnecessary surgeries and billing for procedures not performed.

The Oregon Medical Board is also investigating Makker's relationship with Omega Solutions, a medical-device manufacturer that engaged in the practice of paying dividends to surgeons who used their products. Omega denies having any relationship with Makker where he was paid. It is also unclear whether or not the revocation of Makker's privileges is related to the investigation.

To read the full story, click here:

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Friday, April 15, 2011

Introducing a New Look for the NAMSS Blog!

We have redesigned the NAMSS Blog to better match the NAMSS homepage, which was updated last year. The NAMSS Blog is still your source for all the latest news relevant to the medical staff and credentialing professions, just with a new look.

What do you think of the changes? Let us know by providing your comments on the blog, or by e-mailing

Thursday, April 14, 2011

AHA Supports Bill Allowing for General Supervision for Outpatient Services

The following announcement was released by the American Hospital Association (AHA):

The AHA today voiced support for S. 778, legislation that would allow general supervision by a physician or non-physician practitioner for many outpatient therapy services. Introduced last week by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), the bill would require the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to allow a default setting of general supervision, rather than direct supervision, for outpatient therapy services and create an advisory panel to establish an exceptions process for risky and complex outpatient services. The legislation would create a special rule for critical access hospitals that recognizes their unique size and Medicare conditions of participation. The bill also would hold hospitals and CAHs harmless from civil or criminal action for failing to meet CMS' current direct supervision policy for the period 2001 through 2011. "Although CMS claims its policy is a 'restatement and clarification' of existing policy, it is, in fact, a significant change that has left hospitals and CAHs vulnerable," AHA said in a letter of support for the legislation. The AHA also continues to urge the administration to address hospitals' concerns with the requirement.

Source: American Hospital Association

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

HFAP Updates Standards to Align with CMS

The Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP) has released updates to their standards that better align them with CMS requirements. The following standards have been updated:

  • 15.01.08: Exercise of Patient Rights

  • 16.00.03: Nursing Organization

  • 17.00.06: Orders for Services Provided

  • 26.00.20: Delivery of Services

  • 26.01.09: Treatment Plan (Physical Therapy)

  • 26.02.09: Treatment Plan (Occupational Therapy)

  • 26.03.09: Treatment Plan (Speech Therapy)

  • 26.04.09: Treatment Plan (Audiology)

For more information and to see the revised standards, click here:

Source: HFAP

Monday, April 11, 2011

CMS Expands Hospital Compare to Include HAC Data

CMS announced the expansion of their publically reported data to include “Hospital Acquired Conditions (HAC). MSPs play an important role in patient safety and compliance with these measures as we assist our hospitals by providing education to our medical staffs during orientation and ongoing education opportunities.

For the first time, Medicare patients can see how often hospitals report serious conditions that develop during an inpatient hospital stay and possibly harm patients with important new data about the safety of care available in America’s hospitals added today to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Hospital Compare website.

The Hospital Compare website can be accessed at

Independent data from the Institute of Medicine estimates that as many as 98,000 people die in hospitals each year from medical errors that could have been prevented through proper care. Although not every HAC represents a medical error, the HAC rates provide important clues about the state of patient safety in America’s hospitals. In particular, HACs show how often the following potentially life-threatening events take place:

· Blood infections from a catheter placed in the hospital;
· Urinary tract infections from a catheter placed in the hospital;
· Falls, burns, electric shock, broken bones, and other injuries during a hospital stay;
· Blood transfusions with incompatible blood;
· Pressure ulcers (also known as bed sores) that develop after a patient enters the hospital;
· Injuries and complications from air or gas bubbles entering a blood vessel;
· Objects left in patients after surgery (such as sponges or surgical instruments);
· Poor control of blood sugar for patients with diabetes.

Today, there is so much information to communicate to our medical staffs. To accommodate our busy doctors have you come up with any innovative ways to provide education using new methods of technology that you would like to share with fellow MSPs?

Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Friday, April 8, 2011

Congress Continues Debate on Tort Reform

This week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on H.R. 5, the "Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Act (HEALTH) of 2011." The Act would impose a cap of $250,000 on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases.

Supporters of the bill state that it will save billions of dollars by eliminating frivolous suits, lowering the cost of malpractice insurance, and by preventing "defensive medicine," where practitioners may order unnecessary tests and treatments to avoid being sued by a patient. Opponents of the Act believe that providers should be held liable for their actions and that there should be no limit on an injured patient's right to seek relief.

Source: House Energy and Commerce Committee

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

TJC Announces Field Review of Influenza Standards

The Joint Commission has announced a field review of proposed standards addressing influenza vaccination requirements for staff and licensed independent practitioners. To read the proposed standards and provide comment, click here:

The comment period closes May 17, 2011

Source: The Joint Commission