Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Research from AHRQ’s EvidenceNOW Initiative Sets the Stage for Advances in Primary Care.
NQF Leads a National Discussion about Opioid Stewardship
Nearly 600 members of the public joined NQF’s National Quality Partners™ (NQP™) Opioid Stewardship Action Team for a March 29 national discussion about how healthcare organizations, clinicians, pharmacists, and patients can support safe and effective pain management strategies, including appropriate prescribing of opioids.
At the heart of the discussion was the recently launched NQP Playbook™: Opioid Stewardship, which offers practical strategies, identifies barriers and solutions, and provides tools and resources for implementing or strengthening existing opioid stewardship programs across the country. Here are some of the discussion highlights:
“We’re quite excited about the NQP Playbook and the applicability to many different organizations at different stages of development in their own work on opioid stewardship,” said Paul Conlon, PharmD, JD, senior vice president, chief quality and patient safety, Trinity Health, and co-chair of the NQP Opioid Stewardship Action Team.
“Nine surgeries, nine times I was prescribed opioids for pain medicine, and nine times I wasn’t really given an option of other pain management suggestions,” said Joan Maxwell, patient partner and NQP Opioid Stewardship Action Team member representing Patient and Family Centered Care Partners, Inc.
“We got here as a nation in an attempt to solve a problem, which was our failure…to effectively manage pain,” said Alice Bell, PT, DPT, senior payment specialist, American Physical Therapy Association and NQP Opioid Stewardship Action Team member. She later added, “There is a role for opioids in pain management. This is not an all-or-nothing phenomenon.”
Join NQF’s national discussion to improve pain management for patients! Download your copy of the NQP Playbook from the NQF Store. Register today for NQF’s May 1 fully-accredited workshop, “Driving Patient Safety and Quality through Opioid Stewardship” to gain the frontline resources and strategies you need to improve opioid stewardship, pain management practices, and patient outcomes at your organization.
Secretary Azar Announces Appointments to Advance Department Priorities
On Thursday, HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced the appointment of two individuals to lead initiatives in areas he has identified as priorities for the Department. Secretary Azar has previously identified four initiatives for his transformation agenda: combating the opioid crisis; bringing down the high cost of prescription drugs; addressing the cost and availability of health insurance; and transforming our healthcare system to a value-based system. The individuals who will be taking key roles on opioids and prescription drug pricing are:
- Daniel M. Best will be Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Drug Pricing Reform. Mr. Best will lead the initiative to lower the high price of prescription drugs.
- Brett Giroir, M.D., will, in addition to his duties as Assistant Secretary for Health, serve as Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Mental Health and Opioid Policy. Dr. Giroir will be responsible for coordinating HHS’s efforts across the Administration to fight America’s opioid crisis.
“Under President Trump, HHS has an historic opportunity to confront a number of America’s pressing health challenges, including the high price of prescription drugs and our country’s opioid crisis,” said Secretary Azar. “These leaders will play a unique role at HHS in driving coordination and results on these vital issues.”
“Daniel Best recognizes what President Trump and I, and every American know: prescription drug prices are too high. He has the deep experience necessary to design and enact reforms to lower the price of medicines that help Americans live healthier and longer lives.
“Brett Giroir, our Assistant Secretary for Health, will use his exceptional talents to tackle our country’s crisis of opioid addiction and overdose. His experience coordinating major projects within the federal government will bring new focus to our efforts on this issue.
“These two leaders will be invaluable to HHS and will advance the good work already being done at the Department serve the American people.”
Leaders for healthcare payment reform and value-based transformation of the healthcare system, will be announced in the coming weeks.
Daniel M. Best, Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Drug Pricing Reform
A highly accomplished, top-performing healthcare industry executive, Daniel Best is an expert on both the pharmaceutical landscape and the largest single payer for prescription drugs, the Medicare Part D program. Best recently served as the Corporate Vice President of Industry Relations for CVSHealth’s Medicare Part D business. This included the company’s prescription drug plans, Medicare Part D plans, and other clients, which together provide prescription drug coverage for millions of Americans. Prior to working at CVS, Best spent 12 years at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.
Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir, M.D., Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Mental Health and Opioid Policy
Dr. Brett Giroir is HHS’s Assistant Secretary for Health, a role he will continue. He is a four-star admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Dr. Giroir is the former Director of the Defense Science Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and has spent his career leading major projects for academic institutions and the U.S. Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, and Veterans Affairs. He has been recognized for his novel approach to using biomedical advancements that have accelerated the development and manufacturing of vaccines and other treatments for pandemic influenza and emerging infectious diseases.
Geographic Variations in Arthritis Prevalence, Health-Related Characteristics, and Management — United States, 2015
Kamil E. Barbour, PhD1; Susan Moss, MS2; Janet B. Croft, PhD1; Charles G. Helmick, MD1; Kristina A. Theis, PhD1; Teresa J. Brady, PhD1; Louise B. Murphy, PhD1; Jennifer M. Hootman, PhD1; Kurt J. Greenlund, PhD1; Hua Lu, MS1; Yan Wang, PhD1
Problem/Condition: Doctor-diagnosed arthritis is a common chronic condition affecting an estimated 23% (54 million) of adults in the United States, greatly influencing quality of life and costing approximately $300 billion annually. The geographic variations in arthritis prevalence, health-related characteristics, and management among states and territories are unknown. Therefore, public health professionals need to understand arthritis in their areas to target dissemination of evidence-based interventions that reduce arthritis morbidity.
Reporting Period: 2015.
Description of System: The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System is an annual, random-digit–dialed landline and cellular telephone survey of noninstitutionalized adults aged ?18 years residing in the United States. Self-reported data are collected from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Unadjusted and age-standardized prevalences of arthritis, arthritis health-related characteristics, and arthritis management were calculated. County-level estimates were calculated using a validated statistical modeling method.
Results: In 2015, in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, median age-standardized prevalence of arthritis was 23.0% (range: 17.2%–33.6%). Modeled prevalence of arthritis varied considerably by county (range: 11.2%–42.7%). In 13 states that administered the arthritis management module, among adults with arthritis, the age-standardized median percentage of participation in a self-management education course was 14.5% (range: 9.1%–19.0%), being told by a health care provider to engage in physical activity or exercise was 58.5% (range: 52.3%–61.9%), and being told to lose weight to manage arthritis symptoms (if overweight or obese) was 44.5% (range: 35.1%–53.2%). Respondents with arthritis who lived in the quartile of states with the highest prevalences of arthritis had the highest percentages of negative health-related characteristics (i.e., arthritis-attributable activity limitations, arthritis-attributable severe joint pain, and arthritis-attributable social participation restriction; ?14 physically unhealthy days during the past 30 days; ?14 mentally unhealthy days during the past 30 days; obesity; and leisure-time physical inactivity) and the lowest percentage of leisure-time walking.
Interpretation: The prevalence, health-related characteristics, and management of arthritis varied substantially across states. The modeled prevalence of arthritis varied considerably by county.
Public Health Action: The findings highlight notable geographic variability in prevalence, health-related characteristics, and management of arthritis. Targeted use of evidence-based interventions that focus on physical activity and self-management education can reduce pain and improve function and quality of life for adults with arthritis and thus might reduce these geographic disparities.
Exploring individual biological, environmental, and behavioral factors that affect health and disease
Dear Presley Pride,
You recently read about the All of Us Research Program, an ambitious initiative by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that is exploring individual biological, environmental, and behavioral factors affecting health and disease. This email highlights why it is important for you and your practice to be a part of this historic research program.
Contributing to individualized disease prevention, treatment, and care
The All of Us Research Program, a key component of the federal government’s Precision Medicine Initiative, has begun enrolling a diverse population of participants and is rapidly building a large network of partner organizations.
Precision medicine gives clinicians tools to better understand the complex mechanisms underlying a person’s health, disease, or condition, and to better predict which treatments and prevention strategies will be most effective. Data and information from participants in All of Us are expected to help accelerate health research and medical breakthroughs, and thus facilitate individualized disease prevention, treatment, and care for everyone.
Advancing health care in a variety of ways
The All of Us Research Program is expected to contribute to advances in health care in a variety of ways, such as identification of the causes of individual variation in response to commonly used therapeutics, and discovery of biological markers that signal increased or decreased risk of developing common diseases.
The program is currently collecting a limited set of standardized patient data from different sources. However, the types of data collected by All of Us will grow and evolve over time.
Sources of data currently being collected by All of Us
- Participant questionnaires
- Electronic health records
- Physical measurements
- Biosamples (blood and urine samples)
- Mobile/wearable technologies
- Geospatial/environmental data
‘Arming’ patients with wearable devices
One particularly exciting aspect of All of Us is the generation of data from wearable devices that will make it possible to explore the relationship between everyday activities and health outcomes.
Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI), a part of the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, is responsible for designing and implementing strategies to keep diverse populations of participants engaged over the long term. Commenting on the importance of gathering individual data from wearable devices, Steven Steinhubl, MD, Director of Digital Medicine at STSI, said that the program will provide “access to comprehensive activity, heart rate, and sleep data that may help us better understand the relationship between lifestyle behaviors and health outcomes and what that means for patients on an individualized basis.”
AHRQ Portal Combines Opioid Prevention, Training and Treatment Resources
AHRQ’s Academy for Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care now offers an updated online list of resources and tools to promote integrating behavioral health with primary care. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder (OUD) tools and resources are available to help patients, providers and community organizations battle the opioid epidemic. The Opioid & Substance Use Resources page includes information and tools from Federal sources, health professional societies, academic institutions and researchers. Another feature, the Literature Collection, provides access to the growing inventory evidence on the integration of behavioral health and primary care. The online Academy Community allows individuals and practices working to implement MAT to collaborate and share insights with peers.
NIH program to accelerate therapies for arthritis, lupus releases first datasets
Collaborative effort provides important clues about potential research targets.
AHRQ’s EvidenceNOW Initiative – Reducing Primary Care Patients’ Risk of Heart Attacks
Dr. David Meyers, M.D., AHRQ’s chief medical officer, recognizes the importance of February as Heart Health Month while highlighting important contributions made by AHRQ’s EvidenceNow initiative. AHRQ is working with more than 1,500 primary small- and medium-size care practices to help improve the delivery of services proven to prevent heart attacks and strokes. These include the “ABCS” of heart health – Aspirin use by high-risk individuals,Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management, and Smoking cessation. Dr. Meyers’ blog post describes examples of project successes, including expanded use of medications to prevent heart disease, more effective use of blood pressure measurement among patients at risk for heart attack or stroke, and increased use of smoking cessation counseling. AHRQ’s contributions to heart health are in alignment with the Million Hearts® initiative, a national effort to control risk factors for heart disease, the nation’s number one killer.
HHS Secretary Azar Statement on President Trump’s FY 2019 Budget
Azar: Plans to reduce high drug costs reflect President’s deep commitment to issue
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar issued the following statement today on President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget:
“The President’s budget makes investments and reforms that are vital to making our health and human services programs work for Americans and to sustaining them for future generations. In particular, it supports our four priorities here at HHS: addressing the opioid crisis, bringing down the high price of prescription drugs, increasing the affordability and accessibility of health insurance, and improving Medicare in ways that push our health system toward paying for value rather than volume.
“This budget supports the hard work the men and women of HHS are already doing toward these goals. In particular, the budget’s efforts to reduce the high cost of prescription drugs, especially for America’s seniors, are a reflection of President Trump’s deep commitment to addressing this important issue.”
NIH scientists adapt new brain disease test for Parkinson’s, dementia with Lewy bodies
National Institutes of Health scientists developing a rapid, practical test for the early diagnosis of prion diseases have modified the assay to offer the possibility of improving early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. The group, led by NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), tested 60 cerebral spinal fluid samples, including 12 from people with Parkinson’s disease, 17 from people with dementia with Lewy bodies, and 31 controls, including 16 of whom had Alzheimer’s disease. The test correctly excluded all the 31 controls and diagnosed both Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies with 93 percent accuracy.
The Human Genome Project is awarded the Thai 2017 Prince Mahidol Award for the field of medicine
The Human Genome Project has been awarded the 2017 Prince Mahidol Award for ground-breaking advances in the field of medicine. The award will be received on behalf of the project by Eric Green, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the institute responsible for leading NIH’s effort in the project.
New study offers insights on genetic indicators of COPD risk
COPD, a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe, is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.
DASH ranked Best Diet Overall for eighth year in a row by U.S. News and World Report
Diet helps people prevent and treat high blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol.
To sleep or not: Researchers explore complex genetic network behind sleep duration
NIH-supported study could lead to better approaches for treating insomnia, other sleep disorders.
