Magnet Hospitals, Maternity Care, and more

CMS to Use Flawed Star System Until it Devises a New One

The much-maligned system of rating hospitals by one-to-five stars that CMS has used since 2016 will, unfortunately, remain as is throughout 2020. CMS said it is open to changing the rating system methodology – but not until 2021.
A wide variety of healthcare interests, including MHA, have repeatedly opposed the concept of rating complex hospitals with simple stars. The criticisms range from how a single “quality” rating from the stars do not give consumers information about how well a hospital may provide a specific service such as cancer or heart care, to the fact that hospitals have no way of predicting how their performance on the underlying measures will translate into the star rating. That is, the ratings have little value in assisting improvement efforts.
Earlier this year, as CMS sought comments on the star measures, MHA wrote, “The very notion of trying to quantify overall hospital quality into a single composite score is flawed in its design of simplifying very complex data into a ‘one size fits all’ rating that may not be truly representative of all cases. The data and performance rates for the inpatient and outpatient quality reporting measures should speak for themselves as individual measures.”
Even though CMS received many such comments, the agency announced last week that it will keep the rating system unchanged in 2020, update the scores hospitals receive early next year, and roll out a new, as-yet-unannounced methodology in 2021.
The American Hospital Association said it was thankful CMS was addressing the flawed methodology, but added that waiting a year to do so helps no one. “Republishing the flawed ratings in 2020 will not advance the goal of providing the public with accurate, purposeful information about quality,” AHA wrote.

Magnet Hospitals: Dana-Farber Does It Again

Receiving “Magnet” designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center is very hard. After all, of the roughly 6,200 hospitals in the U.S., only 475 have earned Magnet status, which designates a facility that has great nursing outcomes, high job satisfaction, low turnover rates, and a supportive culture.
Once a facility earns Magnet status, it’s equally demanding to maintain it. Hospitals can’t just rest on their laurels but have to undergo periodic reaccreditation.
In 2005, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute became the first cancer center in New England to receive Magnet status. Last week it received Magnet status for the fourth consecutive time.
“Magnet recognition is really a reflection of the entire hospital. The nurses, the physicians, clinicians, support staff, everyone who is a part of Dana-Farber should be proud of this Magnet designation,” said Laurie H. Glimcher, M.D., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute president and chief executive officer.
Of the 475 Magnet hospitals nationwide, nine are in Massachusetts. In addition to Dana-Farber, they are: Baystate Medical Center, Boston Children's Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Lowell General Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, South Shore Hospital, and New England Baptist Hospital and Winchester Hospital, which are both part of Beth Israel Lahey Health.

Improving Maternal Care in Massachusetts. PNQIN Wants Your Input

 One proposed way to decrease maternal mortality is to regionalize maternity care – that is, referring women with high-risk pregnancies to delivery centers equipped with the resources and personnel to manage their anticipated needs. Much has been written about this strategy but there is little guidance about how to implement it. 
The Perinatal Quality Improvement Network (PNQIN) of Massachusetts is engaging key stakeholders to explore the designation of Levels of Maternal Care in Massachusetts. It created a task force, which this summer held its inaugural meeting at the Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety. MHA’s VP of Clinical Affairs Patricia Noga, R.N., is a member of the task force. Now it is looking forward to engaging stakeholders as the process moves forward. PNQIN encourages anyone to weigh in on the issue of designating Levels of Maternal Care in Massachusetts. Direct comments to task force leader Sarah Rae Easter, M.D. at seaster@bwh.harvard.edu. Learn more about PNQIN by visiting here.

MHA, MNA, and DPH Team Up on Safe Patient Handling

Spaces are still available for an important Safe Patient Handling Conference scheduled for Friday, September 20 at MHA’s Conference Center in Burlington, Mass. The conference is a collaboration between MHA, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and the Massachusetts Nurses Association, and runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The free program will examine the importance of engaging hospital leadership, operational best practices, the skills that practitioners/staff need to sustain a safe patient handling program, and how to evaluate lessons learned. 
Guy Fragala, Ph.D., an occupational safety and health professional, and author of Ergonomics: How to Contain On-the-Job Injuries in Healthcare, will present along with Kim Hollon, president & CEO, Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital and Signature Healthcare; Suzanne Nobrega, Outreach Director, Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace, UMass Lowell; Timothy Quigley, R.N., SVP, CNO, South Shore Health; and Sandra Wettergreen, Safe Patient Handling Coordinator, VA Boston Healthcare System. Please click here to register online.

Trump Administration Says it Will Fight Drug Pricing Ruling

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced last Wednesday that it would appeal a U.S. District Court judge’s ruling in July that struck down HHS’ plan to force pharmaceutical companies to disclose wholesale prices of their drugs in TV ads.
The judge determined that HHS did not possess the statutory authority to compel drug manufacturers to reveal prices. HHS had issued its directive on pharmacy prices in May.
Reuters quoted HHS spokesman Caitlin Oakley as saying of the planned appeal, “If the drug companies are embarrassed by their prices or afraid that the prices will scare patients away, they should lower them.”


Deborah Weymouth, the president and CEO of UMass Memorial Health Alliance-Clinton Hospital, announced last week that she is leaving the post effective September 27. Weymouth, a member of the MHA Board of Trustees, revealed only that she is taking a position outside of UMass Memorial Health Care.  Steve Roach, the president and CEO of UMass Memorial-Marlborough Hospital since 2013, will now also serve as the interim CEO of Clinton until a permanent leader is found.
Jeanette Ives Erickson has been appointed interim president and CEO of Nantucket Cottage Hospital, effective September 1. She succeeds CEO Margot Hartmann, M.D., who has served in the post since 2010 and who announced last year that she would retire following completion of the new 106,000 square foot hospital project she oversaw. Ives Erickson is CNO emerita at Massachusetts General Hospital, an instructor at Harvard Medical School and professor at the MGH Institute of Health Professions. She will serve until a permanent CEO is found.
Michael Rowan has been named Beth Israel Lahey Health’s Executive Vice President for Hospital and Ambulatory Services. In the role, Rowan will oversee Beth Israel Lahey Health’s hospital and ambulatory care delivery system, including 13 hospitals and approximately 40 major ambulatory facilities. Most recently, he was president of Health System Delivery and Chief Operating Officer at Catholic Health Initiatives. 

TeamSTEPPS Master Training Class

Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety (TeamSTEPPS) is an evidence-based set of teamwork tools, aimed at optimizing patient outcomes by improving communication and teamwork skills among healthcare professionals. It has become the gold standard in healthcare team training. The Master Training Course is a two-day, in-person course with a train-the-trainer approach. It educates participants on TeamSTEPPS fundamentals, provides them with resources for training others, and ensures that they gain the knowledge and training required to implement and coach the behaviors needed to achieve positive results. Developed by the Department of Defense's Patient Safety Program in collaboration with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, TeamSTEPPS provides higher quality, safer patient care by producing highly effective medical teams that optimize the use of information, people, and resources to achieve the best clinical outcomes for patients; increasing team awareness and clarifying team roles and responsibilities; resolving conflicts and improving information sharing; and eliminating barriers.
The instructor for this program --which runs Tuesday, Sept. 24 & Wednesday, Sept. 25 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at MHA's Conference Center -- is Karyn Baum, M.D., professor of medicine & interim CMO at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. We encourage hospitals to send three or more individuals to the trainings. Learn more and register by visiting here.

John LoDico, Editor