AMA reports examine state of medical liability in the United States
The American Medical Association (AMA) has released three trend reports examining the issue of medical liability. The first report analyzes medical liability claims frequency and finds that 34 percent of physicians have had a medical liability claim filed against them and 49.2 percent of physicians aged 55 years and older have been sued. The second report examines indemnity payments, expenses, and claim disposition from 2006 to 2015 and finds that the average expense incurred on medical liability claims that closed in 2015 was $54,165—an increase of 64.5 percent since 2006. The third report looks at annual changes in medical liability insurance premiums from 2008 to 2017 and finds that since 2010, 12 to 17 percent of medical liability premiums have increased from the previous year.
Many providers still waiting to find out if they must submit quality data under MIPS
An article in Modern Healthcare looks at issues surrounding the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). In 2018, participating providers are expected to submit a full year of quality data under the MIPS. Although the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized a rule in late 2017 to exempt more small providers from MIPS reporting, the agency has yet to notify clinicians regarding their participation status. CMS estimates that 934,000 providers will be exempt from MIPS during 2018, an increase from 134,000 during 2017.
Study: Postoperative bracing may offer little benefit after PSIF for lumbar degeneration
A study published in the Feb. 1 issue of the journal Spine suggests that postoperative bracing may offer little benefit at up to 3 months after posterior spinal instrumented fusion (PSIF) for patients with lumbar degenerative conditions. The researchers conducted a randomized, controlled trial of 43 patients, 25 of whom were treated with bracing and 18 controls. At 3-month follow-up, they found that both groups displayed significant improvement in Oswestry Disability Index and visual analog scale scores. However, only the control group displayed significant improvement in short form-12v2 score, and improvement on all scales was significantly greater for control patients than those who received bracing. Further, the researchers write that a larger proportion of patients in the control group reached minimum clinically important difference compared to the bracing group at both 6-week and 3-month follow-ups.
Study: Synovial fluid markers may indicate risk of cartilage degeneration for patients undergoing ACL repair
Data from a study published online in The American Journal of Sports Medicine suggest that synovial fluid profile may help predict articular cartilage degeneration following anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repair. The authors conducted a longitudinal cohort study of 26 patients who underwent ACL repair at a mean 8.5 weeks after injury and who had synovial fluid aspirated at the time of surgery. They found that higher synovial fluid sulfated glycosaminoglycan concentrations at the time of surgery were associated with worse cartilage composition during the first 3 years after surgery, based on T1ρ and T2 quantitative magnetic resonance imaging.
Study: Laser therapy may reduce pain more quickly than shock wave therapy for patients with plantar fasciitis
According to a study published online in the journal Foot & Ankle International, low-level laser therapy (LLLT) may be more effective than extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) in short-term pain reduction for patients with plantar fasciitis. Members of the research team conducted a randomized trial of 66 patients treated with either LLLT and a home exercise program (n = 24), ESWT and a home exercise program (n = 25), or home exercise program only. Over the course of 3 months of treatment, they noted significant reductions in pain for patients in all cohorts. However, patients in the LLLT group displayed significant reductions in pain after the third week, while ESWT and control patients displayed significant reductions in pain at the third month.
CMS and VA announce joint effort to reduce fraud, waste, and abuse
CMS and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced a partnership to share data, data analytics tools, and best practices in order to identify and prevent fraud, waste, and abuse. CMS estimates that its program integrity activities saved Medicare operations $17 billion in FY 2015. VA expects to close existing gaps in its own claims payment process by adopting program integrity protocols developed by CMS.