News Briefs: Week of April 11-15

April 13, 2011 05:40 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

Partnership for Patients Seeks to Cut Medical Errors, Hospital Readmissions

The Obama administration has launched a new national partnership that aims to avert millions of preventable patient harms during the next three years. The Partnership for Patients(www.healthcare.gov), a collaboration between the federal government, hospitals, physicians, nurses, employers, unions, health plans and others, has the potential to save as much as $35 billion during that period, according to HHS(www.hhs.gov).

Specific goals for the initiative are to

  • reduce preventable hospital-acquired infections and other conditions by 40 percent, which HHS estimates would prevent 1.8 million injuries and save 60,000 lives by the end of 2013; and
  • cut preventable hospital readmissions by 20 percent through the end of 2013, which, if achieved, would mean more than 1.6 million patients would recover without having to return to the hospital within 30 after initial discharge.

According to HHS, more than 500 hospitals, physicians and nursing organizations, consumer groups, and employers already have pledged their commitment to the new initiative.

HHS has set aside $1 billion in funding from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to pay for the partnership, and $500 million of that funding was made available April 12 through CMS' Community-based Care Transitions Program. As much as $500 million more will come through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to support new demonstration projects aimed at reducing hospital-acquired conditions.

U.S. Marshals Seize $6 Million in Triad Products

U.S. marshals, acting on a request from the FDA, seized more than $6 million in products on April 6 at a Triad Group Inc. facility in Hartland, Wis. A wide variety of products, including povidone-iodine and benzalkonium chloride antiseptic products, cough and cold products, nasal sprays, suppositories, medicated wipes, antifungal creams, and hemorrhoidal wipes, as well as raw materials, were seized.

"We took this action to stop Triad from continuing to distribute products which may pose a risk to public health," said Dara Corrigan, FDA associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, in a news release(www.fda.gov).

Triad recalled all lots of its alcohol prep pads, alcohol swabs and alcohol swabsticks in January because of potential contamination with Bacillus cereus. Triad's recall has led to at least nine subsequent recalls(www.fda.gov) by pharmaceutical companies that packaged Triad's pads with their own medications.

The FDA said H&P Industries, which manufactures the products distributed by Triad, has initiated three recalls since December 2010 because of different types of bacterial contamination.

The April 6 action was necessary, the agency said, because of the "continued failure of H&P Industries to comply with the FDA's current good manufacturing practice regulations."

ACR Updates Medical Imaging Appropriateness Criteria

The American College of Radiology, or ACR, has updated the ACR Appropriateness Criteria(www.acr.org), which are evidence-based guidelines to help referring physicians choose the correct medical imaging exam for a patient's clinical condition.

The ACR said in an April 7 news release that it revised more than 40 existing appropriateness criteria topics/clinical conditions and added seven new topics:

  • interventional planning and follow-up for abdominal aortic aneurysm,
  • management of vertebral compression fractures,
  • acute trauma to the foot,
  • hematospermia,
  • advanced cervical cancer,
  • role of adjuvant therapy in the management of early-stage cervical cancer, and
  • adjuvant therapy for resected squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.

More than 175 topics, with more than 850 variants, now are covered in the criteria.

The news release urged referring physicians to consider using the criteria, which can be accessed through all major mobile platforms, in their clinical decision-making. By employing the guidelines, health care professionals "enhance quality of care and contribute to the most efficacious use of radiology," said the ACR.

AAFP Has Minority Health Month Resources

April is National Minority Health Month, and the AAFP has joined HHS' Office of Minority Health(minorityhealth.hhs.gov) in focusing its Minority Health Month activities and resources on healthy eating for children, particularly in schools. As part of that effort, the Academy is offering Americans In Motion-Healthy Interventions, or AIM-HI, resources, including a food and activity journal and nutrition tip sheets that can help motivate and assist patients in making healthier food and beverage choices. Both AIM-HI resources are available in English and Spanish. AIM-HI children's books, which are free to AAFP members, also are available for order.

A related resource is the AAFP's online collection of cultural proficiency videos, which includes health information specific to diverse patient subpopulations, including immigrants and patients with limited English proficiency.

Medical Educators' Group Invites Substance Abuse Abstracts

In preparation for its 35th National Conference, the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse(www.amersa.org), or AMERSA, is reaching out to physician researchers and educators for abstracts on recent substance abuse research and substance abuse education innovations.

According to AMERSA, which is a multidisciplinary organization of health care professionals dedicated to improving education in caring for individuals with substance abuse problems, abstracts in three categories are invited: research, program and curricula evaluation, and clinical case presentations. Formats include oral and poster presentations.

Abstracts may be submitted online. Submission of abstracts that address cross-cultural issues, diversity, hard-to-reach populations, or local or international clinical practice differences is especially encouraged.

Only complete abstracts will be considered for presentation. To be considered complete, abstracts must describe a completed research project, including descriptions of methods, results and conclusions; a completed program and curricula evaluation abstract, including evaluation methods, findings and conclusions; or a clinical case with specific learning objectives that are generalizable and supported by the case.

Abstracts must be submitted by May 27.

Accepted abstracts will be presented at the association's national conference, Nov. 3-5 in Arlington, Va. Three abstract awards also will be presented during the conference.


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