The Federal Budget, and more ...

State Funding for Primary Care Providers Needing ACO Help

Last week, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) announced a new opportunity for primary care providers seeking to participate in the new MassHealth Accountable Care Organization (ACO) program.  EOHHS will provide funding to support providers who want to participate in the ACO program’s alternative payment methodologies. Primary care providers, who are not yet part of the program but are committed to participating with one of the current ACOs, and who need support in moving to alternative payment methods, are eligible for the funding.

“Primary Care Providers” are defined as MassHealth providers that provide primary care services, including, but not limited to, primary care group practices (including those associated with hospitals), community health centers, hospital-licensed health centers, hospital outpatient departments, and solo primary care practitioners.

Funding ranges from up to $50,000 for a small project and up to $500,000 for a large project. Funding is capped at $2.2 million statewide for Year 1 (March 1, 2018 – December 31, 2019). It is expected that $12.4 million will be released over the course of the demonstration.  More details including contact information at EOHHS is here.

New License Requirements for Pharmacy Trainees

The Board of Registration in Pharmacy has issued some new, stricter rules for pharmacy technicians in training. As of April 6, such trainees will have to have a valid pharmacy technician trainee license from the board.  Those already employed prior to April 6 have until July 1 to complete an application and get it approved by the board.

A pharmacy technician trainee has to be at least 18, have a high school degree or equivalent (or be enrolled in a degree program), be of good moral character, and not have been convicted of (or admitted sufficient facts to) a drug-related felony.  Application forms will be on the board’s website.

May 4: Mass. Coalition Patient Safety Forum

Registration is now open for the 2018 Patient Safety Forum – Accelerating Improvement – jointly presented by the Massachusetts Coalition for the Prevention of Medical Errors and Healthcentric Advisors. The forum takes place on Friday, May 4 at the Sheraton Framingham, beginning with a 7:30 a.m. registration and breakfast, followed by the program from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The Patient Safety Forum focuses on organizational strategies that drive improvement broadly, as well as initiatives on specific processes and clinical goals. The forum will share lessons learned from successful initiatives. Results achieved within initiatives on the agenda include:

a 25% reduction in ED boarding time while admissions and census increased over that same time;
a 5% increase in safety reports, and 77% decrease in average time to close a safety report, after a six-month implementation of an organization-wide safety huddle, as well as many specific safety improvements resulting from the process;
an 18% increase in non-punitive response to errors based on the AHRQ Safety Culture Survey, following a two-year initiative to build a safety culture through effective engagement of line staff; and
a 39% decrease in diagnosis of hospital-acquired C difficile and 47% reduction in C difficile testing, after revamping electronic medical record implementation and eliminating inappropriate testing and over-diagnosis.

To view the agenda and to register, click here.  Mass. Coalition members receive a discount on tickets; contact the Coalition’s Amelia at acook@macoalition.org or (781) 262-6080 for more information.

Management of Dementia in Acute Care Settings

Attend A Map Through the Maze on Wednesday, May 23 to learn the latest on newly released care standards from the Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Acute Care Advisory Committee, and how they will affect your work and patient care.  Celebrating its 25th year, A Map Through the Maze – a practical-based Alzheimer’s and dementia care conference – offers professionals the opportunity to learn current and cutting edge information on a wide range of Alzheimer’s-related care topics. There are 30 breakout sessions, offering diverse topics for any interests.  CEU offerings are included.  For more information, visit here.  Direct questions to Lorraine Kermond at lkermond@alz.org.

WEBINAR: Ligature Risks -- Ensuring Compliance

Thursday, April 19; 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

This program will focus on the requirements for hospitals to prevent ligature risk and self-harm to suicidal patients. Any hospital that receives Medicare must implement these changes for all patients.  Lead speaker Sue Dill Calloway will share tools and resources to help identify the CMS and Joint Commission updates that hospitals should make sure are implemented. For CMS updates, this includes what units need to be ligature resistant, what patient and environmental assessments need to be completed, and what policy and procedure requirements must be followed. Dill Calloway will also discuss the Zero Suicide Campaign and the TJC Sentinel Event Alerts on suicide.  For more information, visit here.

John LoDico, Editor