Beginning in October, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will impose penalties on hospitals with high readmissions for patients with congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction and pneumonia. The penalties, which will recover CMS provider payments, are motivating hospitals across the country to find ways to lower their readmission rates.

Read more: Just a Phone Call Away

If your OR physicians are frustrated and your nurses aren’t speaking up, there is a solution: get them to talk. It’s been said that healthcare is an illustration of the cutting edge of human knowledge. But a problem sweeping the nation’s ORs points to an issue more reminiscent of a high school social drama than a hospital: fear of speaking up. 

Read more: Crucial Conversations

Your employees aren’t performing the way you’d like? Author Steve Kerr says the problem may be your reward systems. Most businesses are replete with undesirable behaviors that stem from disregarding the fundamental principles of organizational reward systems. Figure 1 (page 64) shows some common dysfunctions along with their predictable consequences. 

Read more: Don't Blame the Rat

How new EMTALA guidelines regarding on-call physicians are giving hospitals greater flexibility to work around shortages. It’s 3 a.m. Do you know where your on-call physicians are? Hospitals are just now beginning to grasp the implications of changes to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1986 (EMTALA) that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved in October.

Read more: Community on Call

Are your executives and managers experiencing data overload? A balanced scorecard system may be the answer. The massive amount of data hospitals and large healthcare systems collect continues to mound higher and higher. Many executives have a positive attitude about this—the more data, the more informed their decisions will be, right? Not exactly. 

Read more: Digging into Data

In almost any segment of the healthcare industry, organizations have a critical need to change. A turbulent economy, non-traditional competitors, new technologies, and potential regulatory reform are tearing up old recipes for success. To create new winning formulas, healthcare executives need to quicken their pace of creating and implementing innovative ideas.

Read more: Speak to Me

Any healthcare employee anticipating an annual performance review is going to have several goals in mind. But being straightforward about what’s not working in the relationship with the boss surely won’t be one of them. After all, a pay raise for the next year and other perks could be on the line. Employees have every reason to put their best foot forward, tell the boss what he or she wants to hear—and keep their critiques of management to themselves. 

Read more: Dump the Review

The School at Work program helps entry-level healthcare workers learn and grow and increases hospital retention rates. Tears flow with regularity every eight months when WellStar Health System graduates another class of School at Work (SAW) students. “At WellStar, we believe everyone should have an opportunity to learn and grow at work,” said Helen Slaven, chief learning officer for the five-hospital, 11,000-employee system just northwest of Atlanta.

Read more: Up with People

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