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JCAHO drafts standard for ED overcrowding
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) has released a proposed leadership standard on emergency department overcrowding.
The proposed standard calls on hospital leaders to develop and implement plans to identify and mitigate situations that result in emergency department (ED) crowding. It looks, for example, at whether hospital leaders incorporate ED crowding into performance improvement activities, coordinate with community resources such as home health agencies and long-term care facilities to expedite discharges from the ED, and use performance measures to monitor the capacity of support services and treatment areas that receive ED patients.
If approved, the standard would be implemented in January 2004. The draft standard is at www.jcaho.org.
Hospitals picked for ED crowding program
Ten hospital systems have been selected to participate in a national initiative by the Princeton, NJ-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to reduce emergency department (ED) crowding and assess the health care safety net.
The health systems will receive up to $125,000 to develop and implement strategies to relieve ED crowding, and will produce a report depicting the state of the safety net in their community. Four of the health systems also will receive $250,000 to implement specific demonstration projects.
Lessons learned from what is being called the Urgent Matters project will be disseminated to hospitals and communities nationwide. For more information and a list of participants, go to www.urgentmatters.org.
Web site offers providers EDI implementation dates
The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange and the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare have created a web site where providers can get health plan and clearinghouse schedules for testing and implementing electronic transactions standards under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Some participating health plans also provide a link to their HIPAA companion guides. The web site, aimed at helping providers plan for the rule’s October implementation deadline, is at www.wedi.org/snip/caqhimptools.
CMS proposes its new Medicare payment rules
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released its proposed rule for inpatient Medicare payments for fiscal year (FY) 2004.
Among the key items in the nearly 1,000-page rule are the following:
Ft. Lauderdale site of Sept. AAHAM conference
The American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM) is holding its Annual National Institute (ANI) Sept. 25-27 at the Marriott’s Harbor Beach Resort & Spa in Ft. Lauderdale.
AAHAM has co-hosted a conference with the National Association of Healthcare Access Management in the past and often addresses issues of interest to access managers.
For more on program topics and other ANI information, go to the organization’s web site at www.aaham.org.
More hospitals permitting family during procedures
About half the hospitals surveyed for a recent study allow family members to be present during emergency procedures, but only 5% have written policies to that effect.
About one-fourth of nurses responding to a survey by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses and the Emergency Nurses Association reported that family presence was prohibited for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and invasive procedures, even though their units had no written policies prohibiting such access.
The nurses said family members asked to be present about one-third of the time for resuscitation and about two-thirds of the time for invasive procedures.
The trend is that more and more hospitals are allowing family members access during emergency procedures, according to the American Hospital Association.
The survey is reported in the May 2003 issue of the American Journal of Critical Care and the June issue of the Journal of Emergency Nursing.
ED visits up 20% since ’92,CDC says
Visits to U.S. hospital emergency departments (EDs) have climbed 20% in the past decade, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.
EDs received an estimated 107.5 million visits in 2001, about 17.5 million or 20% more than in 1992, the agency's latest annual National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey shows.
The CDC attributes the increase in part to U.S. population growth and an increase in older adults, who tend to visit EDs more often than younger people. The number of U.S. EDs also decreased by about 15% during the same period, the agency notes.
Hospitals in metropolitan areas and those affiliated with medical schools tended to have a larger volume of ED visits. Abdominal pain, chest pain, and fever were the most common principal reasons for visits. About 30% of ED patients had elevated blood pressure, and about one in four patients received medications during their visit.
For a summary of the survey findings, visit www.cdc.gov/nchs.