Letter from the Editor

Our focus this month is on heart failure, the cause of more than one million U.S. hospitalizations each year, including many that experts deem preventable. This issue also includes coverage of the American Thoracic Society's annual conference.


Our focus this month is on heart failure, the cause of more than one million U.S. hospitalizations each year, including many that experts deem preventable. Stacey Butterfield's cover story looks at innovative ways to lower heart failure readmissions, which are associated not only with greater mortality risk for patients, but high costs for hospitals. Read on for expert advice on how best to handle diagnosis, treatment, care coordination and patient education, and how to help prevent a return trip to the hospital.

Heart failure is also the topic of our newly revamped coding column, penned by ACP Fellow Richard Pinson. An internist for 30 years and a certified coding specialist, Dr. Pinson will provide monthly documentation tips to help you accurately capture your patients' complexity of care—and ensure your hospital is reimbursed accordingly. As part of his column, Dr. Pinson will answer reader-submitted questions each month. If you'd like to ask him a question, please email us.

Coverage of the American Thoracic Society's annual conference starts with a story on how to avoid the potentially damaging effects of an ICU stay, and continues with a look at the dubious track record of telemedicine in the ICU. On a lighter note, second-year medical student Rachel Hammer deftly—and graphically—compares the first year of medical school to getting a colonoscopy in her column, while editorial advisor Jamie Newman takes us on a tour of the olfactory world of medicine.

We look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions for our retooled coding column, or any of our other features or departments. Look for all of our content online.

Sincerely,
Jessica Berthold
Editor, ACP Hospitalist