CMS finalizes changes to the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model, cancels Episode Payment Models and Cardiac Rehabilitation Incentive Payment Model
Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized the cancellation of the mandatory hip fracture and cardiac bundled payment models that were to be operated by the CMS Innovation Center and implemented changes to the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) Model. These changes will offer greater flexibility and choice for hospitals in providing care to Medicare patients.
“While CMS continues to believe that bundled payment models offer opportunities to improve quality and care coordination while lowering spending, we believe that focusing on developing different bundled payment models and engaging more providers is the best way to drive health system change while minimizing burden and maintaining access to care. We anticipate announcing new voluntary payment bundles soon,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.
In the final rule, CMS is reducing the number of mandatory geographic areas participating in CJR from 67 areas to 34 areas. As part of the agency’s ongoing commitment to addressing the unique needs of rural providers, CMS is also making participation voluntary for all low volume and rural hospitals participating in the model in all 67 geographic areas. This regulation also includes an Interim Final Rule with Comment Period, in which CMS is establishing and seeking comment on a final policy to provide flexibility in determining episode costs for participant hospitals located in areas impacted by extreme and uncontrollable circumstances, such as the major hurricanes of 2017.
CMS is also finalizing the cancelation of the hip fracture and cardiac bundled payment and incentive payment models – the Episode Payment Models and the Cardiac Rehabilitation Incentive Payment Model – that were scheduled to begin on January 1, 2018. Not pursuing these models gives CMS greater flexibility to design and test innovations that will improve quality and care coordination across the in-patient and post-acute care spectrum.
Moving forward, CMS expects to increase opportunities for providers to participate in voluntary initiatives rather than large mandatory bundled payment models. The changes in the final rule will help position the agency to engage in future voluntary efforts.
For a technical fact sheet on the changes in this final rule and interim final rule with comment period, please visit: https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2017-Fact-Sheet-items/2017-11-30.html.
For more information on the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model, please visit: https://innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/cjr.
The final rule and interim final rule with comment (CMS-5524-F and IFC) can be downloaded from the Federal Register at https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection.
Management of Suspected Opioid Overdose with Naloxone by Emergency Medical Services Personnel
To determine optimal doses, routes of administration, and dosing strategies of naloxone for suspected opioid overdose in out-of-hospital settings, and whether transport to a hospital following successful opioid overdose reversal with naloxone is necessary.
Data from landmark NIH blood pressure study supports important part of new AHA/ACC hypertension guidelines
The new high blood pressure guidelines illustrate the utility and impact of NHLBI scientific studies.
AHRQ’s EvidenceNOW Practices Named 2017 Million Hearts® Hypertension Control Champions
Five primary care practices participating in AHRQ’s EvidenceNOW project have been named as 2017 Million Hearts® Hypertension Control Champions. The award winners – three in New York, one each in Oklahoma and Wisconsin – are among 24 honorees that include primary care practices, individual clinicians and health systems. The honorees were recognized for achieving blood pressure control for at least 70 percent of their patients through innovations in health information technology and electronic health records, patient communication, and teamwork. EvidenceNOW, launched in May 2015, provides support services to 1,500 small and medium primary care practices with the objective of improving patients’ blood pressure and addressing other risk factors to improve heart health.
Advancing the Practice of Pain Management Under the HHS Opioid Strategy
By: Christopher M. Jones, PharmD, MPH and Vanila M. Singh, MD, MACM
Over the past 15 years, communities across America have been devastated by increasing prescription and illicit opioid abuse, addiction, and overdose.
In 2016, 11 million Americans misused prescription opioids, nearly 1 million used heroin, and 2.1 million had an opioid use disorder due to prescription opioids or heroin. And every day, an estimated 90 Americans die from an opioid overdose—resulting in more than 300,000 deaths since 2000. Meanwhile, an estimated 25 million Americans experience pain every day. For many of these individuals, this pain interferes with their physical and mental health, work productivity, and ability to engage in social activities.
Alzheimer’s assessment and management tools for primary care clinicians
Primary care clinicians are often the first to see older adults with memory loss or other signs of cognitive impairment. Three brief, online guides from NIA can help healthcare providers assess, manage, and support their patients with memory complaints or impairment:
- Assessing Cognitive Impairment in Older Patients: A Quick Guide for Primary Care Physicians — read about the benefits of early screening and learn how to screen quickly and accurately.
- Managing Older Patients with Cognitive Impairment: A Quick Guide for Primary Care Physicians — get practical advice on planning and care strategies for patients with mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s, or a related dementia.
