March 25, 2014 > Washington Hospital Participates in Nationwide Program to Improve Outpatient Care
Washington Hospital Participates in Nationwide Program to Improve Outpatient Care
As part of a longstanding commitment to quality, Washington Hospital measures and tracks many aspects of the patient care it provides. To continually improve performance, the Hospital regularly compares the data it collects to its previous record and against the performance of other hospitals in the region, state and nation.
Washington Hospital also reports the data it collects to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the U.S. agency that helps administer the governmentÕs Medicare, Medicaid and ChildrenÕs Health Insurance programs. One goal of CMS is to assist people on Medicare in making more informed decisions about their health care. The quality of care information submitted by hospitals across the country is available to the public on CMSÕ Hospital Compare Web site www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare.
ÒA quality measure converts medical information from patient records into a rate or time that allows facilities to assess their performance and consumers to compare how well patients are being cared for at their local hospitals,Ó says CMS on its Web site, www.cms.gov.
The data collected by CMS is also part of its Òpay for qualityÓ Hospital Outpatient Quality Reporting Program, which provides hospitals with a financial incentive to report their quality of care measure data. CMS requires hospitals to meet certain administrative, data collection and submission, validation and publication requirements in the way it collects and reports the data. If those requirements are not met, the hospital receives a 2 percent reduction in its annual Medicare payment.
Updating the Board of Directors
Recently, Barbara Eusebio, R.N., Washington HospitalÕs Associate Administrator and Chief of Quality and Resource Management, updated the members of the Washington Township Health Care District Board of Directors on data reported to CMS about outpatient services. This includes laboratory testing, imaging services, outpatient surgery, and care in the Emergency Department. The data covered services provided during the current 2013-14 fiscal year.
ÒThrough this data reporting program, CMS is working to help hospitals improve the process, structure, outcomes and efficiency of providing outpatient care,Ó explained Eusebio. ÒOne of the main priorities is making sure hospitals arenÕt providing unnecessary care.Ó
Washington Hospital reports on 23 measures related to outpatient care. The data, which keeps patient names confidential, is abstracted from patient medical records.
The CMS program also tracks a number of Web-based indicators designed to measure the use of communications technology to improve care. For example, one measure assesses the ability of physicians to receive the results of lab tests electronically and clearly through their electronic health record system.
ÒWith EPIC, Washington Hospital Healthcare SystemÕs electronic medical record, physicians who have the system in their offices are able to get test results quickly,Ó stated Eusebio.
Last year, CMS added several new outpatient indicators to its outpatient program, and Washington Hospital is now reporting on these:
* Are outpatient surgery patients being given antibiotics within one hour after surgery?
* Are outpatient surgery patients being given the right antibiotic after surgery?
* Are patients being treated in the Emergency Department, from arrival to discharge, in a timely manner?
In her report to the Board, Eusebio covered some examples of Washington HospitalÕs outpatient data from the current 2013-14 fiscal year:
In the last four years, the Hospital has further improved its administration of antibiotics to patients having outpatient surgery:
* The percentage of patients receiving an antibiotic at the right time has improved from 93 percent to 96 percent.
* The percentage of patients receiving the right type of antibiotic has increased from 93 percent to 99 percent.
Compared to other California hospitals, Washington Hospital is the same or better in the way it provides certain diagnostic imaging procedures:
* Follow-up with outpatients receiving mammography, ultrasound and MRI is 100 percent.
* The percentage of outpatients receiving CT scans of the abdomen or chest with and without contrastÑreferred to as Òdouble scanningÓÑis in line with other California hospitals.
* The percentage of outpatient receiving a stress test before having low risk surgery is well below the California average. CMS considers administering this test prior to low risk surgery to be unnecessary.
* The percentage of Emergency Department patients receiving CT scans of the brain and the sinuses is in line with other California hospitals. Administering both scans is considered unnecessary.
Eusebio reported that Washington Hospital will continue monitoring its performance on these and other measures tracked by CMS.
ÒWe continue to evaluate the necessity of tests and follow-up procedures, according to CMS recommendations,Ó explained Eusebio. ÒWe also educate our providers about the appropriateness of tests and the risks and benefits involved.Ó
Learn More About Our Quality Initiatives
To learn more about Washington HospitalÕs quality initiatives, visit www.whhs.com/quality. To review the latest outpatient data collected by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), go to www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare.