Governance

AHA seeks to strengthen services for trustees

The American Hospital Association board of trustees in July approved a plan to strengthen the AHA’s role in supporting good governance in a changing health care environment. The plan is intended to broaden opportunities for trustee education and engagement across the association rather than concentrate those efforts within a membership model. To accomplish that, the Center for Healthcare Governance, an AHA membership group, will be dissolved at the end of this year and trustee services will move to the AHA’s Member Relations unit.

Trustee will continue to publish 10 times a year, with articles specifically focused on the challenges faced by today’s hospital and health system boards, and solutions for meeting those challenges. The magazine’s editors also are studying enhancements to both print and digital content. One initiative already underway aims to create more synergy between Trustee and its sister publication Hospitals & Health Networks. Certain articles will run in both publications; the Trustee versions will be framed specifically for its hospital board readership, while the H&HN versions will be geared to executives and other health care professionals. Email Editorial Director Bill Santamour with questions or comments at bsantamour@healthforum.com.

Mental health

Triple Aim strategies for behavioral health care

Using the Triple Aim framework, hospitals and health systems can effectively address behavioral health issues in the community. This includes:

  • Improving the patient experience of care by integrating behavioral and physical health care services.
  • Improving the health of populations by building networks or partnerships with community stakeholders to coordinate behavioral health care.
  • Reducing the per capita cost of health care by implementing alternative payment models to sustain needed services.

A new infographic from the AHA's Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence initiative provides an overview of the action steps needed to develop a well-coordinated, accessible, affordable and accountable system for delivering behavioral health care.

Payment

Questions about MACRA? You’ll find help here

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 makes sweeping changes to how Medicare will pay for physician services. The changes will have a significant impact not only on physicians but also on the hospitals and health systems with whom they partner. The AHA has created a webpage with definitions of terms, and links to resources and tools on key aspects of the new physician payment system. 

Clinical issues

Toolkits on appropriate use of medical resources

The American Hospital Association’s Physician Leadership Forum and Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence initiative have released a compendium of their toolkits to help hospital leaders, clinicians and patients examine the appropriate use of medical resources in five key areas: blood management, antimicrobial stewardship, ambulatory care-sensitive conditions, elective percutaneous coronary intervention, and aligning treatment with patient priorities for use of the intensive care unit. The toolkits were developed with a broad group of national organizations and content experts based on a 2013 AHA white paper on reducing the use of nonbeneficial services while improving health care overall. Hospitals can use the compendium and its discussion guide to explore the issue with their boards, medical staff and community leaders. 

Prescription drugs

Opioid resource helps patients talk with providers

The AHA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released a one-page resource to help hospital patients who may be prescribed opioids before discharge discuss the risks and benefits with their health care provider. “Every day, hospitals see how misuse of and overdose from prescription opioids affects patients, families, loved ones and communities,” AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack said. “We want patients to have open, honest conversations with their care providers about the best way to manage pain. The goal is to help patients manage their pain and continue to lead healthy, productive lives.