CMS to delay star quality rating

Just days after CMS received letters signed by 60 U.S. Senators and 225 members of the House of Representatives requesting a delay of the overall star rating, the agency announced it would postpone the launch until July. The letter, signed by Washington State’s Sen. Maria Cantwell and Reps. Suzanne DelBene, Denny Heck, David Reichert, Derek Kilmer and Dan Newhouse, states what WSHA has also expressed: the star rating may simplify complex measures to the point of inaccuracy.... Read More >>

CDC: Zika virus causes microcephaly and other serious birth defects

Sufficient evidence has accumulated to infer a causal relationship between prenatal Zika virus infection and microcephaly and other severe brain anomalies, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study published April 13 by the New England Journal of Medicine.... Read More >>

White House report: health impacts of climate change

On April 4, the Obama administration released a final report projecting the impact of climate change on U.S. public health. The anticipated health risks include increased air pollution and allergens, premature deaths from extreme heat, Lyme disease, water-related illnesses and food contamination, according to climate change and public health experts.... Read More >>

CMS to roll out ‘overall quality’ star rating

In April, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) will introduce a new star rating for hospitals that is intended to indicate “overall quality.” The single 5-star rating will combine 57 inpatient and outpatient quality reporting measures, and according to the American Hospital Association (AHA), the national distribution of the star ratings is on a bell-curve, with half of all hospitals receiving three stars. ... Read More >>

A resource in the response to the Zika virus

You’ve likely seen the news reports about the mosquito-borne Zika virus the last few weeks, following the virus as it made its first appearance in the U.S. and eventually in Washington State, coming stateside after being contracted abroad. As of Feb. 1, the World Health Organization declared Zika a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, this week health officials confirmed a second case of Zika in Spokane County. The virus can be transmitted sexually from men and through blood transfusions.... Read More >>

Opiate use rising among expectant mothers in Washington State

The Office of Financial Management (OFM) recently released a brief examining maternal and newborn inpatient rates in which drugs or alcohol were a factor. Between 1990 and 2014, the rate of maternal hospital stays that included a diagnosis of substance abuse increased threefold, and the rate of newborn hospital stays that stemmed from maternal substance abuse increased fourfold, according to the report. Most of this increase is due to increased opiate use.... Read More >>

CDC issues health advisory for the flu

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued an official health advisory Feb. 1 due to reports of severe cases of influenza. WSHA members have reported surges in patients testing positively for influenza, and staff at some hospitals have begun wearing masks to prevent the spread of the illness.... Read More >>

Improvements to Breastfeeding Hospital recognition program

The Department of Health (DOH) recently updated the Breastfeeding Friendly Washington Hospitals program to reflect feedback received from Washington State hospitals. Supporting breastfeeding is an important part of ensuring newborns get a great start to a healthy life.... Read More >>

New York Times: The Fix

Last week, WSHA’s leader on patient safety, Carol Wagner, was interviewed by Daniel Bornstein for his column “The Fix.” He is doing a two-week look at the work that is being done to reduce preventable harm in hospitals — specifically, the work that is being done under Partnership for Patients.... Read More >>

Save the date for WSHA’s CEO and Trustee Patient Safety Summit

Save the date for WSHA’s 2016 CEO and Trustee Patient Safety Summit May 16 or 17. In a world of health care reform, providing high-value health care is critical. Learn how your board can lead your organization in advancing quality and safety. Summit attendees will take home practical tools to help their board function more effectively and meet the challenging demands of the health care environment.... Read More >>

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