Without further adieu — and just in time for the Supreme Court to rule on its constitutionality — we have published our Affordable Care Act (ACA) Timeline. Many available timelines regarding key provisions of the ACA are either hard to understand, lack important implementation dates, or lack references to source materials.
These shortcomings led to the development of our own ACA Timeline, which is an evolving piece of work. We are continuing to update it with additional key provisions and citations.
On April 26, 2012 the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) released a report detailing hospital readmission statistics from 2010 data. The report is particularly noteworthy because this month the first group of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) begin participating in the Medicare shared savings program. One of the quality measures on which health care providers participating in the ACO are evaluated is hospital readmissions. Later this year, all Medicare providers will also be subject to the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program.
Physicians and medical malpractice attorneys alike probably speculate that practitioners of the various surgical specialties carry the highest risk of being named in a malpractice lawsuit. After all, adverse events in those fields have the potential to be catastrophic and tend to be associated with large payouts for plaintiffs. In actuality, they may be wrong, according to recent trends.
Providing high quality care is not strongly associated with a reduction in litigation exposure according to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The results of this study, while frustrating to some, reaffirm our belief that litigation has more to do with the process of care rather than the quality of care; I have written about this point in the past.
The New England Journal authors sought to assess “whether high-quality health care institutions are less likely to be sued for negligence than their low-performing counterparts.” Although this premise may seem logical, its validity has been questioned by many studies.
As of December 30, 2010, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) enhanced their older “Healthcare Provider Directory” tool, which helped beneficiaries research and compare physicians enrolled in the program, by introducing an expanded and updated “Physician Compare” to the public. The driving force behind this new database is the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 health reform law that has the primary goal of promoting healthcare transparency. See 42 U.S.C.A. § 18120.