This story is in progress. To receive the latest updates, click here. Friday's Daily Briefing will contain Advisory Board analysis of the proposed rule. Follow Chief Research Officer Chas Roades on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ChasRoades for initial reaction to the proposal and key takeaways.
As reported in today's Daily Briefing, CMS on Thursday released its proposed rule to govern accountable care organizations (ACOs).
As called for by the federal health reform law, the ACO program is intended to encourage networks of providers to collaborate on care for Medicare beneficiaries, with the aim of improving outcomes and reducing cost. Participating providers will be eligible for a portion of shared savings.
In a conference call, officials estimated that ACOs will save Medicare as much as $960 million over the model's first three years. They also reiterated that organizations that seek to become ACOs must treat at least 5,000 patients.
CMS Unveils Long-Awaited ACO Framework
A recent study from Circulation Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes suggests that the use of a simple screening tool in cardiology offices can increase appropriate referrals to an electrophysiologist for patients indicated for an ICD.
Given the growing body of evidence suggesting that ICDs are underutilized for primary prevention of sudden cardiac death, researchers sought to determine whether using a screening tool would increase appropriate referrals. The screening tool was attached to the medical record and simply asked the physician if the patient's ejection fraction was less than 35 percent and whether a referral to an electrophysiologist was made. Physicians at the first site, a Yale cardiology faculty practice outpatient site, used the tool between September and October 2007. The second practice involved in the study, was a private cardiology practice, participated in the study from July 2009 through to January 2010. The results showed that appropriate referral rate increased significantly for both practices. More specifically, the referral rate increased from 33 percent to 88 percent at the first site, and from 44 percent to 100 percent at the private cardiology practice involved in the study.
Screening Tool Improves Appropriate Referrals for ICDs
HHS on Monday unveiled its National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care, which calls for a focus on patient-centered care, reducing costs and improving public health, HealthLeaders Media reports. Particularly relevant to the cardiovascular service line, HHS has identified effective prevention and treatment of CV disease as an immediate priority in this strategy.
The federal health reform law called for the strategy to guide local, state and national efforts to improve health care. The strategy aims to reduce administrative burdens and facilitate care collaboration for physicians and other health care providers. HHS also calls for increased adoption of electronic health records to facilitate many of the projects included in the strategy.
HHS Releases National Quality Strategy Indicates Prevention of CV Disease a Priority