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Need for patient-centered, compassionate care drives doctor

October 30th, 2014

By Jennifer M. Loeb

For me, safe patient care is more than adherence to checklists and standard operating protocols. It is a consequence of an approach to treating patients that's characterized by applying medical evidence in a patient-centric way, by ensuring that compassion enters into care decisions and by listening with purpose to a patient's articulated needs and, often helping them identify what those needs may be. I look forward to becoming a caregiver who can bring those attributes to my patient interactions.

To say that I have evolved over many years to this point may be true, but it took a personal family challenge for me to truly appreciate all that it takes to achieve safe care. It's not easy, it's not one thing, it's not just being careful or diligent -- rather, it's the way we deliver care, it's how we see our role as part of a healing process, it's how we put "care" into the word
"caregiver."

During my last two years of medical school, I watched my dad courageously battle, and eventually succumb to, stage 4 prostate cancer. As a previously healthy man, the diagnosis was devastating, and as a healthcare executive and patient safety expert, the diagnosis even more traumatic. We quickly learned that a family well-versed in the language and ways of medicine (my mom a nurse; and me a medical student) was not sufficient to effectively navigate the complexities. We were daunted with the choices, the conflicting information, the scientific nuances.

=> Read more!

Change to small balance insurance claims process can save hospitals money

October 30th, 2014

by Kevin L. Shrake

I believe that every healthcare executive would agree that managing the complex process of sending out bills and collecting the amounts due is a challenging, labor intensive process. Take the mixed bag of self pay, Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance, follow the rules as best you can and try to carve out a modest profit.

How do we counterbalance the competing incentives of wanting to get paid what we are owed versus the "deny and underpayment tactics" of the insurance companies?

Every hospital in the country has a certain amount of low balance, insurance claims per month. Each finance department recognizes a dollar threshold where it no longer makes financial sense to attempt to collect on these claims. Often that amount is around $1,000 to $1,500.

How do we manage these accounts and is there a better way to maximize our collections?

=> Read more!

Traditional communication isn't enough: Use entertainment education to fight Ebola

October 30th, 2014

by Andrea J. Simon

The World Health Organization declared the 2014 outbreak of Ebola in Africa an extraordinary event. Experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cite crisis communication as critical in stemming the outbreak. The Health Communication Capacity Collaborative's Health COMpass has made social and behavior change communication materials publicly available.

My organization works with healthcare providers that need or want to change. Given human nature, what usually forces this change is a crisis, and what could be a bigger crisis than the Ebola virus now gripping the world's attention? How will U.S. hospitals respond? Are they prepared? Will they learn from the Dallas debacle, where inadequate communication as opposed to inadequate healthcare response lead to panic, or repeat the same mistakes?

I just returned from Dallas, the then-U.S. epicenter of Ebola, and it was frightening. Travelers in the airport wore facemasks and blue gloves. Conversations were all about how serious the virus was, how poorly the staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital was prepared, and how woefully inept the CDC protocols were. The public's story--and boy, was this a time for storytelling--was a reflection of how the hospital had put us all at risk because they had "blown it."

=> Read more!

The patient-centered medical home: Keys to overcoming obstacles to success

October 30th, 2014

By Debra Beaulieu-Volk

The industry holds high hopes for the patient-centered medical home model, but some adopters have struggled to achieve its triple aim of improved care experience, improved population health and reduced cost of care.

In the decade since the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) first introduced the concept of this "new model of care," medical practices have learned much about the keys to PCMH implementation and success, according to Robert L. Wergin, M.D., FAAFP, a family physician in Milford, Nebraska, and president of the AAFP.

FiercePracticeManagement spoke with Wergin and another leader of the PCMH movement to learn best practices to tip the scales in favor of success.

>> Read the special report here

Molina Healthcare's new centralized procurement operation saves time, money

October 30th, 2014

by Ilene MacDonald

Accounts payable and the cloud may hold the secret to providing quality healthcare.

At least that's what Molina Healthcare--an organization that provides healthcare to financially vulnerable families and individuals covered by government programs--discovered when it created an in-house centralized procurement operation, a move that kept administrative costs down while it expanded staff and membership.

Rapid growth was the main reason the Long Beach, California-based organization, which offers health plans in nine states and has medical clinics in California, Florida, New Mexico, Virginia, Washington and Utah, decided to centralize the process, Bryce Berg, vice president of corporate administration (pictured right), told FierceHealthFinance in an exclusive interview.

>> Read the full story at FierceHealthFinance

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