We hear a lot these days about STEM education—an interdisciplinary, applied approach to teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The rise of women in STEM careers is notable, too. So, as Women’s History Month draws to a close, we decided to look to the future being built right now by some of the women at SpecialtyCare who pursued careers in science and are responsible for our clinical education and training programs today. Each has had a unique journey that includes education, choices, gumption, and surprises. They actively honed their interests and cultivated their talents to reach their current roles, and they continue to apply their strengths toward additional growth for themselves and others—men and women alike.
In 1982, PENCIL Foundation—an alliance of business leaders and local school administrators—was created to provide new opportunities that promote achievement by young people enrolled in Nashville’s metro public schools. The Foundation’s PENCIL Partners program now includes more than 800 community-school partnerships that serve over 80,000 students. As a proud member of PENCIL Partners, SpecialtyCare regularly hosts students from Hillsboro High School’s Academy of Global Health & Science to introduce them to careers in the healthcare field.
A complex system offers a lot of places to hide bad behavior. Medicare and Medicaid—programs at the heart of the current healthcare debate—are particularly vulnerable to violations of Stark Law, the Anti-Kickback Statute, and the False Claims Act. Nearly every day, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) issues details of individuals and hospitals being charged or convicted of healthcare fraud and abuse. Financial penalties and the possibility of imprisonment aside, damning headlines can destroy the bottom line and reputation of even the most respected providers. Compliance violations drive up healthcare costs and compromise patients who are overcharged or subjected to unnecessary tests and treatments.
Consolidation in healthcare is nothing new, in fact it’s hotter than ever. Most analysts, and others who know the industry well, will tell you this trend is positive as we seek better patient outcomes, operational efficiencies, and cost containment to deliver higher value care. In the outsourced medical service provider sector of healthcare, we also can increase value with mergers and acquisitions. As the sector matures, consolidation offers new opportunities to provide customers with high quality, specialized, and reliable services that support hospitals’ goals within today’s rapidly changing healthcare environment.
Collaborating and sharing research findings and best practices with other medical professionals is one of the great pleasures of working in healthcare. Recently, the American Academy of Cardiovascular Perfusion’s 38th International Meeting gave SpecialtyCare’s Medical Office team members the opportunity to present two new papers to the perfusion community. One of the studies examines “The Effect of Ultrafiltration on End-Cardiopulmonary Bypass Hematocrit during Cardiac Surgery.” The purpose of this research was to evaluate the effect of ultrafiltration on end-cardiopulmonary bypass hematocrit by cardiac surgical procedure type. The findings are summarized in today’s blog.
When we decided to create the Brown-Brukardt Perfusion Scholarships program in honor of Jim Brown and Gary Brukardt—men who helped advance the practice of perfusion—we felt it was important to find and support students with the potential to drive improvement in healthcare like Jim and Gary did throughout their careers. Today, we are proud to announce that Cassandra Wuest and Kyle Zelesnick are the recipients of our 2017 perfusion education scholarships, and they are even more talented and impressive than we had hoped.
Recently I attended the 2017 Annual Meeting of The American Academy of Cardiovascular Perfusion. The AACP, as always, offered strong educational content and a great opportunity to meet up with friends and colleagues. While there, I had the pleasure of presenting co-authored research on “The Effectiveness of Acute Normovolemic Hemodilution and Autologous Prime on Intraoperative Blood Management during Cardiac Surgery.” The AACP honored our team, which includes our perfusion associates and their tireless dedication to clinical excellence and data collection, by selecting this work as the meeting’s Best Paper. I encourage you to read the abstract for additional detail, but here’s a summary of our findings, which highlight the value of thoughtful perfusion strategies that can reduce the need for costly transfusions and increase the likelihood of better clinical outcomes.
Changes in reimbursement models are driving changes in operations, including data collection and reporting. Providers are being encouraged and incentivized to implement value-based care (VBC) that emphasizes cost savings and quality outcomes instead of the traditional fee-for-service (FFS) reimbursement model that pays according to the number of procedures performed. The idea is that when hospitals have financial incentives to be accountable for patient outcomes, then the comprehensive focus on quality will result in overall lower costs. Transitioning from FFS to VBC may be especially difficult for ORs with their high costs of procedures, but several strategies can help clear the path to progress.
SpecialtyCare has completed an asset purchase of Trident Health Resources, Inc., a highly regarded, clinically focused perfusion company. With the people of Trident joining SpecialtyCare and moving forward as one team, under one name, we have the opportunity to support each other and learn from each other as we participate in some of the most complex and interesting procedures performed today. We are uniquely positioned to define what superior clinical and financial outcomes look like and to provide those outcomes for our patients and our customers. We are thrilled to join together to serve as a resource for perfusion care and best practices that in-house and competitive programs simply cannot match. It’s an exciting time, and we look forward to all that we will accomplish together.
Ultrafiltration is thought to reduce morbidity and the risk of red blood cell transfusion, however very few studies have examined the relationship between ultrafiltration and the overall risk of intraoperative RBC transfusion. Using data from the SpecialtyCare Operative Procedural Registry (SCOPE™), our study looks at a population of nearly 98,000 adults undergoing cardiac surgery at 197 hospitals to evaluate the effects of ultrafiltration volume removed during CPB on the relative risk of receiving an intraoperative RBC transfusion. Recognizing the findings of our own previous work, we were especially interested in testing potential differences between male and female patients in the effects of ultrafiltration.
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