Collaboration as a form of protection

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Justine Cadet, Executive Editor

Healthcare providers are going to have to learn how to play nicely with each other.  As Medicare cuts continue, health systems, hospitals and individual physician practices are going to have to learn to share patient care, in order to qualify for the shared payment model that will likely emerge soon.

Specifically, a report from MedeAnalytics suggested hospitals can expect annual Medicare payments to drop $5 million over the next 10 years due to the current economic downturn, healthcare reform and reductions outlined in the Patient Protection and the Affordable Care Act. In addition, the recent debt ceiling legislation, the increases in risk-based reimbursements and pressures from commercial payors have put hospitals in a “perfect storm,” according the report authors.

Also, Cardiosource.org reported on how the third-year phase-in of the practice expense cuts also could affect the bottom line for cardiovascular practices. 

As protection from the impending cuts, the MedeAnalytics report offered some strategies for hospitals, which included partnering with clinical leadership; engaging with service line managers and physicians; and revamping care coordination. These strategies encourage caregivers to branch out beyond their immediate clinical responsibilities to coordinate with other caregivers and administration.

Also, the American College of Cardiology is launching a six-part webinar series focused on "Advancing the Business of Cardiovascular Care," some of which discuss better alignment between physicians and administration after a practice has been integrated into a hospital.

Many of these collaborative strategies aim to facilitate better transitions of care between the hospital setting and the patient’s departure to reduce costly and common readmission rates for certain complex patient populations. For instance, a study in the July/August issue of the Journal of Hospital Medicine demonstrated a pharmacist-directed anticoagulation service improved the transition of care from an inpatient to outpatient setting for patients who received the anticoagulant warfarin.

Similarly, look for Cardiovascular Business’ September cover story on reducing heart failure readmissions through improved transitions of care. And, please let us know of any steps that your organization is taking to better collaborate care.

Finally, speaking of collaborations, we are proud to announce that this monthly practice management newsletter was created in partnership with the ACC. Look for more issues of our joint newsletter in the coming months.

Justine Cadet
jcadet@trimedmedia.com