Skip to main content
Off canvas

HealthInsight Blog

 
Jackie Buttaccio is the Quality Improvement Director in HealthInsight Nevada.  She manages all projects and contracts under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Quality Improvement Organization work and other contracts in Nevada operations. Ms. Buttaccio ensures quality improvement projects are developed and implemented with distinction, meeting all contract requirements, while fulfilling and supporting the vision of HealthInsight. Currently, Ms. Buttaccio is leading efforts in a statewide initiative aimed to reduce 30-day hospital readmissions by igniting change in the provider and health care communities throughout the state of Nevada.

The Power of Love

young hands holding older hand

Last month we lost two classics from the silver screen – Ms. Debbie Reynolds and her daughter Carrie Fischer. Their deaths came just one day apart when Ms. Reynolds died from what many have declared as broken heart syndrome, after suddenly losing her daughter the day before. Ms. Fischer, profoundly known as Princess Leia from the epic Star Wars film series, followed in her mothers' footsteps most of her life and just like her mother, she landed in the movie business before the age of 20. Both of these women left behind tremendous legacies and have amazing personal stories filled with both joy and triumph. As the world learned about Carrie's untimely death, just hours later came the news of her mothers' collapse. Carrie Fischer and Debbie Reynolds will always be remembered for their talent and iconic roles in some of Hollywood's finest movies, and their deaths will forever remain synonymous.

Wait a minute, let's back this up. Dying of broken heart syndrome? Is that a real thing? Is it truly possible for somebody to die from a broken heart? As is turns out, yes, there is real evidence that you can die from a broken heart, and in fact, it makes perfect sense. Grief is similar to other powerful emotions such as anger, anxiety or loneliness, which are all just different forms of stress. Stress has a powerful impact on our health, especially the health of our heart. According to the American Psychological Association, stress is a complicated condition that has a huge negative effect on our bodies and almost always manifests itself in physical symptoms. Additionally, and not surprisingly, we understand anger has a direct connection with increased risk of cardiovascular problems. When we see somebody expressing and venting a lot of anger we might think, "Man, this guy's going to have a heart attack!" Grief is really no different. The Mayo Clinic describes broken heart syndrome as a "temporary disruption of your heart's normal pumping function in one area of the heart ... which may be caused by the heart's reaction to a surge of stress hormones."

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
780 Hits
0 Comments

Trouble with the Curve

Father and child playing baseball

My father raised me to have a love for baseball. He made sure I knew each of the Los Angeles Dodgers by name and jersey number, and by the age of seven, he made sure I could play the game. When I was first learning we never bothered with the tee; he would pitch to me and coach me after every swing. He pitched and I swung until I was a master—or until we were hungry. I remember I always had trouble with the curve ball. I could play first base, shortstop, I could bunt, even hit a home run or two, but getting a hit off a curve ball never made the list.

Recently I attended the American Healthcare Quality Association Quality Summit in Baltimore, Maryland, situated directly next door to the home of the Baltimore Orioles, Camden Yards. It's a beautiful stadium that can be seen from the conference hall with many conference attendees catching an Orioles game at the end of their day. Over the years I've attended a number of these conferences and have seen the stadium from the inside, but this year was different. As usual, the conference provided hours upon hours of sitting and information overload, but this year instead of being encouraged to do more, achieve more, and be more—we were encouraged to get comfortable working in difficult circumstances. Let there be no mistake, achieving more was still the goal – that had not changed. What was different was the idea that we can't get into the 'green' unless we can first be comfortable in the 'red'. For a moment it felt as though my father was still standing at the pitcher's mound and I was at bat attempting to hit that curve ball. As speakers from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) greeted the audience and set the stage for years to come, they asked us to pause and find comfort in discomfort - to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Not one but three CMS senior executives shared their personal stories of failure and how the transparency of their momentary lack of success encouraged them to learn more – faster.

