Health Care Insights

Discover what’s new in the health care industry

Sort by topic or simply review what's new on the Schumacher Clinical Partners blog, Health Care Insights. 

Zika: Innocuous Virus, Baby-killer, or Harbinger of Viruses to Come

Medical Executive Council

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared last week that the Zika virus is an international health emergency, calling it an "extraordinary event" due to its apparent association with congenital malformations and neurological complications reported in the Americas region.

The disease, a single-stranded RNA virus of the Flaviviridae family, genus Flavivirus, is transmitted through the bite of infected daytime-active Aedes species mosquitoes (the same mosquitoes that spread dengue and chikungunya viruses).

According to CDC, the mosquito vectors typically breed in domestic water-holding containers; they are aggressive daytime biters and feed both indoors and outdoors near dwellings. Non-human and human primates are likely the main reservoirs of the virus, and anthroponotic (human-to-vector-to-human) transmission occurs during outbreaks.

Zika Virus History

Zika virus is not a new strain...

Read the full article

ICD-10: Issues, Challenges for 2016

Medical Executive Council

Now that ICD-10 is in full force, we put our ear to the ground to discover what pressing issues and challenges remain for 2016. Here's a roundup of what we found:

Providers Most at Risk for Loss, According to RCS Summit Panel

A panel of health care experts at the RCS Summit, held December 2015, said that hospitals have the most to lose when it comes time for payer-provider contract negotiations. Price changes were the real worry, as the specificity of the data could lead insurers to lower the prices they pay based on the severity of the diagnosis code. Read more…

Survey Reveals ICD-10 Readiness Post-implementation

Navicure, a provider of cloud-based healthcare claims management and patient payment solutions, announced in January key findings from its post-ICD-10 implementation survey (PDF). Among the many findings, the results revealed that the majority (99 percent) of health...

Read the full article

The Role of Customer Satisfaction in Patient Care

Medical Executive Council

An adage that holds true in health care as much as anywhere else says, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." It's a self-evident proposition that should serve as a mantra in modern health care practice, particularly in emergency medicine.

Often, the first encounter a patient has with a hospital is the ED. If that experience is constructive, the patient and his family will likely have a positive impression of the hospital.

But what makes an experience positive? Three words come to mind: competence, courtesy, and compassion.

Patients expect competence and will give you a neutral satisfaction rating if you are competent. Add courtesy and you will get a satisfactory rating. Add compassion and patients will be very satisfied.

Good patient satisfaction comes with benefits for the staff as well, including the potential to improve staff satisfaction and...

Read the full article

Virtual Scribe Program Innovates EMR Documentation, Improves Patient Care

Medical Executive Council

Virtual Scribe Logo

The push to develop and deploy EMRs, combined with the need for more detailed documentation, has forced EM and HM providers to spend extra time during patient visits capturing and entering data rather than focusing on the patient — a problem that can have an adverse impact on the quality of patient care.

One solution: the use of medical scribes.

According to the American Health Information Management Association, a medical scribe captures "accurate and detailed documentation … of the encounter in a timely manner." Typically, scribes follow the physician during rounds gathering, documenting, and entering information into the EMR at the doctor’s direction.

In keeping with its focus on innovation, SCP is piloting a timely alternative to the traditional model: the Virtual Scribe or "V-scribe" program.

This post explains the concept, how it works, and the benefits it...

Read the full article

Nursing Shortage Effect on the Health Care Industry: Current Trends, Future Growth

Medical Executive Council

Registered nurses are the single largest group of health care professionals in the United States. Yet, the vacancy rate for RNs continues to rise and currently stands at 7.2 percent, according to a report from NSI Nursing Solutions (PDF).

Despite that fact, there is still a growing demand for nurses both in hospitals and the community. Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow by as much as 16 percent by 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations, said the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Growth will occur for a number of reasons.

Demand for health care services will increase because of the aging population, given that older individuals typically have more medical problems than younger ones. As such, nurses will be needed to educate and care for patients with various chronic conditions, such as arthritis, dementia, diabetes, and obesity. Also, the Patient Protection...

