Medicare keeps score

When the new fiscal year rolls around in October, hospitals might see a change in Medicare reimbursement rates, as they become based on what their patients say in a survey.
Krystle Wagner
Jan 5, 2013

The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Health Plans Survey measures hospital experience; pain management; communications of prescribed medications; responsiveness of the health care team; and communication between the patient, nurses and physicians, said Jennifer VanSkiver, spokeswoman for the North Ottawa Community Health System.

How reimbursements are made to hospitals will shift from the amount of services a health care team provides to how well the team provides treatment and care, said Don Longpre, the chief financial officer for the Grand Haven-based health system. But it won't impact reimbursement rates for North Ottawa Community Hospital, according to Longpre.

“We’re on the plus side of it at this point,” he said.

Longpre said they began working to better meet patients' needs even before the change was announced.

VanSkiver said they have implemented a multi-disciplinary patient care rounding team that checks on inpatients five days a week. She said the team was created to identify the needs of patients after they leave the hospital but while they were still hospitalized.

The Grand Haven hospital's medical and surgical rooms have also been designed with input from patients and staff, VanSkiver said.

VanSkiver said hospital staff is working to improve on a patient throughput goal called "5-60-90." The goal breaks down to no more than five minutes from when a patient comes through the emergency department door to meeting with a doctor. Then, it's 60 minutes from the emergency room to discharge, or no more than 90 minutes from the emergency department to admission.

“We did it to serve the members of the community,” Longpre said of the aggressive goal.

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.
 

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