Cluster of lap cases show up in report

CT hospitals, surg centers report adverse events

The first set of adverse events reports from hospitals and surgery centers in Connecticut show that of 94 adverse events reported, 20 were from errors during laparoscopic surgery. Accidental punctures of the colon and bladder were the most obvious reason listed in those 20 cases.

The hospitals and surgery centers released the reports in October and November after Connecticut passed a law requiring tracking and disclosure of medical errors. The results were reported by the Hartford (CT) Courant. Connecticut is one of 21 states that requires its health care facilities to report adverse events.

Under the CT reporting law, hospitals and surgery centers must notify the health department of an adverse event almost immediately. That report is kept from the public for six months to allow the facility and state officials to fully investigate the case.

For a chart summarizing the reports given to the Connecticut Department of Public Health, go to and click on "Hospital and Surgical Center Adverse Event Reports."

JCAHO posts 2004 standards, offers videos

Outpatient surgery program managers scheduled for survey by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations in early 2004 can get an early preview of the standards by which they will be surveyed.

The pre-publication standards, which are approved but are not yet formatted for publication in the manual, are available on-line at www; click on "2004 Pre-publication standards." They are effective Jan. 1, 2004, for ambulatory care facilities and hospitals. The standards for office-based surgery will be revised in 2005.

The web site does give users an opportunity to navigate between current and new requirements for comparison, but the pre-publication standards do not include scoring information.

If you have additional questions after reviewing the revised standards and crosswalk, see the Standards Online Question Form at, or call the Standards Interpretation Group at (630) 792-5900.

Free video describes new process

The Joint Commission also is offering free on-line informational videos that will help same-day surgery managers learn more about the Shared Visions — New Pathways accreditation process. (For more information, see "JCAHO is turning your world upside down with you reporting deficiencies," Same-Day Surgery, December 2002, p. 145.)

The two videos discuss the new approach to accreditation and the significant changes to standards. Other topics planned include priority focus process and tracer methodology, electronic application for accreditation, periodic performance reviews, performance improvement, and unannounced surveys.

To access the videos that are available now, go to, click on "Shared Visions — New Pathways," then "Video Information Series." If you need assistance to view the videos, contact Frank Barancyk, Internet/intranet communications manager at (630) 792-5182.

Medicare announces changes to OPPS

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced changes to the hospital outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS) effective July 1, 2003. The memo addresses these areas:

  • new health care common procedure coding system (HCPCS) codes and their status under hospital OPPS;
  • changes affecting drugs and biologicals;
  • pass-through device category codes in effect as of July 1, 2003;
  • modifications to existing HCPCS codes and ambulatory payment classification (APC) groups;
  • billing and payment requirements for observation services;
  • updating billing instructions for drug-eluting stents;
  • coding instructions for oxaliplatin (Eloxatin);
  • minimum unadjusted copayment amount for APC 0235, Level 1 posterior segment eye procedures;
  • billing instructions for A9518, supply of radiopharmaceutical therapeutic imaging agent, I-131 sodium iodide solution;
  • payment amount for J3487, injection, zoledronic acid, per 1 mg.

To access the memo, go to:

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