Public Policy

Hospitals, Hospice and SNFs. The Big Deceit

"We Need Creative Solutions" When I read or hear the sentence above, I think of one thing and one thing only. The solution is long in coming, involves input from multiple parties, has no obvious fix, is costly--in either money or time, and we undergird it by a whopper of a collective action problem. How about getting to the actual point: "The problem we are trying to solve has no answer. We likely know the best course, and it's staring us in the face. We can spend the next few days, weeks, or months pretending we are unaware of it or we can take half a loaf now and get back to work." The above ran through my mind as I read a new hospital transitions study out in Annals of Internal Medicine. The findings were not unexpected, by me at least, but the response by those who do not…

Risks and Rewards of Hospitalist Participation in New CMS Bundle Model

by Win Whitcomb, MD, MHM
By: Win Whitcomb, MD, MHM Hospitalist groups have been among the highest volume participants in Medicare’s Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) demonstration project, initiating almost 200,000 episodes representing over $4.7B in spending since the model began1. On January 9, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced BPCI’s follow-on model, ‘BPCI Advanced’,2 which starts in October of this year and is slated to finish at year-end 2023. CMS intends for the program to qualify as an Advanced Alternative Payment Model (APM). As BPCI Advanced focuses on 29 common medical and surgical episodes involving an inpatient stay (it also includes three outpatient episodes) and the subsequent 90 day recovery period, it represents the first large scale opportunity for hospitalists to meet criteria for Advanced APM participation. Qualifying for the Advanced APM track of the Quality Payment Program – which involves meeting patient volume or payment thresholds3 - comes with a…
Author Win Whitcomb, MD, MHM is Chief Medical Officer of Remedy Partners. He is co-founder and past president of SHM. Email him at [email protected]

If I Were You, I Would Not Be Bullish on Long-Term Care

Last week I was in Dunkin' Donuts and noticed something odd—although the oddness did not strike me immediately.  The woman who was serving me could have been my grandmother. Ditto that when I was at Home Depot in the lighting aisle yesterday.  And ditto it again in Walmart this morning. I would never dream of seeing that as a kid. Ever. (more…)

95% of Inpatient Providers Would Get an F On This Exam

You all think you know hospice. You don't, and I will tell you why. Hospice is a bastard child of the Medicare system. It went live in 1983 as a standalone entity during the Reagan administration and remains a disjointed program today. I would characterize its evolution as such: the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Why is that? When you go into hospice, your care path goes 180, and usual Medicare rules don't apply.  The benefit reroute sometimes makes life harder for families and patients.  It's like handing your keys off into the hospice kingdom--they run the show, and it's both a blessing and a curse. (more…)

Is It Time for Health Policy M&Ms?

[caption id="attachment_16917" align="alignnone" width="609"][/caption] There are few experiences in my medical training that felt more intimidating, and ultimately more impactful, than our Mortality and Morbidity (M&M) conferences. The patients whose diagnoses I missed. The times I should have called my attending or pushed harder for the cardiologist to come in overnight. They stick with me and I believe ultimately have helped make me a better doctor. This is why I was intrigued by the idea of explicitly incorporating health policy issues into M&M. Over the past few years, I increasingly have seen adverse events that result from issues related to health policy. Inability to access care for appropriate hospital follow-up. Failure to fill a critical prescription due to cost or gaps in coverage. A patient I admitted for “expedited work-up” for rectal bleeding after he told me he had been trying to get a recommended colonoscopy for many months…