Thursday, May 30, 2013

HCAHPS - What is this and where did it come from? A Guest Post from Nancy English

Hello Readers,

In order to provide diverse, original, and up-to-the-minute information on important industry topics, your NAMSS Blog will now feature guest bloggers. If you have some ideas for a blog entry and would like to be considered for guest blogger opportunities, please contact us. 

Our first guest blogger is a knowledgeable Medical Staff Professional with more than 20 years of experience:  Nancy L. English, CPMSM, Director of Medical Staff Services at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital HEB in Bedford, Texas.  Her years of work and study in the Medical Staff Services field have given her a significant knowledge base from which to draw and willingly share with others. 

Nancy is passionate about education, particularly when it comes to matters relating to any and all MSPs.  Nancy will provide a series of blog posts on timely topics.   Her first post, "HCAHPS - What is this and where did it come from?", is below.  Thank you, Nancy, and welcome aboard!

HCAHPS - What is this and where did it come from? 
HCAHPS is an acronym for Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems.  It is a standardized survey of patients (post-discharge) and their perspectives on the care they received during their recent hospital stay. 

The HCAHPS came from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as a way to measure hospital quality, and to compare hospitals locally, regionally and nationally.  This survey has been endorsed by the National Quality Forum which has representatives from health care, patient/consumer groups, the government and other  groups with vested interests in the health care provided in our country. 

One purpose for HCAHPS is to collect data from patients, compile a statistical picture of quality provided at health care entities across the nation, compare those statistics, and publish their findings so the public can make decisions on where they want to go for their health care needs. 

There is actually much  more to it than explained in this brief post.  So, what else is there and what does this mean for my health care entity, physician group or network?  Stay tuned for more on this topic.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The KHN Blog: Docs, Nurses Disagree Over Expanded Nurse Roles

Alvin Tran, May 15th, 2013

As nurse practitioners lobby to expand their authority and scope of practice in many states, a New England Journal of Medicine study released Wednesday documents a deep chasm between how doctors and nurses regard the issue.

The study found the two groups overwhelmingly agreed that nurse practitioners should be able to practice to the full extent of their schooling and training. But doctors were less likely to concur that advanced practice nurses should lead medical homes, which deliver team-based, coordinated care to patients. Only 17 percent of the 505 primary care physicians  surveyed agreed with that notion, compared to 82 percent of the 467 nurse practitioners surveyed.

Read the rest from KHN here.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Medscape: Want Hospital Admitting Privileges? First Pass a Drug Test

NAMSS President, Melissa Walters, is quoted in the article below.

By Robert Lowes

May 16, 2013

Physicians seeking medical staff privileges at a hospital should first go into a bathroom and fill a small paper cup, all for the sake of patient safety, suggests an article published online April 29 in JAMA.

Requiring physicians to take a urine drug test as a condition of employment is already the norm at hospitals, but lead author Julius Pham, MD, PhD, and colleagues recommend that hospitals also screen medical staff applicants for possible impairment by substance abuse.

Read the full article and see what Melissa had to say at

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

NEJM: Expanding the Role of Advanced Nurse Practitioners — Risks and Rewards

John K. Inglehart, May 16, 2013

As the 2014 expansion of coverage mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) looms larger, one question with no ready answer is how health care providers, policymakers, and payers will cope with an expected surge in patient demand for services. A shortage of primary care physicians to treat newly insured persons is the most immediate health workforce issue, but when added to the nation's population growth and more aging patients who require treatment, finding a practitioner may become an even more daunting challenge.

Read the rest at

Monday, May 20, 2013

OIG Issues Update

On May 8, the Office of Inspector General issued an update to its Special Advisory Bulletin on the Effect of Exclusion from Participation in Federal Health Care Programs.

The full report can be found here.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

HHS: The NPDB-HIPDB Has Become the NPDB

Effective May 7, 2013, the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) and the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank (HIPDB) are now one Data Bank:  the NPDB. The official website is Users should update their bookmarks with the new Data Bank website address. 

Users will experience no disruption in Data Bank service, and essentially no change to their reporting workflow or requirements. The HIPDB information did not go away, but was integrated into the NPDB. Users’ access to Data Bank information may expand, meaning that query results may include reports that were previously only accessible through querying the HIPDB.

Read the rest here.

Monday, May 6, 2013

NYT: Why Doctors Are Sued

Nicholas Bakalar, April 29, 2013

What kind of medical error accounts for most malpractice payments: Surgical mistakes? Overdoses? Obstetric errors?

No, no and no. The most common cause of paid claims for malpractice is making errors in diagnosis.

Using the National Practitioner Data Bank, which records actions taken by state licensing authorities against health care practitioners, researchers found that 28.6 percent of malpractice payments are for diagnostic mistakes.

Read the rest at

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 Calming a hospital culture clash

Bridging communication gaps between medical staffs and hospitals can prevent unnecessary lawsuits.

Alicia Gallegos, amednews staff, April 29, 2013

After two years, a heated dispute between Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center and its medical staff finally came to a head in 2012. The conflict arose from a set of amended bylaws the center's administration wanted to enact. The medical staff refused to approve the bylaws and recommended a separate set of bylaws.

“At that point, we had reached an impasse, because the medical staff bylaws can't be amended without the medical staff and the governing body's approval,” said Bernard Duco Jr., chief legal officer for Memorial Hermann Health System, based in Houston.

Instead of moving toward litigation or allowing the dispute to fester, the hospital and medical staff engaged in a conflict intervention. Leaders from both sides agreed to a series of sit-down sessions to discuss their concerns. They reached a compromise on several major issues.

Read the rest at