From a healthcare perspective, the only thing we can be certain of in 2017 is that there will be uncertainty. For healthcare administrators, there is uncertainty around how to manage changes in provisions of the Affordable Care Act, Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI), and the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). Restructuring Medicare and Medicaid could have a significant impact on planning, implementation, and payments for providers. But, regardless of the new format, healthcare providers like SpecialtyCare will always have an obligation—both to their patients and their customers—to improve value by providing high-quality care while containing costs.
It is a fairly well-known fact in the cardiac community that women have higher morbidity and mortality associated with coronary artery bypass (CABG) procedures. The reasons traditionally given for this disparity include women’s relatively smaller vasculature, higher incidence of anemia, and smaller circulating blood volume. Early in 2016, we in the Medical Department were discussing this phenomenon and decided to design a study using the robust data from our SpecialtyCare Operative Procedural Registry to find something in the intraoperative space that might be leading to these very different post-operative outcomes for men and women. Our findings were somewhat surprising.
SpecialtyCare is determined to drive awareness of perfusion as both a vital medical service and a smart career choice. As part of this effort, we are proud to officially launch the Brown-Brukardt Perfusion Scholarship Program. Every year, SpecialtyCare will award perfusion education tuition to two students enrolled in CAAHEP-accredited programs. Jim Brown and Gary Brukardt—men with close ties to SpecialtyCare who helped evolve the practice of perfusion over the last three decades—exemplified integrity, leadership, and dedication to patient care. Our goal is to support students who share these qualities and demonstrate outstanding potential as cardiovascular perfusionists.
It’s been said that “Everyone has a special talent, some are just flashier than others.” And so it is in healthcare. Behind every high-visibility physician and hands-on surgical team, there is a large group of people in back offices providing invaluable support. Everyone plays an important role—from human resources and training to accounting and scheduling. But today, as part of National Medical Staff Services Awareness Week, we proudly recognize our credentialing team at SpecialtyCare, and indeed in healthcare settings everywhere, for their contributions to quality patient care and safety.
The role of an expert IONM team is critical in the timely identification of adverse neurophysiologic changes and in promoting corrective action by the surgeon and anesthesiologist. Our research is based on clinical IONM data from SpecialtyCare’s Operative Procedural Registry. Taking advantage of big data—nearly 70,000 cases in this study—ensures that our conclusions are statistically significant, a vital aspect of evidence-based improvement in healthcare. It was an honor to present this study to such a prestigious group of surgeons at NASS and, in doing so, provide actionable information to help elevate the quality of care across the country.
On October 26, 2016, SpecialtyCare acquired Sentient, a highly regarded intraoperative neuromonitoring provider. We’re thrilled to welcome the people of Sentient to our team. We believe we’ll be a great fit together, both clinically and culturally. Combining our talent and experience will enhance our collective strengths and create new opportunities to advance patient care and drive clinical quality, which reduce costs for our patients and customers.
In August, a prolonged “no-name” storm deluged Louisiana, producing three times more rain than Hurricane Katrina. Lives were lost and the unprecedented flooding damaged or destroyed more than 100,000 homes and displaced thousands of people. As medical professionals, SpecialtyCare’s clinicians routinely step up when disaster strikes—we live and work in the communities we serve. But, stepping up can take different forms. In this week’s blog, we share a letter from a member of our intraoperative neuromonitoring group, who rallied the team to help the people of Louisiana.
Sylvia Burwell, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is tasked with transforming our healthcare system from a fee-for-service model to a value-based system driven by the goals of access, affordability, and quality. Initiatives and legislation linked to Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs, such as the Health Insurance Marketplace and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, have all but upended our healthcare system, sending providers, payers, and patients scrambling to understand and manage the changes.
When Richard Lawson talks with young people about their future, he sometimes suggests a stint in the military. Other times he suggests a career in the medical field. And sometimes, he suggests both. These are not just casual recommendations—he speaks from experience. Technical Sergeant Lawson is a military veteran and a member of the Kentucky Air National Guard. He is also a SpecialtyCare perfusionist. His discipline and dedication over the years has resulted in not just one, but two, meaningful and impressive careers.
Estimates vary when calculating the money lost to fraud—it’s difficult to measure that which is undetected—but the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) states that healthcare fraud costs the country tens of billions of dollars each year. Paying for law enforcement, legal resources, and sophisticated technology to combat the problem adds to the price tag. Taxpayers and employers endure the financial brunt of fraud, but illegal schemes can also put patient health at risk. Clearly, healthcare fraud is not a victimless crime.
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