By Crystee Cooper DHEd, MPH, LSSGB, CHES, Director of Health Services Research, DFWHC Foundation
On March 29, The Dallas Morning News reported $4.5 billion was spent in 2014 by Medicare on new “pricey” medications to cure hepatitis C. The article went on to say that 350,000 Medicare beneficiaries have hepatitis C, although many aren’t aware of it. Although the new hepatitis C drugs have a cure rate of 90 percent or higher and provide a better quality of life for patients, more emphasis and resources should be placed on awareness and prevention to help reduce hepatitis cases and control costs.
Hepatitis is a disease characterized by inflammation of the liver. The liver is the body’s largest glandular organ that performs critical functions to keep us pure of toxins and harmful substances. The liver produces bile which helps carry away waste and break down fats in the small intestine during digestion.
There are five main types of hepatitis caused by viruses. The most common are A, B and C. Hepatitis A is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with the virus while Hepatitis B and C are commonly spread when there is direct contact with the blood of a person with the disease. If not treated, Hepatitis can lead to liver failure and death.
Annually, 1.4 million people worldwide die from hepatitis. In the U.S., 17,000 people become infected with hepatitis C each year. An estimated 3.2 million are living with an active, chronic hepatitis C infection. Prevention of hepatitis A and B include vaccination, good personal hygiene and proper sanitation. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C. Hepatitis B and C impact 400 million people worldwide.
The month of May marked an observance of hepatitis, a time for healthcare providers and community organizations to provide residents education, screenings and treatment. Screening for hepatitis is simple and available through any North Texas healthcare provider of choice. For those without a primary care physician, local health departments and community clinics provide testing at a reasonable rate, with or without insurance. There are several programs at area hospitals that focus on treatment of hepatitis and other liver diseases. Although the month of May has come and gone, hepatitis remains a population health issue that requires our attention.
The World Health Organization (WHO) designated July 28 as World Hepatitis Day in an effort to bring better awareness and understanding of how hepatitis is spread. To learn more about hepatitis and how you can play a part in prevention efforts in your community, visit www.worldhepatitisday.info.
June 25, 2015
Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council
250 Decker Drive
Irving, TX 75062
Statement Re: U.S. Supreme Court Ruling – King vs. Burwell
“The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Burwell in the King vs. Burwell case today. Hospitals within the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council and throughout the nation are glad the high court supported the arguments of the government. For Texas, this means almost one million of our fellow citizens will continue receiving tax subsidies to help them purchase health insurance on the insurance marketplace because we are a federally facilitated exchange. This is very important for Texas as we lead the nation in the amount of uninsured citizens and we did not expand Medicaid. Many working Texans struggle to make monthly expenses and cannot afford health care. Hopefully, we can continue our efforts to provide coverage and access for our fellow citizens.”
W. Stephen Love
Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council
The 8th Annual Patient Safety Summit will be at the Las Colinas Marriott in Irving on August 5th 2015. For $75.00 you will get CE’s, breakfast, lunch and hear some excellent and motivational speakers. Click the on the flyer below to get the full agenda and bio’s of the speakers and to register. There will be limited seating so register early.
By Richard Howe, PhD, Executive Director of NTREC
Last month I discussed how your electronic health record (EHR) and analytics tools could impact the long-term revenue of your practice and why you should consider getting into data analytics. This month I would like to review how just using claims data can have a positive impact on your practice.
Data Analytics – Where do I start?
The literature on data analytics in healthcare has very divergent opinions on where to start and how much data to collect. Some articles promote collecting all types of information, including medical claims, pharmacy claims, clinical data from EHRs, lab data, personal health record (PHR) data, continuity of care document (CCD) data, consumer reported health risk data, lifestyle and behavioral data (“Integrating claims and clinical data to improve population health,” in Healthcare IT News, March 3, 2015). Obviously, one could do very sophisticated analytics with that data, but collection of all that information is just not practical for the average physician office. So, where do I start?
1. First, get top senior physician leadership of your practice to totally “buy into” data analytics (“A beginners guide to data analytics,” in Healthcare IT News, June 2, 2015). There is no “free lunch” in the initial setup and collection of data – so you must plan for some initial “up front” costs. The return on investment (ROI) may be 1-2 years down the road, so this will require full senior leadership support in your practice.
2. Second, decide who in your organization is going to have overall responsibility for the data analytics system. Make sure you pick a person or small team that understands and can communicate the true clinical and business value to your practice.
3. Start SIMPLE. One of the easiest ways to begin is to use your existing 835 and 837 claims data. It is a consistent set of data that can be used for retrospective analysis. By doing retrospective analysis on a regular basis, you can obtain information and insight on how to improve your practice. For example, you can examine general clinical practices across all members of the care team and see if there are any inconsistencies. This will allow your team to discuss any differences and to collectively figure out the “best practices” for particular procedures and/or types of patients.
4. Know the strategic goals of your practice and then develop a future “weighted data wish list” to support these goals. As you become more comfortable with using claims data, you can then begin to add clinical data – again based on your data wish list.
What are the benefits?
There are many benefits of starting your analytics journey with claims data. These include:
1. Claims data already exists.
2. Requires no new data extracts and/or programming to get the data.
3. Requires no workflow or operational changes.
4. Can obtain patient level specific data by diagnosis and procedures.
5. Can get summarized practice specific data related to diagnosis, procedures, high cost patient populations, revenue by care giver, etc.
6. Can use the summarized data to improve practice patterns, reduce operational costs, and overall improve revenue of your practice.
This is a win-win-win for your patients, your team and your practice!
The DFW Hospital Council Foundation Workforce Center’s annual Summer Institute has been scheduled for August 6 at the Tarrant County College Trinity River Campus. The event is from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. This year’s theme, “Hardiness Training for Nurses” will be highlighted by speaker Sharon Judkins, RN, PhD, NEA-BC, an associate professor at UT Arlington. To register, please click here. Registration deadline is July 31.