Tiptastic Tuesday: Emergency Response Planning

Physician practices play a key role in immediate and short-term medical emergency response. Below are some tips from the American Medical Association (AMA) on planning for disasters to ensure your practice is ready before disaster strikes.

Conduct A Hazard Assessment: Assess the probability of natural, human-made or technological disasters and estimate the potential impact to the community. Focus on to the likeliest, most devastating hazards.

Assess Practice Continuity: Take inventory of things you need to keep going should disaster strike. Look at existing insurance policies, financing procedures, employee policies and risk management plans. Be sure to check critical equipment for fire protection, communication, first aid and emergency power and and have backup systems for payroll, communications and computer systems.

Develop A Plan: Establish and review annually your plan for how to respond to a disaster, including who will be in charge during the disaster.  Create a communications list of staff and patients; local emergency, health department, hospital, fire and police officials; and pharmacy and insurance agents.Identify how your practice will respond in the event of shortages of supplies, space or staff; how you will use volunteers; and how you will assure security.

Practice The Plan: Conduct an assessment of your emergency plan to test phone tree, communication and staff readiness.

Review & Revise: Evaluate the response plan to determine effectiveness and eliminate gaps.




Tiptastic Tuesday: Ensuring Patient Safety

The following expert backed practices from the American Medical Association (AMA) can help hospitals protect their patients.

  • Be hand hygiene compliant
  • Use barrier precautions to stop infections from spreading
  • Employ preoperative checklists to reduce surgical complications
  • Avoid hazardous drug abbreviations
  • Reconcile medications during care transitions
  • Implement computerized physician order entry systems to alert doctors about adverse drug interactions
  • Use  interventions to reduce falls.
  • Use clinical pharmacists to reduce adverse drug events.
  • Obtain informed consent from patients’ to ensure an understanding of a potential risks
  • Use rapid response systems to provide quick treatment
  • Document patient preferences for life-sustaining treatment.
  • Use teamwork training to optimize communication among health professionals
  • Utilize complementary methods to track medical errors and adverse events


Docs Seek Safe Harbor From PPACA

Medical associations long have been concerned that federal quality-of-care and payment reform measures, such as those authorized by the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA), could be used to fuel negligence accusations against individual physicians. As a result, states across the country and Congress are seeking to pass legislation based on an American Medical Association (AMA) model bill to prevent doctors from being exposed to medical liability.

Click here to read more.

Tiptastic Tuesday: 9 Ways To Reduce Hospital Readmissions

A recent report from the American Medical Association (AMA)  highlights the critical role office-based doctors play in helping their patients make safe transitions after being discharged from the hospital.

To help avoid rehospitalizations, physician practices should:

  • Keep organized information on patients’ medical issues, health goals, functional and psychological status, and behavioral and social issues.
  • Consider patients’ acute, intermediate and long-term care goals.
  • Be explicit with patients about social, economic, cultural and other factors that may impede their care.
  • Use reader-friendly tools such as checklists and “red flag” lists to help patients and caregivers with self-management tasks.
  • Use motivational interviewing and teach-to-goal methods to support self-care.
  • Use pharmacy, patient and hospital discharge lists to ensure a fully reconciled and accurate medication list after discharge.
  • Reinforce medication changes made in the hospital with patients, as appropriate.
  • Use “pill cards” to help patients track drug changes.
  • Allocate time to address care coordination tasks, using templates and checklists for specific tasks.

Report: Budget Control Act Cuts Healthcare Jobs

More than more than 496,000 healthcare jobs will be cut next year according to a new report by the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the American Nurses Association (ANA).

The 2011 Budget Control Act called for mandatory, across-the-board cuts in federal spending, including a 2% cut in Medicare spending beginning January 1, unless Congress acts to reduce the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years.

Click here to read more.

Tiptastic Tuesday: Chosing A Physician

HMS Healthcare Management SolutionsChoosing a doctor, dentist or other health care provider is one of the most important decisions you can make. Keep these tips in mind when beginning your search:

  • Understand Your Needs:  Not everyone is looking for the same thing in a doctor. Carefully consider the qualifications most important to your family and their particular conditions when selecting a physician.
  • Make A List:  Make a list of doctors you would like to consider. Check your health plan’s list of covered professionals and seek recommendations from friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and other health care professionals you trust.
  • Contact The Office: Ask some basic questions tailored to your needs. If you’re looking for a physician, here are some basics to find out from office staff: Which hospitals does the doctor use?  How long does it take to get a routine appointment? What do you do if you have an urgent need for care? For common medical problems, does the doctor, nurse or physician assistant give advice over the phone or by e-mail?
  • Check Records: The American Medical Association’s (AMA) DoctorFinder can help in checking a physician’s credentials, while state medical boards will have information on doctors and other professionals who require licensing and may even have data on disciplinary action. Click here for a state-by-state listing.
  • Schedule An Appointment:  Make an appointment for an initial consultation and see what kind of “fit” they are. A health care professional should be willing to answer all your questions. If you have particular medical conditions, find out how experienced they are in treating those conditions. If you use or participate in any alternative medicines or treatments, see if they’re comfortable with them.
  • Follow Your Gut:  Did the doctor listen carefully to your concerns and answer in terms you understood?  Did you feel comfortable discussing specific health problems? Is this someone you’re willing to entrust your health with for the long term?

Courtney Reveals Medicare Coverage Expansion Bill

Yesterday, Representative Joe Courtney (D-CT) presented legislation that would help patients preserve their life savings while receiving long term care.

Currently, Medicare will only cover nursing home stays if a patient has been admitted to the hospital as an in-patient for at least three days. But new legislation introduced by Courtney would change Medicare rules. The bill, which has bipartisan support, has been endorsed by American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Health Care Association (AHCA).

Click here to read more.