News Briefs

New faces at Joint Commission, NPP

The Joint Commission has hired a former emergency physician to be the medical director for its division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation. In his role, Daniel J. Castillo, MD, MBA, will be the physician voice in the development of standards, survey processes, and performance measures for TJC accreditation and certification programs. He will also liaise with external stakeholders, such as fellow physicians and national organizations.

Most recently an emergency physician at NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, IL, Castillo led physicians in training, nurses and staff in direct patient care activities.

Meanwhile, a former Joint Commission face has been named co-chair for the National Priorities Partnership (NPP) of the National Quality Forum (NQF). Susan Frampton, PhD, president of Planetree, was a member of a Joint Commission expert panel on culturally appropriate care. She has been part of the NPP — a partnership of 52 major national organizations with a shared vision to achieve better health, and a safe, equitable, and value-driven healthcare system — since 2009. She has done committee work for the group on issues of readmissions and patient-centered approaches to care.

She will serve a three-year term.

CMS readmission measures stand

The National Quality Forum (NQF) Board of Directors upheld endorsement of three measures addressing planned readmissions, reviewing them after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) made changes that impacted the scientific acceptability of the measures. Following further review, the Board of Directors concluded that the measures should remain endorsed.

The measures are:

  • 0330: Hospital 30-day all-cause risk-standardized readmission rate following heart failure hospitalization for patients 18 and older (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services);
  • 0505: Hospital 30-day all-cause risk-standardized readmission rate (RSRR) following acute myocardial infarction (AMI) hospitalization (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services);
  • 1551: Hospital-level 30-day all-cause risk-standardized readmission rate (RSRR) following elective primary total hip arthroplasty (THA) and total knee arthroplasty (TKA) (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services).

New children’s EHR format from AHRQ

Now data from pediatric patients will be more easily mined after the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHRQ) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a new electronic health record (EHR) format specifically for children’s health.

Existing EHR systems aren’t tailored to capture pediatric-specific information such as whether a child has received specific childhood vaccinations and information about functionality that relates specifically to young patients. The new formatting will let vendors and developers create appropriate modules for pediatrics.

The format includes a minimum set of data elements and applicable data standards that can be used as a blueprint. The elements are sorted into topic areas that include prenatal and newborn screening tests, immunizations, growth data, information for children with special health care needs, and child abuse reporting. The format also includes guidance on structures that permit interoperable exchange of data, including data collected in school-based, primary and inpatient care settings. AHRQ says the format is compatible with other EHR standards and “facilitates quality measurement and improvement through the collection of clinical quality data.”

AHRQ and CMS worked with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians to create the format, which is built on specifications from sources that include the Health Level Seven International EHR-S Functional Model, the HL7 Child Health Work Group’s Child Health Functional Profile, and the HHS Health Resources and Services Administration’s Health IT for Children Toolbox.

Next steps include testing by two CHIPRA quality demonstration grantees, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of North Carolina. CMS will also work toward integration of the format into future editions of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s EHR Standards and Certification Criteria.

Further information is available at