Med-Certification, a Utah based company, celebrates being in business for 45 years this year. As they continue to expand, the healthcare questions remain the same. Society often wonders about which direction health safety is progressing. The Med-Certification professional staff works hard to stay abreast of healthcare issues and incorporates important features into its training and certification material. Take a look at the competence:

Here are some fundamental current issues:

Pushing for improved patient safety and quality care.

Case in point: Patients’ first sign that something is changing may involve lessening of a big (and often totally unnecessary) indignity (and risk). One in four hospitalized patients have a urinary catheter inserted (whether needed or not – it’s mostly for staff convenience). The catheters inserted trigger more than half a million infections of the urinary tract per year, the most common hospital-caused disease. Most patients don’t need them; they are simply a precaution after certain surgeries. And many of them are left in place for much longer than necessary. A national study found half of the hospitals in the test did not even keep track of who had had a catheter inserted. Fewer than one in 10 hospitals do a daily check to see if the catheter is still needed.

Here is the list of errors that Medicare will stop paying for if that service creates an “injury or other sequela.” Providers and coders please note that if you code and bill for any of these complications, your practice won’t get paid.

  • Urinary tract infections from catheters
  • Bloodstream infections (septicemia) from catheters
  • Falls
  • Bed sores or pressure ulcers (decubitus ulcers)
  • Objects left within a patient’s body during surgery
  • Blood incompatibility, (giving an incorrect blood type, e.g., lab error)
  • Infection after heart surgery (mediastinitis)
  • Air embolism (air in a blood vessel-typically from an injection or IV)

Those facts have the hospitals exploring innovative ways to improve and prevent injury and infection. That’s a good thing.

Credit Scoring:

Attempts are actually underway to create a medFICO score by collecting patient data from hospital systems with a combined $100 billion in annual net revenue. The scores would reflect a history of on-time payments (and of course, the payments not made on time or at all). The company claims that the only purpose is to determine after a visit or surgery if the patient can pay the bill.

Consumer advocacy groups fear that the medFICO scores will be checked before patients are treated, so that those with low scores could either not receive care at all or would receive lower quality care. Spokesman for the scoring effort claim that the patient’s score will not be checked until after the patient is discharged and the bill already exists.

The medFICO score are being designed with the industry giant Fair Isaac Corp., and could debut as early as this summer.

Hospitals and other caregivers already tap into regular credit scores (often without the patient’s permission), but those are not necessarily a good indication of whether a person will pay a medical bill. Such credit scores are based on voluntary purchases whereas health care debt is largely involuntary.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, reporters to the scoring agencies cannot indicate what the services were for. That way, allegedly a person looking at the information would not be able to guess what the treatment was for.

For lots more timely information, check the “In the News” feature here at the Med-Certification website: NEWS