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HRET to Help Hospitals Reach Safety Goals
The Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET), an affiliate of the American Hospital Association, announced this month that it won a contract from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to support the national Partnership for Patients campaign, which aims to reduce patient harm and readmissions. HRET will use webinars and other training resources to help hospitals implement best practices. Thus far, nearly 2,000 hospitals have been recruited for the campaign.

Don Berwick Ends Tenure at CMS
Don Berwick, M.D., stepped down as CMS administrator this month. In an interview with Kaiser Health News, Berwick called U.S. health care broken. "We have set up a delivery system that is fragmented, unsafe, not patient-centered, full of waste and unreliable," he said. "Despite the best efforts of the workforce, we built it wrong. It isn't built for modern times." Efforts to reform payment and delivery models under the Affordable Care Act should help, he said, but perhaps not quickly enough to stave off those calling for more wholesale changes to the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Medicare to Free Up Claims Database for Physician Ratings
Early this month, the federal government announced that it will—for the first time—give employers, insurance companies, and consumer groups access to Medicare's extensive claims database to produce ratings on individual physicians. The billing records will enable analysis of information such as how often physicians perform particular procedures and how often their patients experience preventable complications. There are some limits on the use of the data, most notably that individual providers have the right to review their information before it is publicly released, and 60 days to challenge it.

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