Category Archives: Hospital News

Medicare Cuts payments to 721 hospitals with highest rates of infections, injuries

Share

Physician and Nurse Pushing Gurney

By Jordan Rau
KHN

In its toughest crackdown yet on medical errors, the federal government is cutting payments to 721 hospitals for having high rates of infections and other patient injuries, records released Thursday show.

Medicare assessed these new penalties against some of the most renowned hospitals in the nation, including the Cleveland Clinic, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa.

One out of every seven hospitals in the nation will have their Medicare payments lowered by 1 percent over the fiscal year that began Oct. 1 and continues through September 2015. The health law mandates the reductions for the quarter of hospitals that Medicare assessed as having the highest rates of “hospital-acquired conditions,” or HACs.

These conditions include infections from catheters, blood clots, bed sores and other complications that are considered avoidable.

The penalties, which are estimated to total $373 million, are falling particularly hard on academic medical centers: Roughly half of them will be punished, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis.

Continue reading

Share

How safe are outpatient surgery centers?

Share

Popularity Of Outpatient Surgery Centers Leads To Questions About Safety

Woman_doctor_surgeonBy By Sandra G. Boodman
KHN and Washington Post

Wendy Salo was alarmed when she learned where her doctor had scheduled her gynecologic operation: at an outpatient surgery center.

“My first thought was ‘Am I not important enough to go to a real hospital?’ ” recalled Salo, 48, a supermarket department manager who said she felt “very trepidatious” about having her ovaries removed outside a hospital.

Before the Sept. 30 procedure, Salo drove 20 miles from her home in Germantown, Md., to the Massachusetts Avenue Surgery Center in Bethesda for a tour. Her fears were allayed, she said, by the facility’s cleanliness and its empathic staff.

Salo later joked that the main difference between the multi-specialty center and Shady Grove Adventist Hospital — where she underwent breast cancer surgery last year — was that the former had “better parking.”

Salo’s initial concerns mirror questions about the safety of outpatient surgery centers that have mushroomed since the highly publicized death of Joan Rivers.

The 81-year-old comedian died Sept. 4 after suffering brain damage while undergoing routine throat procedures at Yorkville Endoscopy, a year-old free-standing center located in Manhattan.

Federal officials who investigated Rivers’ death, which has been classified by the medical examiner as a “therapeutic complication,” found numerous violations at the accredited clinic, including:

  • a failure to notice or take action to correct Rivers’ deteriorating vital signs for 15 minutes;
  • a discrepancy in the medical record about the amount of anesthesia she received;
  • an apparent failure to weigh Rivers, a critical factor in calculating an anesthesia dose;
  • and the performance of a procedure to which Rivers had not given written consent.

In addition, one of the procedures was performed by a doctor who was not credentialed by the center.

Continue reading

Share

Boeing, Starbucks demand and get better healthcare for their workers – LA Times

Share

starbucks-logoSeattle’s big companies have pushed local hospitals and doctors to meet the kinds of rigorous standards they use to build airplanes or brew coffee, reports The Los Angeles Times. Also in the news are a look at the SHOP exchanges for small businesses and the rate increases some of those employers are facing.

Where employers use quality control to shape healthcare – LA Times.

Share

King County man found not to have Ebola, released from hospital

Share

Map of SeattleThe King County resident who had been tested for Ebola has been found not does not have the virus, according to the results from the Washington State Public Health Laboratory, Public Health – Seattle and King County said Monday.

The man had developed a fever and a sore throat after traveling in the West African nation of Mali and had been admitted to UW Medicine’s Harborview Medical Center for evaluation. By late Sunday afternoon, his symptoms had improved and he was able to go home.

Following the CDC’s protocol for anyone arriving from Mali, his health will continue to be actively monitored by our Communicable Disease and Epidemiology staff until he has cleared the time frame in which Ebola could develop.

Learn more about Ebola: www.kingcounty.gov/health/Ebola

Share

King County man tests negative for Ebola

Share

Map of SeattleA King County man who developed fever after returning to the area from Mali has tested negative for Ebola, Public Health – Seattle & King County health officials said Sunday.

The man who also had a sore throat — but none of the of symptoms typical of Ebola infection —  was admitted to UW Medicine’s Harborview Medical Center for evaluation.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends close monitoring of anyone with fever and other symptoms of Ebola who has recently travelled in Ebola-affected countries. Mali has had only 8 cases of the disease.

Here’s the announcement from Public Health – Seattle & King County:

Continue reading

Share

Cambia gives its largest grant ever to UW Medicine: $10 million for palliative care – Puget Sound Business Journal

Share
Dr. Randy Curtis, right, director of the UW Palliative Care Center of Excellence.

Dr. Randy Curtis, right, director of the UW Palliative Care Center of Excellence.

The grant is Cambia’s largest ever given to any organization and will come in four separate parts, creating three endowments totaling $8 million and $2 million dedicated to immediately improving care at the center.

via Cambia gives its largest grant ever to UW Medicine: $10 million for palliative care – Puget Sound Business Journal.

