Government and Regulations

POLICY CORNER: An inside look at the most pressing policy issues


This year, hospitalists will begin to see health reform affect the way they work, and SHM is bringing the best perspective and access to its members.

With the proposed rules anticipated to have been in effect by the end of January, the definition and development of accountable care organizations (ACOs) will answer two long-awaited questions: How will these organizations impact the practice of hospital medicine … and when? Additionally, the Community-Based Care Transitions Program available to hospitals identified as having high readmission rates is scheduled to begin in early 2011.

So how can hospitalists get the information they need to prepare for, and succeed under, all of these new rules? Launched in mid-January, our new Advocacy & Public Policy portal at provides summaries and background material for relevant reform provisions, educational resources, headlines, and coming events—along with an easy way to reach out to elected officials through our Legislative Action Center.

Specifically outlined are SHM’s top priority issues (hospital value-based purchasing [HVBP], bundled payments, and reducing readmissions/improving care transitions), identified by the Public Policy Committee. The summaries also include SHM’s position statement so hospitalists know where SHM stands and what we’re doing to help hospitalists best position themselves to succeed.

In addition to provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, we’ve devoted a section to health information technology and updated the Physician Quality Reporting System to reflect ACA changes (including Maintenance of Certification [MOC] and the Physician Compare website).

In January, Patrick Conway, MD, and Patrick Torcson, MD, MMM, FACP, SFHM, chairmen of the Public Policy Committee and Performance & Standards Committee, respectively, presented the “Health Reform: Highlights and Practical Implications for Hospitalists” webinar, which explored ACOs, readmissions, HVBP, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ role in the implementation process. If you missed the presentation, it is available on demand at

HM11, which is May 10-13 in Grapevine, Texas, will feature a session on the latest reform news: “The Biggest Changes in Healthcare Reform: What We Know Now.” Though the final presentation likely will change in the days leading up to the meeting, the panel plans to review how other ACA provisions will set hospitalists up to succeed under the new ACO model.

Now is the time for hospitalists to get up to speed. TH

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