- Now What? Next Steps After a Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease — give this checklist of resources and referrals to newly diagnosed patients. Available in English and Spanish.
EHC Program Update: Draft Report on Lower Limb Prosthesis; Final Report on Understanding Health-Systems’ Use of and Need for Evidence To Inform Decisionmaking
The Effective Health Care Program has posted the following on its Web site:
This draft report is available for comment until November 15, 2017.
NIH to fund Centers of Excellence on Minority Health and Health Disparities
Twelve specialized research centers designed to conduct multidisciplinary research, research training, and community engagement activities focused on improving minority health and reducing health disparities will launch. The centers, to be funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), part of the National Institutes of Health, will share approximately $82 million over five years, pending the availability of funds.
Federal agencies partner for military and veteran pain management research
Joint HHS-DoD-VA initiative will award multiple grants totaling $81 million.
Managing hypertension in diabetes: a position statement from the ADA
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has released a position statement to update the assessment and treatment of hypertension among patients with diabetes.
The position statement, published in Diabetes Care, includes advances in care since the ADA last published a statement on this topic in 2003. The ADA notes that antihypertensive therapy is shown to reduce atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) events, heart failure, and microvascular complications in patients with diabetes. There have also been reductions in ASCVD morbidity and mortality in patients with diabetes since 1990, which are likely due to improvements in blood pressure control.
“Treatment should be individualized to the specific patient based on their comorbidities; their anticipated benefit for reduction in ASCVD, heart failure, progressive diabetic kidney disease, and retinopathy events; and their risk of adverse events,” according to the ADA. “This conversation should be part of a shared decision-making process between the clinician and the individual patient.”
The ADA has made the following recommendations:
Screening and diagnosis
- Clinicians should measure blood pressure at every routine clinical care visit. Patients with elevated blood pressure ?140/90 mmHg should have blood pressure confirmed with multiple readings to diagnose hypertension (Grade B recommendation).
- Hypertensive patients with diabetes should have home blood pressure monitoring to identify white-coat hypertension (Grade B recommendation).
- Orthostatic measurement of blood pressure should be performed during initial evaluation of hypertension and periodically at follow-up, or when symptoms of orthostatic hypotension are present, and regularly if orthostatic hypotension has been diagnosed (Grade E recommendation).
Blood pressure targets
- The systolic blood pressure goal should be <140 mmHg, and the diastolic blood pressure goal should be <90 mmHg for most individuals with diabetes and hypertension (Grade A recommendation).
Lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure targets may be appropriate for those with high risk of cardiovascular disease if they can be achieved without excessive treatment burden (Grade B recommendation).
- Lifestyle intervention for those with systolic blood pressure >120 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure >80 mmHg consists of weight loss if overweight or obese; a Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH)-style dietary pattern; increased fruit and vegetable consumption; moderation of alcohol intake; and increased physical activity (Grade B recommendation).
Pharmacologic antihypertensive treatment
- Patients with confirmed blood pressure ?140/90 mmHg should have timely titration of pharmacologic therapy to achieve blood pressure goals, in addition to lifestyle therapy (Grade A recommendation).
- Patients with confirmed blood pressure ?160/100 mmHg should have prompt initiation and timely titration of 2 drugs or a single-pill combination of drugs demonstrated to reduce cardiovascular events in patients with diabetes, in addition to lifestyle therapy (Grade A recommendation).
- Treatment should include drug classes demonstrated to reduce cardiovascular events in patients with diabetes. These include ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), thiazide-like diuretics, or dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers. Multiple-drug therapy is generally required to achieve blood pressure targets (Grade A recommendation).
- An ACE inhibitor or ARB is the recommended first-line treatment for hypertension in patients with diabetes and urine albumin-to creatinine ratio ? 300 mg/g creatinine (Grade A recommendation) or 30–299 mg/g creatinine (Grade B recommendation). If one class is not tolerated, the other should be substituted. (Grade B recommendation).
- Serum creatinine/estimated glomerular filtration rate and serum potassium levels should be monitored in patients treated with an ACE inhibitor, ARB, or diuretic (Grade B recommendation).
What’s New at AHRQ
The following new item has been posted: Providing a State-by-State Picture of the Nation’s Opioids Crisis
What’s New at AHRQ
The following new item has been posted: Advances in Patient Safety and Medical Liability.
