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Reform requires shift in board approach to quality oversight

Under the new health care reform legislation, clinical integration – the seamless interplay of facilities, professionals, services, and health information – is key, underscoring the importance of systems-based health care.  Hospital boards, with their oversight responsibility for quality of care, must begin to shift their focus from monitoring individual providers or operating units to ensuring that the entire service continuum is operating in top form.  The price for not doing so will be felt as reimbursement penalties for under-performance come online over the course of the next few years.

The American Health Lawyers Association’s Quality in Action Task Force has published some preliminary work from a forthcoming toolkit that covers the following areas:

  • board leadership
  • collection and use of quality data
  • assessing providers’ performance
  • quality oversight outside the hospital

The article also provides some overview of legal and operational challenges

  • integrating the medical and executive functions
  • legal liability for restricting providers’ practice
  • peer review

The proposed toolkit, Quality in Action: Paradigm for a Hospital Board-Driven Quality Program, will be available through AHLA’s Public Information Series at http://www.healthlawyers.org/Resources/PI/InfoSeries/Pages/default.aspx.


Source: Belmont, Elisabeth, and others.  A new quality compass: hospital boards’ increased role under the Affordable Care Act.  Health Affairs.  30(7):1282-1289, July 2011.   http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/30/7/1282.abstract (subscription or purchase access only)


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