All Content

Hospitalists Stand Up at AMA and in D.C.

The Public Policy Committee will also formulate and recommend SHM policy on compensation reform and pay for performance. In consultation with the Hospital Quality and Patient Safety Committee, the Public Policy Committee will also develop policy on quality initiatives and safety standards.

To get hospitalists involved in the advocacy arena in a face-to-face, hands-on fashion, the Public Policy Committee plans to hold the first SHM Legislative Day on May 3, 2006, just prior to the SHM Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. SHM will invite hospital medicine leaders to Washington to be educated on the key advocacy issues and how best to interact with their congressional representatives, senators, and their health staff. Appointments will be made for the hospitalist leaders to go to the Hill for meetings with their legislators on May 3. Check the SHM Web site ( and future issues of The Hospitalist for details about how you might participate in the SHM Legislative Day 2006.

Hospitalists Participate in Code Review

This year—2005—is the Five Year Review of all the billing codes by AMA’s Relative Value Update (or RUC) Committee with recommendations to CMS and the government. Most medical societies participate by having key members examine the work involved in performing specific functions described by the current procedural terminology (CPT) codes. The idea is to update the work and, therefore, the compensation for the work of healthcare.

SHM partnered with ACP in this effort, and more than 25 SHM members concentrated on a review of hospital admission, consultation, and daily visit codes. SHM appreciates the time spent by these hospitalists. We hope that as the relative values of visits and procedures are reconfigured this input will be helpful.

SHM continues its interest in developing an alternative to the current system that compensates physicians by the unit of the visit. We favor a shift to a broader management fee that better reflects the reality that current inpatient care requires multiple visits each day and a more in-depth approach than is currently captured in a one-visit-and-gone approach.

Medicare’s CCIP Initiative

The Chronic Care Improvement Program (CCIP) is a component of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. This program is the first large-scale chronic care improvement initiative under the Medicare fee-for-service program. CMS selected organizations that will offer self-care guidance and support to chronically ill beneficiaries. These organizations will help beneficiaries manage their health, adhere to their physicians’ plans of care, and ensure that they seek or obtain medical care as needed to reduce their health risks.

Performance-based contracting is one of the most important features of the CCIP design. The CCIPs will be paid based on achieving measurable improvements in clinical and financial outcomes, as well as satisfaction levels across their assigned populations. Payment is not based on services provided. CCIP organizations will be paid monthly fees, but those fees will be fully at risk. The organizations will be required to refund some or all of their fees to the federal government if they do not meet agreed-upon standards for quality improvement, savings to Medicare, and increased beneficiary satisfaction levels.

Phase I programs will be large-scale, collectively serving approximately 180,000 chronically ill beneficiaries. This is the phase currently under development. The programs are intended to help increase adherence to evidence-based care, reduce unnecessary hospital stays and emergency department visits, and help beneficiaries avoid costly and debilitating complications and comorbidities. With the attention to reducing hospital costs by reducing unnecessary stays and emergency department visits, hospitalists may play an important role in CCIPs.

Ten organizations in 10 states were awarded opportunities to pilot CCIP programs. SHM believes that hospitalists can play a key role in the CCIP programs and demonstrate efficient and effective care (i.e., better quality at a lower use of resources). SHM has developed a list of its members who are willing to work in the CCIP process and has contacted all of the CCIP awardees to discuss the role of hospitalists in quality improvement.

Comment on this Article

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *