Would a HCFA by any other name still smell as sweet? "It's hard to like a HCFA," as HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson likes to say, yet there is much to dislike about the new name for the agency, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS.
What about the magic "M" that disappears when the name takes on its abbreviated form? CMS Administrator Thomas Scully said the abbreviation would be too long if the second M is included. But what of the second M? Does it signal an eventual spinoff of Medicaid into a separate agency? It would appear to be an easy task to divide Medicaid and state-based programs into an organization independent of Medicare fee-for-service and managed care.
How about the purported ampersand? Early reports of the full CMS name suggested that an ampersand would substitute for the "and" in the title. Yet in his written testimony to the Senate Finance Committee last week, Thompson spelled out the "and."
Finally, there's the issue of how to say the new agency's name. At that Finance Committee hearing, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said he planned on pronouncing the CMS as "sims." Taking his cue from Hatch, Thompson also referred to the CMS several times as "sims."
The evolution of the agency formerly known as HCFA continues. Stay tuned to Outliers for further reports.
Disney spruces up Los Angeles hospital. The word "Disneyland" is synonymous with fun and amusement for just about any kid. The word hospital is not. Strange faces, enclosed spaces and separation from loved ones all contribute to the anxiety-ridden visit.
But at the world-renowned Children's Hospital Los Angeles, a team of innovative staffers is redesigning and reinvigorating the 314-bed hospital's lobby and public spaces to make them more welcoming for young patients and their families. And they've called upon the creative minds at Disney to help them do it.
CHLA's new $67 million Marion and John E. Anderson building and pediatric surgery center features an engaging gateway lobby designed in part by Disney Imagineering, the team responsible for creating the magical look and feel of many of Disney's theme park attractions. The spacious John Stauffer Lobby, awash in color and natural light, was developed to both ease and entertain children and their caregivers before they continue though the gateway to other areas of the century-old hospital.
The lobby's "Welcome Wall" greets visitors in seven languages, and its theme, "My LA, My CHLA," is echoed throughout the gateway and adjoining hospital buildings, which display patients' artwork. In another nook of the lobby, palm tree sculptures frame a Story Corner-soon to be staffed by reading volunteers-that piques children's curiosity, as does a large aquarium filled with "HollyGuppies," a play on the famous "Hollywood" sign's iconography. Young visitors also can try their skill at interactive puzzles and computer games at two play kiosks.
"We can't take that stress away, but we're trying to make sure the environment is familiar to children, that it is comfortable and that it supports them as family members," says Mary Dee Hacker, CHLA's vice president of patient care.
Softening the HFMA's image. The CMS, formerly HCFA, isn't the only organization eager for an image makeover. The Healthcare Financial Management Association, which represents hospital bean counters, has adopted a new logo (at right) to take the hard edge off its by-the-numbers image.
The HFMA scrapped an imposing uppercase Times Roman script and adopted an all-lowercase design connoting a "softer, easier, rounder and more flexible" organization, President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Clarke announced at the HFMA's Annual National Institute in San Antonio last week. More "with-it" colors of orange and blue replace the gray and teal of the old logo, he added.
Clarke said the logo change results from a branding study that showed the 31,000-member organization is associated with words such as "reliable" and "high quality," but not "proactivity" and "adaptability." It's the latest move in the evolution of the organization, which was founded in 1946 as the American Association of Hospital Accountants.
Clarke didn't seem entirely comfortable discussing the adoption of a new marketing symbol at a news conference dominated by such serious matters as patient-friendly billing, executive salaries and a redesign of the HFMA's popular Web site.
"I'm a finance guy," Clarke told reporters. "The marketing types tell me what's happening, and I say, `OK.' "