The Direct Dispatch
A Newsletter For Healthcare Providers

January 2019

Happy New Year! Read below for this month's exciting news from Direct Difference, Inc!
Medicare Re-admissions Project Tied To Higher Mortality Rates
Implementation of the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program was followed by higher mortality rates for Medicare patients with heart failure and pneumonia, but not heart attack, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study was based on data for 8 million Medicare hospitalizations for the three conditions.

Next-Gen ACOs Saved $129M in 2017
Health care providers participating in the Medicare Next Generation accountable care program earned an average of $3.3 million each and saved a combined $129 million in 2017, according to the CMS. The results might encourage the CMS to expand the model from a demonstration project and invite more providers to participate, says David Muhlestein, chief research officer at Leavitt Partners.

Quality Reporting Center
Inpatient :

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)/The Joint Commission Specifications Manual for National Hospital Inpatient Quality Measures, version 5.6, for the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) Program, has been posted to QualityNet ( ). Version 5.6 of the manual is for implementation with cute inpatient discharges from July 1, 2019, through December 31, 2019. Updates have been made based on ongoing alignment discussions between CMS and The Joint Commission.


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Hospital Inpatient Value, Incentives, and Quality Reporting (VIQR) Outreach and Education Support Contractor (SC) announce the availability of updated resources for Inpatient Psychiatric Facility Quality Reporting (IPFQR) Program participants.

The  IPFQR Program Manual  provides a comprehensive overview of the IPFQR Program and measure specifications. The  IPFQR Program Paper Tools provide an optional, informal abstraction mechanism to assist IPFs in the collection of data for the IPFQR Program.

All of the resources mentioned above are located on the  IPFQR Program Resources and Tools  webpage of the  Quality Reporting Center   website. These resources will be available on the  IPFQR Program Resources page of the  QualityNet  website at a later date.


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released topic-specific documents pertaining to universal (alphabetical) abstraction and the CMS Abstraction and Reporting Tool (CART). These documents will be effective for January 1 through June 30, 2019 discharges.

Separate documents are provided for the following:
·         Universal (Alphabetical) Abstraction Paper Tools, where the data elements are arranged in alphabetical order, rather than tool-specific order

·         CART Abstraction Paper Tools, where the data elements are arranged in CART order

These documents are available on  QualityNet  at  by selecting the  [Hospitals­­-Inpatient]  tab; the  [Data Collection (& CART)]  link; the  [Abstraction Resources]  link; the  [For Discharges 01/01/2019–06/30/2019] link in the Guidelines drop-down box; and then the Go button.

Outpatient :

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has determined that an addendum to the Hospital Outpatient Quality Reporting (OQR) Program Specifications Manual version 11.0b  is required for encounters beginning  January 1, 2018 – December 31, 2018 .

A complete list of the Specifications Manual changes may be found in the Release Notes  Version 11.0b. The  version   11.0b Addendum  may be accessed at . Select the Hospitals – Outpatient tab > Specifications Manual > and then  version 11.0b  in the table.
How Else Can Direct Difference Inc Help You?
Measuring quality is necessary for improving healthcare. We understand that when providers are overly consumed with measuring and reporting quality metrics, it is difficult to actually apply results and focus on actions that lead to real improvements.

Why not smart source all of your data abstraction needs so that it is done better, faster, more consistently, and at lower cost with less risk?

Did you know we provide abstraction services for core measures, non-core measures, registry, OPPE-FPPE, NHSN, peer review, pharmaceutical studies and others? If you have any data abstraction needs please contact us for more information. All you have to do is respond to this email to get started.

You can also visit our website for more information!
NCDR Learning Center
Prepare for the launch of the Chest Pain – MI Registry version 3, coming in early 2019, with a new course in the NCDR Learning Center. The free course,  Chest Pain – MI Registry Introduction to Version 3 , will help participants become familiar with the scope of the version 3 dataset, available resources and the details involved with all aspects of data abstraction. Participants will learn to:

  • Capture complete Chest Pain – MI Registry version 3 data per each patient population and apply randomized sampling methodology consistently;
  • Submit complete and accurate data using the version 3 dataset and selected data submission options; and
  • Streamline data abstraction by implementing data collection tool special features and interoperability between NCDR programs.

To get started, login to  NCDR , click on "Resources" in the left menu, and then click on "Learning Center." 
Better Patient Outcomes Through ACC's Quality Improvement Programs
Find out how the Chest Pain – MI Registry, ACC's Chest Pain Center Accreditation and Patient Navigator: Focus MI work together to improve patient care in a  feature article  from the November/December issue of Cardiology Interventions magazine. Read how three hospitals have used these quality improvement programs to implement evidence-based best practices that lead to better outcomes while patients are in the hospital and then help patients make the transition back home. 

Advancing Care With IT

South Korea-based JLK Inspection is launching the AIHuB artificial intelligence-based medical imaging diagnostics platform for detection and monitoring of over 30 conditions from 14 areas of the body. The platform combines CT, MRI, mammography imagery and X-ray with an AI-enabled technology.

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