Thursday, August 6, 2015

AHRQ Electronic Newsletter, July 28, 2015, Issue #480

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July 28, 2015 Issue #480
AHRQ Stats: Private Versus Public Employee Insurance Costs
On average, private-sector employees paid a larger share of health insurance premiums ($1,170 for singles, $4,421 for families) than public-sector employees ($722 for singles, $3,155 for families) in 2013. However, total annual health insurance premiums were lower for private-sector employees ($5,571 for singles, $16,029 for families) than public-sector employees ($6,611 for singles, $17,270 for families). (Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Statistical Brief #474: Premiums and Employee Contributions for Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance: Private versus Private Sector, 2013.)

Today's Headlines:

AHRQ Releases New Tool for Analysis of Hospital Discharge Data
AHRQ has released Fast Stats, a new online tool from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) that provides easy access to the latest HCUP statistics from 41 states on numbers of hospital discharges by payer group (Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, uninsured) and by condition category (surgical, mental health, injury, medical). Fast Stats enables state-by-state comparisons and can be used to analyze the effects of Medicaid expansion on hospital utilization levels and payment sources. For example, Fast Stats shows that in Colorado, a Medicaid expansion state, there was a 50 percent increase in Medicaid-covered hospital stays during the first nine months of 2014. During the same period, hospital stays for the uninsured declined 90 percent. In contrast, Missouri, which did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, experienced no significant changes in hospital stays for Medicaid or uninsured patients. Information in Fast Stats is presented in graphics accompanied by underlying tables with numbers and data export options for analysts. Statistics will be updated quarterly or annually as new data become available. Data for 2014 are fully or partially available for 17 states. New topics about health care delivery in U.S. hospitals will be added in the future.

Supportive Culture Essential to Re-Engineered Discharge Implementation, Study Finds
A supportive hospital culture is essential for successful implementation of AHRQ’s Re-Engineered Discharge (RED) toolkit, while a flexible strategy can be used to implement RED and reduce avoidable readmissions, according to a new study. RED is a proven hospital discharge planning method that consists of 12 components, including medication reconciliation and making sure patients have scheduled follow-up primary care visits. The study describes the RED Toolkit, implementation challenges hospitals face and ways these barriers can be mitigated. Researchers recruited 10 hospitals to implement RED and provided training for participating hospital leaders and staff using the RED Toolkit. They identified common challenges and found that implementation of RED varied widely and that engaged leadership and multidisciplinary teams were keys to success. The article and abstract, “How Hospitals Reengineer Their Discharge Processes To Reduce Readmissions,” appeared in the May 13 issue of the Journal for Healthcare Quality.

Now Available: New Version of CAHPS Clinician & Group Adult Survey
AHRQ has released version 3.0 of the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Clinician & Group (CG-CAHPS) Survey. Changes include a shortened survey reference period of six rather than 12 months and a new care coordination composite measure and revised composite measures for Access, Communication, and Patient-Centered Medical Home items. The Adult Survey 3.0 now has 31 total items rather than 34 as in version 2.0. Revisions reflect input from survey users and stakeholders, analyses of survey data and ongoing efforts to improve the consistency of this survey’s implementation across multiple stakeholders, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. For free technical assistance, contact the CAHPS team via email or call 1-888-324-9749.

Register Now: August 5 Webinar Highlights New MONAHRQ Software That Allows Development of Consumer Web Pages
AHRQ is hosting a webinar August 5 from 4 to 5 p.m. ET to provide an overview of updated MONAHRQ software that allows organizations to create Web pages for consumers to access comparative health care quality information about hospitals and nursing homes, and profile pages for doctors. The software, available from AHRQ at no cost, is designed for use by hospitals, hospital systems, hospital associations, nursing homes, public health departments, business and community alliances, and other organizations involved in health care quality improvement. MONAHRQ 6.0-Build 2, which will be available for download from the AHRQ website August 3, allows users to create new consumer websites with fresh layouts and improved navigation. Users looking for hospital information, for example, may search by hospital location, health condition (such as childbirth of heart failure) or health topic (such as nursing care or patient survey results). One notable new feature is a side-by-side comparison of cost and quality information for hip replacements. Registration is open.

Register Now: August 6 National Quality Strategy Webinar Features Representatives From Surgeon General’s Office and Boston Children’s Asthma Initiative
Health care quality and community health initiatives can both be used to achieve the National Quality Strategy’s aims to provide better, more affordable care to individuals and the community. A webinar is scheduled for August 6 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. ET featuring presenters from the Office of the Surgeon General of the United States and the Boston Children’s Hospital Community Asthma Initiative, who will address best practices from their work in this important intersection of quality and community health. Presenters include Nazleen Bharmal, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.P., director of Science and Policy, Office of the Surgeon General; Ayesha Cammaerts, M.B.A., manager, Programs and Population Health, Office of Community Health, Boston Children's Hospital; and Nancy J. Wilson, M.D., M.P.H., B.S.N., executive lead for the National Quality Strategy. Registration is open.

AHRQ’s Health Care Innovations Exchange Focuses on Partnering With Patients and Families To Improve Hospital Care
The latest issue of AHRQ’s Health Care Innovations Exchange highlights hospitals that implemented new policies to promote partnerships with patients and families while advancing patient- and family-centered care. One profile describes how a medical center in California replaced its traditional visitation policy with a “Partners in Care Welcome Policy” that supports and welcomes the round-the-clock presence and participation of patients’ family members and friends, including minors. Flipping the traditional hospital approach that treats these individuals as “visitors,” the policy acknowledges that hospital-based clinicians and staff are the real “visitors” in the patient’s lives and recognizes the critically important role that family and friends play in the healing process by providing support and comfort. The policy has significantly increased the amount of time patients spend with their loved ones and has generated positive feedback from all stakeholders. No safety or infection-control issues have arisen since its implementation.

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