Read the full article

Top 6 Medical Issues and Trends Impacted SG in 2015

Communications Department

As 2015 draws to a close, we wanted to take a look back at the top issues and trends during the year that had an impact with regard to providing quality patient care. Six come to mind: ICD-10, telehealth, EMRs, mobile technology, CMS regulations, and CPR/ECC guidelines.

In this post, we briefly summarize each issue and share links to SG blog posts that addressed it, starting with the one that many would agree had the greatest impact: ICD-10.


We now live in the era of ICD-10, a period that will affect every part of medical practice.

With more detailed codes — almost 70,000 in total — many physicians were concerned about their readiness. For example, a poll by physician social network SERMO revealed that most doctors — 71 percent — said they are not ready for ICD-10.

"The change from ICD-9 to ICD-10 is one of the largest technically challenging transitions...

Read the full article

Holidays in the Hospital: A Time for Giving and Gratitude

Various Providers

For many physicians, this season means time spent away from family, pulling shifts at the hospital. Of course, we all know that working during the holidays is part of the job. It's what we signed up for — just another day at the office, so to speak. But it's not all bad, as many providers will attest. In fact, it can be downright enjoyable, given the festive spirit shared by the staff.

If you have a love-hate relationship with work during this season of the year, think of the patients who cross our threshold in need of attention. Even if, in our estimation, their condition does not necessitate a visit to the hospital, perhaps they came for another type of healing. Maybe a brief respite from loneliness or relief from the strife and tribulation they may face at home. It's not our place to judge their reasons or motives. It is our place to provide care. And what better gift can we...

Read the full article

Carol of the Codes: ICD-10 Codes with Your Favorite Holiday Songs

SG Medical Executive Council

When you think of hanging Christmas ornaments on the tree, draping porch railings with light-festooned garland, or decorating the front door with a festive wreath, what comes to mind?

For those who work in EM and HM during the holidays, quite possibly it’s the thought that an injury could accompany each of those activities — and not without good reason.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates there were 15,000 injuries involving holiday decorating seen in emergency departments nationwide during November and December 2012 (the latest figures available) — the fourth consecutive year these estimates have increased. One-third of those visits resulted from falls.

For each injury sustained during the holidays that results in an ER visit, providers must select a relevant ICD-10 code. With that in mind, here are 12 sets of codes to use during the...

Read the full article

2015 AHA Guidelines for CPR and ECC Care Emphasize Action, Teamwork

SG Medical Executive Council

The 2015 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care, published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association last October, highlight how quick action, proper training, use of technology, and coordinated efforts can increase survival from cardiopulmonary arrest.

The new guidelines, which are based on the latest resuscitation research, have been published since 1966 to provide science-based recommendations for treating cardiovascular emergencies — particularly cardiopulmonary arrest in adults, children, infants, and newborns.

The 2015 update confirms known CPR recommendations with several quality enhancements to help save even more lives, including a range for the rate and depth of chest compressions during CPR. The last update was in 2010.

“Everyone has a role to play in the chain of survival —...

Read the full article

Top 10 Holiday Gifts for Emergency Medicine and Hospital Medicine Doctors

Communications Department

Wondering what to give that doctor in your life this holiday? Here's a list that contains a variety of gifts we guarantee they will love, arranged by price, to fit all budgets.

1. Prescription Coffee Mug

This affordably-priced coffee mug, made of high-quality ceramic, looks just like a prescription bottle. Pardon the pun, but it’s just what the doctor ordered.

The prescription: Drink one mug by mouth, repeat until awake and alert.

Price: $9.99

2. The Hippocratic Oath Typographic Poster

This beautifully designed, handmade typographic poster of the Hippocratic Oath would look great when framed for hanging on the doctor's wall. You can choose from 250gsm glossy card or 165gsm print paper.

Price: $12.38

3. Audible Membership

With all the textbooks and journal articles doctors have to peruse, little time is left to read for pleasure, which is where a gift of membership to

Read the full article

ACEP15: SG Involvement, Conference Highlights

Communications Department

Schumacher Group traveled to Boston last month, Oct. 26-28, to attend one of the industry's premiere events, the American College of Emergency Physicians’ annual meeting: ACEP15.