CMS Releases Hospice Compare Website to Improve Consumer Experiences, Empower Patients
Today, as part of our continuing commitment to greater data transparency, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) unveiled the Hospice Compare website. The site displays information in a ready-to-use format and provides a snapshot of the quality of care each hospice facility offers to its patients. CMS is working diligently to make healthcare quality information more transparent and understandable for consumers to empower them to take ownership of their health. By ensuring patients have the information they need to understand their options, CMS is helping individuals make informed healthcare decisions for themselves and their families based on objective measures of quality.
“The Hospice Compare website is an important tool for the American people and will help empower them in a time of vulnerability as they look for information necessary to make important decisions about hospice care for loved ones,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “The CMS Hospice Compare website is a reliable resource for family members and care givers who are looking for facilities that will provide quality care.”
Hospice facilities offer specialized care and support to individuals with a terminal illness and a prognosis of six months or less if the illness runs its normal course. Once a patient elects hospice care, the focus shifts from curative treatment to palliative care for relief of pain and symptom management, and care is generally provided where the patient lives. Additionally, caregivers can get support through the hospice benefit, such as grief and loss counseling. Hospice Compare helps patients and caregivers find hospice providers in their area and compare them on quality of care metrics.
Section 1814(i)(5) of the Social Security Act authorizes a quality reporting program for hospices. The Act requires hospice providers to report data to CMS on a number of quality measures selected through notice and comment rulemaking. The Hospice Quality Reporting Program (HQRP) includes both quality data from the Hospice Item Set (HIS) and Hospice Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (Hospice CAHPS®).
The Hospice Compare site allows patients, family members, caregivers, and healthcare providers to compare hospice providers based on important quality metrics, such as the percentage of patients that were screened for pain or difficult or uncomfortable breathing, or whether patients’ preferences are being met. Currently, the data on Hospice Compare is based on information submitted by approximately 3,876 hospices.
The Hospice Compare website will reflect current industry best practices for consumer-facing websites and will be optimized for mobile use. For more information, please visit https://www.medicare.gov/hospicecompare/ to view the new Compare site.
Effective Health Care Program – Helping You Make Better Treatment Choices
The Effective Health Care Program is pleased to announce the launch of its newly redesigned Web site today, Friday, August 11, 2017. The Web site’s address remains the same: https://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov. All of your bookmarks will continue to work.
The new design offers streamlined menus, clear navigation, improved search capabilities, and a responsive layout that works on all your devices.
The Web site offers these new navigation features –
- “Health Topics” – organizes EHC Program products by categories such as demographic groups and condition.
- “Consumers” – lists all of the consumer summaries and patient decision aids on one page.
- “Products & Tools” – offers quick access to EHC Program reports, shared decisionmaking tools, and professional education resources.
- “Research Methods” – provides guidance, methods, and tools to support systematic reviews as well as research using registries.
- “Get Involved” – presents ways to participate in EHC Program research by suggesting topics, commenting on research in development, and submitting scientific data.
- “Product Search” – helps to more easily find reports using faceted searching.
Explanation of Special Status Calculation – Correction
On July 24, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) distributed an email update with an explanation for its special status calculation for the Quality Payment Program. The message incorrectly stated that clinicians considered to have “special status” would be exempt from the Quality Payment Program.
Special status affects the number of total measures, activities, or entire categories that an individual clinician or group must report. Individual clinicians or groups with special status are not exempt from the Quality Payment Program because of their special status determination.
To determine if a clinician’s participation should be considered special status under the Quality Payment Program, CMS retrieves and analyzes Medicare Part B claims data. Calculations are run to indicate a circumstance of the clinician’s practice forwhich special rules would apply. These circumstances are applicable for clinicians in: Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), rural, non-patient facing, hospital-based, and small practices.
For more information, please visit the Quality Payment Program website.
Attend CMS Office Hours to Ask Questions about the Quality Payment Program NPRM
Join CMS for an office hours session on Wednesday, August 16 on the draft provisions included in the Quality Payment Program Year 2 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). CMS will provide a brief overview of the Quality Payment Program and address questions from attendees on the Year 2 NPRM.
Title: Quality Payment Program Year 2 NPRM Office Hours Session
Date: August 16
Time: 12 – 1 pm ET
Space for this webinar is limited. Register now to secure your spot. After you register, you will receive a follow-up e-mail with step-by-step instructions about how to log-in to the webinar.