Health Information Management

News: Important change impacts all CDI programs that review mortality charts

CDI Strategies, January 5, 2012

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CDI specialists that incorporate quality measures review in their duties take note: The Joint Commission on Dec. 16 updated its Specifications Manual for National Hospital Inpatient Quality Measures. Effective for discharges July 1, 2012, patients documented as receiving “Palliative Care” and “Palliative Measures” will not be excluded from quality improvement measures.

Release Notes version 4.1 of the Specifications Manual states:
Since palliative care is increasingly being offered as a care program provided with curative treatment, patients should not be excluded from quality improvement measures because they enter a palliative care program.
Patients who receive palliative care are currently excluded from certain quality measures. CDI specialists should query for documentation of the term “comfort care,” when appropriate, to ensure that these types of patients are properly excluded.
Note that comfort care “includes attention to the psychological and spiritual needs of the patient and support for the dying patient and the patient's family. Comfort Measures Only are not equivalent to the following: Do Not Resuscitate (DNR), living will, no code, no heroic measure,” according to the Specifications Manual.
Visit the Joint Commission web site to download the latest Specifications Manual.
Editor’s Note: This information was provided courtesy of Cheryl Ericson, MS, RN, manager of Clinical Documentation Integrity and core measures abstraction for the Medical University of South Carolina and a member of the ACDIS Advisory Board.

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