Hospitalist Union Update, Patient Obs. Status Notice Top Hospital Medicine News

By  |  June 27, 2016 | 

SHM & Hospital Medicine in the News: June 9 – June 23, 2016

This issue of SHM & Hospital Medicine in the News features:

  • An update on the Oregon hospitalist union, which recently reached a tentative agreement with the hospital at which its members work, causing them to cancel their informational picket
  • Medicare’s draft proposal for a written patient observation status notice to inform them of what it is and its financial implications regarding Medicare coverage. (SHM’s Advocacy team and Public Policy Committee submitted comments in response last week, on which SHM’s Communications team issued a press release.)
  • The continued growth of sub-specialty hospitalists, the cause of which is often cited to be work-life balance
  • One team of doctors in Vermont that has found ways to reduce the number of unnecessary blood tests performed, guided by recommendations originally developed by SHM
  • Analysis of how bundled payments have been a driver in reducing hospital readmission rates
  • A Washington Post feature on alarm fatigue and how it can adversely impact patient care


Unionized Hospitalists at Oregon Hospital Agree to First Contract
Unionized hospitalists at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend have agreed to terms of an initial contract with the Oregon hospital, 18 months after forming the union and less than a week before a scheduled informational picket. The organized hospitalists at Sacred Heart comprise the first such union in Oregon. The two sides had a breakthrough in bargaining Tuesday when a compromise was approved that creates an advisory resource committee to discuss workloads and clinical issues. 

June 17, 2016
Modern Healthcare
Click here for the full story.


Medicare Releases Draft Proposal for Patient Observation Notice
In just two months, a federal law kicks in requiring hospitals to tell their Medicare patients if they have not been formally admitted and why. But some physician, hospital and consumer representatives say a notice drafted by Medicare for hospitals to use may not do the job. The law was a response to complaints from Medicare patients who were surprised to learn that although they had spent a few days in the hospital, they were there for observation and were not admitted.

June 15, 2016
Kaiser Health News
Click here for the full story.
Click here for SHM’s press release announcing the Advocacy team and Public Policy Committee’s submission of comments on the draft proposal.


Sub-specialty Hospitalists on the Rise
The hospital-only specialty, which originated in primary care in the 1990s, has caught on throughout numerous sub-specialties. Among OB-GYN, gastroenterology, and general surgery services, the growth of the hospitalist is driven in part by physicians’ desires for greater work-life balance, particularly when it comes to call coverage.

June 23, 2016
HealthLeaders Media
Click here for the full story.


Doctors Say They’ve Found Ways to Avoid Unneeded Blood Tests
Doctors in the region say they’ve figured out how to give hospital patients fewer blood tests, reducing how many times patients get stuck with a needle and lowering the chance they will develop anemia. Dr. Cy Jordan, who manages grant projects with the Vermont Medical Society and co-led the project with Repp, said the doctors felt compelled to reduce unnecessary blood tests for ethical reasons that a nonprofit organization, the Society of Hospital Medicine, raised back in 2013.  

June 13, 2016
Vermont Journalism Trust (
Click here for the full story.


How Bundled Payments Ratchet Readmission Rates Downward
With prodding from federal officials and an industrywide shift toward delivering services based on value rather than volume, healthcare providers are making progress on reducing hospital readmission rates, federal statistics show. From 2007 to 2011, the all-cause 30-day hospital readmission rate for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries held steady at about 19% to 19.5%, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. But those rates fell to 18.5% in 2012 and 17.5% in 2013, CMS reports.

June 20, 2016
HealthLeaders Media
Click here for the full story.


Doctors Are Overloaded with Electronic Alerts, and That’s Bad for Patients
Some people receive constant reminders on their smartphones: birthdays, anniversaries, doctor’s appointments, social engagements. Something similar is happening to doctors, nurses and pharmacists. And when they’re hit with too much information, the result can be a health hazard. The electronic patient records that the federal government has been pushing — in an effort to coordinate health care and reduce mistakes — come with a host of bells and whistles that may be doing the opposite in some cases.

June 13, 2016
The Washington Post
Click here for the full story.

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About the Author: Brett Radler

Brett Radler
Brett Radler is the Senior Marketing Communications Manager at the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) and has been with the organization since May 2015. He is responsible for managing SHM’s blog, The Hospital Leader. In addition, Brett develops content for SHM’s monthly newsmagazine, The Hospitalist, develops and refines SHM-branded content for multiple communications channels and oversees SHM's online communities. Brett holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and also serves as on-air talent at a New Jersey radio station in his spare time.


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