International Infection Prevention Week Underway
International Infection Prevention Week is underway through Oct. 21. Hospitals are encouraged to share infection prevention stories with their staff and community. Resources are available from the Hospital Improvement and Innovation Network, including a multi-drug resistant organism Change Package and Top Ten Checklist, catheter-associated urinary tract infection Change Package and Top Ten Checklist, and a SOAP UP webinar on hand hygiene compliance. Use hashtag #whyimhiin and #IIPW to join the conversation on Twitter.
National Flu Vaccination Campaign Underway
Infection Prevention Week is a good time to highlight the 2017-2018 flu vaccination campaign. Recommendations for prevention and control are available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website. Additional influenza information, including activity and surveillance data from current and past flu seasons is available. The CDC, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee recommend that all U.S. health care workers get annual influenza vaccinations.
Health Literacy Month Focuses Providers on Communication
October is Health Literacy Month. According to the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy, certain groups and individuals are at the greatest risk for limited health literacy. These at-risk populations include adults over age 65, individuals with limited education or low income, non-native English speakers, racial or ethnic groups, recent refugees and immigrants, and adults with any type of disability, difficulty or illness.
Engaging patients with low health literacy can be difficult. Often these patients may be embarrassed or feel a sense of shame. In addition, they may go to great lengths to hide their lack of understanding. Resources are available to help hospitals and other providers improve health literacy.
Physician Compare Preview Period Opens
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has officially opened the 30-day preview period for Physician Compare. Access to the secured measure-preview site can be found through the PQRS portal. The 30-day preview period will close at 7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 27. For additional assistance with accessing the portal, contact the QualityNet help desk at (866) 288-8912 or email@example.com.
MLN Connects Provider eNews Available
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issues updates to MLN Connects Provider eNews. eNews includes information about national provider calls, meetings, events, announcements and other MLN educational product updates. The latest issue provides updates and summaries of the following:
- Preview draft eCQM specifications through Nov. 13
- Merit-based Incentive Payment System virtual group election period ends Dec. 1
- Post-acute care quality reporting programs fiscal year 2018 APU: Successful facilities
- Oct. 2017 Outpatient Prospective Payment System Pricer file
- Skilled Nursing Facility value-based purchasing program FY 2018 final rule call – Nov. 16
Participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Oct. 28
The 14th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, Oct. 28. The event provides an opportunity for hospitals to work with law enforcement to educate citizens and help them safely dispose of unwanted or expired prescription pills. Scores of collection sites, several at hospitals or clinics, already are planned in communities throughout the state. The Drug Enforcement Administration has a website to locate disposal sites. In addition, the DEA offers posters and other materials to promote the event. Disposal sites are open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
HHS Declares Wildfire Public Health Emergency; CHA Establishes Hospital Employee Relief Fund
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Acting Secretary Eric D. Hargan declared a public health emergency in California because of the wildfires in the northern part of the state that have burned in excess of 200,000 acres in 10 counties. The declaration allows the secretary to issue a section 1135 waiver of the Social Security Act increasing flexibility for providers seeking to meet critical health demands. In partnership with regional associations, the California Hospital Association has established the Hospital Workers' Fire Relief Fund to assist hospital employees who have been significantly impacted by the fires.
MedPAC Updates Payment Basics Series
MedPAC, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, has updated its Payment Basics series. The publications provide overviews of 20 Medicare payment models.
VA Proposes Prosthetic and Rehabilitative Device Rules
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs proposed regulatory changes regarding its standards for covering prosthetics and other rehabilitative devices and services. Public comments regarding the proposed rule are due on or before Friday, Dec. 15.