In addition to more than 350 educational courses, labs, and workshops conducted by a lineup of superstar speakers, the conference offered opportunities to earn CME credits, try out the latest EM products, and network with peers from around the world.

Here are just a few of the highlights from the gathering, describing SG involvement.

SG Leadership in Attendance

Several members of SG’s Senior Leadership Team attended ACEP15, including William "Kip" Schumacher, MD, FACEP, founder and executive chairman; Rich D’Amaro, chief executive officer; Randy Pilgrim, MD, FACEP, enterprise chief medical officer; David Schillinger, MD, HPP chief medical officer; Stephen Nichols, MD, chief of clinical...

Read the full article

Thanksgiving Reflection from a Real Pilgrim

Randy Pilgrim, MD, Enterprise Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Randy Pilgrim, Enterprise Chief Medical OfficerIt’s that wonderful time of year when friends and family come together to celebrate and give thanks. This season has always been a meaningful time, but in my case it’s always been an interesting holiday, to say the least.

My last name is “Pilgrim”. I get the same set of questions every year, starting about November 23rd. Here’s a few of the usual answers. (It’ll save me some time. . .).

  1. No, I didn’t come over on the Mayflower.
  2. Never been to Plymouth Rock.
  3. No relation to the original Pilgrims. We checked.
  4. No relation to the Pilgrim Cleaners franchise. (I’m not making this up.)
  5. Never met Pocahontas. (Really??)
  6. Despite appearances, I wasn’t alive in 1621.

So it goes. Once while working a shift on Thanksgiving, I actually had to show a disbelieving patient my driver’s license to verify my name. Wish we’d had Press-Ganey...

Read the full article

Ambassador Travel Team Provides Flexibility, Travel Opportunities

Communications Department

"On the road again, just can't wait to get on the road again…” ~ Willie Nelson

If Willie Nelson’s classic song about the nomadic lifestyle strikes a chord, you may want to consider becoming a traveling physician. But instead of making music, you provide clinical services in areas where it is most needed.

There are a host of benefits for any doctor wishing to “hit the road,” most notably the opportunity to travel to choice locations, flexible schedules, and work in a variety of practice settings.

For those with a vagabond spirit, Schumacher Group and Hospital Physician Partners offer a program — the Ambassador Travel Team (ATT) — that may be the perfect fit. The program is available for any physician. Recently, we’ve had a strong interest from residents who are looking to travel in their career and we’d like to address the...

Read the full article

What's New with the Flu for 2015-16; Facts, Figures, and Recommendations

SG Medical Executive Council

It's that time of year again — flu season. Even though overall seasonal influenza activity remains low across the United States, it's never too early to be thinking about what's to come.

Here are seven facts, figures, and recommendations supplied by CDC and other sources that provide insight into what health care professionals can expect this season.

1. People Visiting Health Care Providers Below Baseline

For the week ending October 31 (the latest data available), the proportion of people seeing their health care provider for influenza-like illness (ILI) is 1.4 percent and remains below the national baseline of 2.1 percent. All ten U.S. regions reported ILI activity below region-specific baseline levels.

2. Influenza A Most Frequently Reported Type

The most frequently identified influenza virus type reported by public health laboratories during the week ending October 31 was...

Read the full article

ICD-10 One Month In: Where We Are Now

SG Medical Executive Council

Now that we're about one month into the throes of ICD-10 with all the specificity it requires, we thought it worthwhile to check in with some of those responsible for its implementation and administration, to assess the progress being made and the challenges that remain in completing the transition.

To that end, we held a panel discussion with four key stakeholders:

  • Theresa Arceneaux, Director of Coding and Quality Services;
  • Kristi Bradley, Sr. Vice President, Revenue Cycle Systems & Pre-billing Operations;
  • Laura Steinkraus, Vice President Revenue Cycle Systems;
  • Amy Kurowski, Director Documentation Assurance and Provider Education.

Here is what each had to say.

Theresa Arceneaux

"We, along with other departments, have been preparing for ICD-10 since 2012," Arceneaux said. "Now that we're into it, the major change from a coding standpoint is the need for greater specificity,...