As I sat there and listened I realized how uncomfortable I was just sitting there! How would I bring this back to my team? For years we've used the familiar 'green, yellow, red' color coding in our performance dashboards to provide quick and intuitive displays of progress (or lack thereof). Suffice it to say, the red was not a place we wanted to be. We did everything to avoid the red. Green was clearly the most desirable form of progress and yellow, while not red, was still a bit scary and safe at the same time. And then it hit me. The closer to red we were, the more creative we became. It wasn't as if our team couldn't manage failure – sure we could, we have. Instead, we were being asked to recognize that it is in time of struggle where we find our true potential. It is where we find sustainability. It is where we should be asking ourselves, "What is good about this seemingly bad situation?"

I left happy to take this refreshing perspective back to my team and wondered if they would be as surprised to hear it from me as I was to hear it from CMS. I know one thing for certain, I may still have trouble with the curve in terms of baseball pitches, but I think this curve ball might just be a home run.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
1249 Hits
1 Comment

Will, Ideas and Execution: A recipe for change

Change letters

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of attending the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Quality Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. This annual conference held in the inner harbor and heart of Baltimore, is where quality professionals and CMS contractors from all over the country gather every year for three days to learn from experts in the field and to join together as colleagues, all pursuing the same vision; improved health of our population, improved delivery of care and smarter spending of health care dollars. On the final day of the conference attendees had the great pleasure of hearing from one of the most widely recognized individuals of health care improvement, Dr. Donald Berwick. Dr. Berwick shared stories of how change and improvement in the health care system have impacted everyday people in our local communities and shared his personal experience working as the administrator of CMS in 2012 and how CMS' commitment to value-based care is a pivotal, unprecedented and necessary shift in the evolution of the Medicare program.

Dr. Berwick framed his presentation on the need for change using three simple words: will, ideas and execution. One must first have the will or desire to change. One must also have an idea or thought about the change. And finally, one must act or do something to create that change. Dr. Berwick spoke of this basic principle and how all change ever takes is these three elements, and that all great improvements start and end with this key principle.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
2202 Hits
0 Comments

Building a High-Rise One Conversation at a Time

Board Meeting

I recently had an interesting conversation with my husband about discipline and not in the way you might think. Thankfully, our two boys are now young adults and no longer need much guidance. Instead, we spoke about how good communication requires discipline.

My husband has been a plumbing contractor for 30 years and has served on many new high-rise construction teams where disciplined communication is not only critical, it's valued. One of his favorite projects was constructing a local high-rise, known as Mandarin Oriental, a CityCenter hotel with residential condominiums on the Las Vegas Strip, and it wouldn't be standing today if it weren't for the disciplined communication between him and the hundreds of other men and women who helped build it.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
3135 Hits
0 Comments

Seemingly Insignificant Moments that Change the World

Mother and Daughter

I recently had the pleasure of being a member of the audience for a presentation by David Farrell, an acknowledged nursing home administrator (NHA), author, educator, leader and all-around good guy. He shared his experience working as an NHA in downtown Oakland, California, and how he slowly turned an inner city nursing facility from a consistently poor performer to one that staff and families could be proud of calling their own. What's even more impressive is the sustainability he achieved. Although I hear he visits often, years have passed since David was employed at this facility; yet many of the same staff members are still there, and performance in quality measures remains high. So what was David's secret? Did he have a special talent? A secret recipe? As it turns out, it was the simple things combined with a change in focus, and perhaps a bit of bravery as well. It was one small act followed by another and yet another, with a complete shift in what he paid attention to. Slowly, over time, he seemed to move mountains. Below is an excerpt from his book, Meeting the Leadership Challenge in Long Term Care: What You Do Matters:

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
4322 Hits
0 Comments

Working With, Not For, Patients May Improve Experience and Quality of Care

Garden Couple

I had the pleasure of attending the annual Patient and Family Centered Care conference in Los Angeles on June 16, and it provided an eye-opening experience for me. As a true "rookie" to the patient- and family-centered care arena, I was excited and passionate, and walked into the opportunity fully expecting to learn about effective strategies to engage and interact with patients, and maybe hear a few stories about systems gone bad that drove significant change.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
5579 Hits
0 Comments

Subscribe to the HealthInsight Blog