CCF Health Care Ventures launches quality program

CCF Health Care Ventures of Cleveland, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Cleveland Clinic foundation, has launched a comprehensive quality management (QM) program that is based on the need to deliver customer-focused, cost-effective, quality health care.

The rise in quality programs stems from consumer demands for better health care, as well as the federal government’s push for quality as evidenced by its newly released Conditions of Participation in Medicare (see related story, p. 49).

CCF Health Care Ventures plans to develop measuring methodologies and a consensus in determining what to measure, while building a data repository for benchmarking.

"The implementation of the QM program provides our company with a tool that will enable us to provide even better care to our patients as well as demonstrate that quality and value to others," says Carol Shaffer, president and CEO of CCF Health Care Ventures.

The program consists of the following components:

• critical pathways;

• disease management;

• patient education;

• problem report and root cause analysis;

• satisfaction surveys;

• outcomes research.

GranCare agrees to buy Northport Health Services

GranCare of Atlanta in March signed an agreement to acquire Northport (AL) Health Services, a long-term care provider GranCare says the agreement provides for the acquisition of 19 skilled-nursing and assisted-living facilities with more than 2,000 beds and several related ancillary businesses. The company says the purchase consideration includes seller financing and GranCare common stock. GranCare says the deal should close during the second quarter of 1997.

Clinton names panel to monitor health care

Saying many Americans are worried their medical care is suffering as costs are cut, especially under managed care, President Clinton named a commission in March to monitor health care quality and write a health care consumer’s "bill of rights."

The announcement sparked debate over his intentions. On the one hand, some Republicans, like Rep. William Thomas of California, think the panel is only a gimmick to ratify regulations the president plans to impose on private health care marketplace. On the other hand, some consumer groups worry that the panel might delay reform.

Ann B. Howard, executive director of the American Federation of Home Health Agencies in Silver Spring, MD, says the commission is a positive development for health care consumers, including home care patients whose visits are often limited under managed care, she says. Her organization plans to make suggestions to the commission for the "bill of rights," which should logically extend to home care, she says. "Consumers have the right to all services, including home health services."

Howard says her organization has gathered evidence from "140 to 150" cases that show problems with health care access and quality under managed care.

Administration officials have been careful to say the panel isn’t intended to bash managed care, and that all types of health care will be scrutinized.