Read the full article

Reinventing the Two-Midnight Rule

Robert Wagner, MD, Partner at Subsidium Healthcare, SG's wholly-owned consulting practice

On October 30, 2015, CMS released updates to the Two-Midnight rule. CMS goes on to state that the changes are representative of their long-standing emphasis on the importance of a physician’s medical judgment in meeting the needs of Medicare beneficiaries.

CY 2016 OPPS final rule:

  • Maintains the benchmark established by the original Two Midnight rule, but permits greater flexibility for determining when an admission that does not meet the benchmark should nonetheless be payable under Part A on a case-by-case basis.
  • Shifts the enforcement of Two Midnight Rule from MACs to Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs)

So for stays expected to last less than two midnights

  • And if it’s a procedure that is not on the inpatient-only list or otherwise listed as a national exception, an inpatient admission may be payable under Medicare Part A on a case-by-case basis based on the...
Read the full article

There’s More to Breast Cancer Awareness Than Wearing Pink; 5 Steps to Take

SG Medical Executive Council

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM), and we felt a responsibility to shine a spotlight on the disease, to apprise women of the steps they should take to reduce their risks.

This time of year, many people are sporting pink ribbons, t-shirts, scarves, hats, and other gear. In fact, we wouldn't be surprised to find ER doctors and nurses donning pink scrubs!

There is much more to breast cancer awareness than wearing pink, however.

Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, which means there is a continued need to promote awareness and educate women about the steps they can (and should) take to reduce the likelihood of being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Here are five of the most important:

1. Get a Mammogram

One of the best ways for a woman to find out if she has breast cancer is with a mammogram. Current evidence...

Read the full article

SG Telehospitalist Program: A Clinical Strategist’s Perspective

SG Medical Executive Council with perspective from Dianne Bowers, Vice President of Clinical Strategy

Dianne Bowers, RN, MSN, APRN, FNPDianne Bowers, RN, MSN, APRN, vice-president of clinical strategy, has been with Schumacher Group for ten years. As part of the Innovations project group led by Dr. Randy Pilgrim, she helped implement one of our most significant clinical strategy advancements to date: the Telehospitalist Program.

Here is her perspective on the program — where it currently stands, how doctors and patients are responding, and its future where Schumacher Group is concerned.

Telehospitalist Program Background

"As the Innovations group looked forward into what's next in health care we considered different ways to improve the quality of patient care and provide greater access to care," Bowers said. "We recognized that smaller to medium volume community hospitals needed specialty care — hospital medicine specifically. That provided the impetus for the development of the Telehospitalist Program,...

Read the full article

Schumacher Group: A Clinical Service Partner, Not Just an Emergency Room Staffing Company

Business Development Department with commentary from Steve Ditto, Chief Business Development Officer

The changing health care landscape has put hospitals under enormous pressure to provide high quality, affordable care while, at the same time, keeping reimbursements from continuing a downward slide.

Hospitals are looking to their EM and HM providers for help but require more than the typical emergency room staffing company can offer. Instead, what hospitals call for are clinical service partners — companies willing to invest in the people, processes, technology, data, and innovation to ensure a high standard of care that puts patients’ needs first.

How SG Is Addressing The Need

“With ACA reforms accelerating the focus on incentivizing hospitals to deliver high quality, affordable care, our clients now have higher expectations,” said Steven Ditto, chief business development officer for Schumacher Group. “No longer are they looking for just a staffing...

Read the full article

SG Launches Significant Advancement in Telehealth

Rich D'Amaro, Chief Executive Officer

In order for Schumacher Group to be the Client Service Partner of choice, we need to do two things. First, we get the fundamentals right. Next, we need to be strategic and innovative – for our clients, for our providers and for our patients. 

SG has developed a focused, forward-thinking Clinical Strategy that drives the outcomes we want for our patients, and that Strategy includes several innovations. On October 1st, SG implemented one of our most significant advancements to date. 

Dr. Glenn Figueroa working the first telehospitalist shift

So, it is with great excitement to announce the successful launch of SG’s first telemedicine program. Our telemedicine offering is a Telehospitalist Program which provides remote hospital medicine services to two hospitals in Louisiana. Prior to the implementation of SG’s TeleHospitalist Program, neither of these two hospitals had a hospital medicine program. They relied solely...

Read the full article


Fetching more posts...