Emergency services and trauma care in California are being threatened. Financial pressures, infra-structure requirements and shortages of licensed health care professionals have caused numerous emergency department (ED) and trauma center closures or downgrades.
The willingness of physician specialists to take calls in hospital EDs has also become increasingly problematic for California hospitals.
New research shows that having access to data from a health information exchange (HIE) improved the quality of emergency care and saved more than $1 million in patient charges, or nearly $2,000 per patient. A study presented this week at the annual meeting of the American College of Emergency Physicians focused on 11 emergency departments in South Carolina, and reported on results from 532 patients who had information available in the HIE and for whom the clinicians caring for the patients completed a survey. Findings indicated an average savings of $1,947 per patient, based on Medicare-allowable charges. Also in the study, 80 percent of clinicians reported improved quality of care and time savings with HIE.
The Emergency Medical Services Authority has received a grant from the California Office of Health Information Integrity to prepare emergency medical services (EMS) as part of the effort to implement health information exchange (HIE). The grant objectives include assessment of EMS systems for HIE readiness and identification of gaps; funding for several demonstration projects; and convening an EMS summit of multiple diverse stakeholders to develop a vision for the future of health information exchange in EMS. The summit is scheduled for Nov. 19-20 at the Westin Los Angeles, and hospitals are strongly encouraged to participate. More information and registration details are available in the attached brochure.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued a health advisory recommending vigilance by public health agencies, emergency departments and health care providers with patients who develop acute hepatitis or liver failure following the use of OxyELITE Pro, a weight loss and muscle-building nutritional supplement. The initial seven cases were reported by the Hawaii Department of Health. National case-finding efforts have identified several individuals from states outside Hawaii with reported OxyELITE Pro or other weight loss or muscle building dietary supplement use prior to the development of acute hepatitis of unknown cause. CDC, in collaboration with state health departments, is collecting additional clinical and epidemiologic information from these individuals to determine if the outbreak is national in scope. A summary, background, case definition, recommendations and more information can be found at the CDC’s Health Alert Network.
CHA recently completed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the American Red Cross, establishing a partnership for educating hospitals on releasing protected health information to a “public or private entity authorized by law or by its charter to assist in disaster relief efforts.” Public and private entities include the Red Cross, hospitals, first responders and others.
A copy of the MOU and CHA’s Release of Protected Health Information booklet are available for download at www.calhospitalprepare.org/protected_info. A hard copy of this booklet was also distributed at the CHA Disaster Planning for California Hospitals Conference last month.
The Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) has received a grant from the California Office of Health Information Integrity (CALOHII) to prepare emergency medical services (EMS) as part of the effort to implement health information exchange. The grant objectives include assessment of EMS systems for HIE readiness and identification of gaps; funding for several demonstration projects; and convening an EMS summit of multiple diverse stakeholders to develop a vision for the future of health information exchange in EMS. Contra Costa, Inland Counties and Monterey County EMS agencies will serve as demonstration sites. Areas of focus include the conversion to National EMS Information System 3 data systems, electronic patient care records and transmission of data to hospitals. The summit is scheduled for November 19-20, and hospitals are strongly encouraged to participate.
Join us this year as we explore avenues to promote and innovate better care for our patients and profession. Back by demand, day-one’s program will focus on the swelling numbers of behavioral patients in emergency departments. Day two features general and breakout sessions on a range of operational, financial and policy topics. Make plans now to attend.
A new report, issued by the UC Davis Institute of Population Health Improvement, provides an overview of community paramedicine — a new and changing model of community-based health care in the state. According to the report, under this model paramedics “function outside their customary emergency response and transport roles in ways that facilitate more appropriate use of emergency care resources and/or enhance access to primary care for medically underserved populations.” Interest in this model of care has increased recently, the report states, based on the belief that it may “improve access to and quality of care while also reducing costs.” For more information, see the attached report.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an official health advisory regarding intravenous drug overdose from the injected synthetic opioid, acetyl fentanyl. In the advisory, CDC recommends increased vigilance by public health agencies, emergency departments, state laboratories, medical examiners and coroners for patients exhibiting symptoms of opioid overdose. Since March, Rhode Island has reported 14 deaths related to the injected non-prescription synthetic opioid, which is up to five times more potent than heroin. CDC also has issued recommendations for specific laboratory tests to screen, confirm or rule out fentanyl and its analogs. For additional background information, case definitions and laboratory testing recommendations, visit the CDC Website.
Whether you are a sending or receiving hospital, many factors must be considered when dealing with a potential EMTALA situation. The patient’s medical condition, screening exams, capacity and capability, and on-call issues are at the top of the list. Learn how to analyze these and other complicated EMTALA situations with confidence.
The EMTALA Manual cuts through the legalese to help you navigate the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act — or “patient-dumping” law — that was enacted to ensure patients equal access to emergency services without regard to financial or insurance status. In a question and answer format, the manual provides guidance to hospitals and physicians on how to comply with the Act and clarifies situations to which EMTALA applies.