Thursday, June 5, 2014

June Med School Café - Sudden Cardiac Death in Athletes and the Screening Controversy

The June Med School Café lecture will feature Dr. Lynn Batten, director of the division of pediatric cardiology at the University of South Alabama.

Her lecture, titled “Sudden Cardiac Death in Athletes and the Screening Controversy,” will take place June 19, 2014, at the USA Faculty Club on USA’s main campus. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m., and the presentation begins at noon.

During the talk, Dr. Batten will discuss cardiac arrest in young athletes. According to Dr. Batten, a young athlete dies of sudden cardiac arrest every three days. Current screening techniques for athletes consist of a physical exam and a questionnaire aimed at asking about important family history or symptoms associated with exercise, but the screenings do not include electrocardiograms (EKG) or echocardiograms (echo). Dr. Batten will review the most common causes of sudden cardiac death and why there is controversy over current screening recommendations.

The Med School Café lecture and lunch are provided free of charge, but reservations are required. For more information or to make reservations, call Kim Partridge at (251) 460-7770 or e-mail

Med School Café is a free community lecture series sponsored by the USA Physicians Group. Each month, faculty from the USA College of Medicine share their expertise on a specific medical condition, providing insight on the latest treatment available.
Dr Batten MSC Teaser from USA Health System on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Dr. Jessica Kirk Receives Board Certification

Dr. Jessica Kirk, an emergency room physician at the University of South Alabama’s Children’s and Women’s Hospital, recently received board certification in child abuse pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics.

The certification will enable Dr. Kirk to better serve as a courtroom witness for cases on child sexual/physical abuse cases. There are only two other pediatricians in Alabama who hold this subspecialty certification. Dr. Kirk is the only certified physician in the Gulf Coast region. 

Retirement Reception Honors Patsy Kennedy

The USA Health Services Foundation recently held a retirement reception honoring Patsy Kennedy for approximately 30 years of dedicated service to the USA Health System. The reception was held May 29, 2014, at USA Children's & Women's Hospital in the Administrative Board Room.

Kennedy's career has included service to USA as a Clinical Manager of USA OB/GYN, Nurse Practitioner for USA Student Health and Manager of Staff Development for USA Health Services Foundation.

Becky Tate, chief executive officer of the University of South Alabama Health Services Foundation, said Kennedy has been a great asset to the organization.

"Patsy had a strong commitment to our institution and wanted to create success for everyone around her. Her work to establish and formalize the training and development program for all HSF staff, as well as her efforts to improve the quality care we provide in our clinics through her work as a patient advocate will have a lasting impact," said Tate. "She will be missed, but we wish her well in her retirement."

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Providers Thanked for their Work on Physicians Quality Reporting System

Physicians listen as Billing and Coding Specialist Sherryle Givens speaks May 15, 2014, during a brown bag lunch at the USA Family Medicine Clinic. The lunch was held to thank the providers for their work on the Physicians Quality Reporting System. PQRS is a Medicare quality care initiative focused on primary care services provided to Medicare Part B Fee for Service and Railroad Beneficiaries. Beginning in 2013, reporting on select PQRS quality measures became mandatory for large group practices of 100 or more providers.
University of South Alabama Health Services Foundation's Office of Compliance recently met with USA's Stanton Road, Family Medicine, and University Physician's Group clinical staffs to thank providers for their work on the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and to present their quality measures data for last year.|

PQRS is a Medicare quality care initiative focused on primary care services provided to Medicare Part B Fee for Service and Railroad Beneficiaries. Beginning in 2013, reporting on select PQRS quality measures became mandatory for large group practices with more than 100 providers – such as USA Physicians Group.

Implementation of quality reporting programs such as this one represent a rapidly increasing trend of insurers trying to ensure patients get high quality care. The information from this initiative in particular will be publicly reported on the Physician Compare website with the expectation that patients will be able to select a provider based on quality.

“USA Physicians Group was successful in reporting the required data for 22 measures based on Medicare services provided through our clinics for 2013,” said Sherryle Givens, coding/compliance nurse specialist at USA. “Although the reporting process was completed by the compliance department, primary clinic providers are to be applauded for their efforts to ensure the individual measures were met in their provision of quality care.”

There are more than 200 quality measures to choose from, but providers reporting as a group practice have a required subset of 22. These include:
12 disease-specific provision-of-care and outcome indicators focused on diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, ischemic vascular disease, and heart failure;
2 patient safety measures - screening for fall risk and medication reconciliation following hospital discharge; and
8 preventive-care measures - flu and pneumococcal vaccinations and screening for breast and colorectal cancer, BMI, hypertension, tobacco use, and depression.

Due to efforts to comply with the PQRS initiative, USA Physicians Group earned a $25,000 incentive and avoided $125,000 in penalties tied to this program.