Share

A Comparison of Hospital Administrative Costs in Eight Nations: U.S. Costs Exceed All Others by Far – The Commonwealth Fund

Share

hospital magnify thumbnailAdministrative costs account for 25 percent of total U.S. hospital spending, according to a new study that compares these costs across eight nations. The United States had the highest administrative costs; Scotland and Canada had the lowest. Reducing U.S. per capita spending for hospital administration to Scottish or Canadian levels would have saved more than $150 billion in 2011.

via A Comparison of Hospital Administrative Costs in Eight Nations: U.S. Costs Exceed All Others by Far – The Commonwealth Fund.

Share

Humana and Multicare launch accountable care program

Share

image003MultiCare Health System and Humana Inc. will launch a new accountable care partnership for Humana’s Medicare Advantage members in South King County and Pierce County, the companies announced this week.

Accountable care partnership will provide Humana membership with more coordinated care that will emphasize preventive services, the companies said.

Humana offers Medicare Advantage HMO plans, a prescription drug plan and Medicare supplement policies to Medicare recipients in the Tacoma area.

MultiCare is made up of five hospitals including Allenmore HospitalAuburn Medical CenterGood Samaritan HospitalMary Bridge Children’s Hospital and Tacoma General Hospital as well as outpatient specialty centers, primary and urgent care clinics.

The not-for-profit health care organization has more than 10,500 employees and a comprehensive network of services throughout Pierce, South King, Thurston and Kitsap counties.

Humana aims to work closely with doctors and hospitals through its Accountable Care Continuum, the companies said.

For a Primer on Accountable Care Organizations go here.

Share

Fred Hutch recruits D. Gary Gilliland as its new president and director

Share

1416499943573Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center announced today that it has named an expert in cancer genetics and precision medicine. D. Gary Gilliland, M.D., Ph.D., a physician-scientist with a background in academic medicine and the pharmaceutical industry, as its new president and director. Gilliland will take the helm as Fred Hutch’s new leader on Jan. 2.

via Fred Hutch recruits D. Gary Gilliland as its new president and director.

Share

Eight Washington hospitals identified for Ebola care

Share

ebolaAlthough all hospitals in the state are making plans to rapidly identify, isolate and safely evaluate people with suspected Ebola, eight hospitals are preparing to care for a person with Ebola for the duration of the illness.

These are:

  • CHI Franciscan Health (Harrison Medical Center – Bremerton campus),
  • MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital,
  • Providence Regional Medical Center Everett,
  • Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children’s Hospital in Spokane,
  • Seattle Children’s Hospital,
  • Swedish Medical Center (Issaquah),
  • Virginia Mason Hospital, and
  • UW Medicine (Harborview Medical Center, UW Medical Center, Valley Medical Center)

“The chance of a confirmed case of Ebola in Washington is very low, but in the event it happens we want to be sure we have the capacity to provide ongoing care to a patient,” said Dr. Kathy Lofy, state Health Officer. “Patients with Ebola can become critically ill and require intensive care therapy. Care needs to be delivered using strict infection control practices. We are working with each of the committed hospitals to ensure we are coordinated and thorough in our response.” Continue reading

Share

HIV clinic in Federal Way to increase treatment access for patients

Share

UW Federal WayFrom the Washington State Department of Health

The Department of Health is funding a new HIV satellite clinic in Federal Way.

It’s the fourth department-funded satellite clinic aimed at improving access to primary medical care for HIV-positive people in Puget Sound.

The satellite clinic operates through a partnership with Harborview Medical Center’s Madison Clinic.

A Harborview physician will be available every Thursday at the UW-Neighborhood Clinic in Federal Way to provide care to HIV patients living in Federal Way and nearby communities.

The department is giving Harborview $42,000 to cover the physician’s time and the costs of administering the services. The clinic opened Oct. 9, 2014.

Earlier satellite clinics opened in Everett, Bremerton and Olympia (in partnership with SeaMar Community Health Center).

The state health department estimates that there are as many as 2,365 people living with HIV in the southern King County and Pierce County areas. Continue reading

Share

UW takes first big step toward expanded medical school, leases Spokane building – Puget Sound Business Journal

Share

UW wsuLeasing a new building will in Spokane will “help UW expand its medical school program in Spokane. The school’s plans to grow have been a point of contention over the last year as Washington State University also announced plans to start the state’s second publicly-funded medical school in Spokane.

via UW takes first big step toward expanded medical school, leases Spokane building – Puget Sound Business Journal.

Share

Hospitals take cues from the hospitality industry

Share

November 4, 2014

This KHN story also ran in The Washington Post.

Two years ago, Inova Health System recruited a top executive who was not a physician, had never worked in hospital administration and barely knew the difference between Medicare and Medicaid.

What Paul Westbrook specialized in was customer service. His background is in the hotel business – Marriott and The Ritz-Carlton, to be precise.

He is one of dozens of hospital executives around the country with a new charge. Called chief patient experience officers, their focus is on the service side of hospital care: improving communication with patients and making sure staff are attentive to their needs, whether that’s more face time with nurses or quieter hallways so they can sleep.

It’s a dimension of hospital care that has long been neglected, patient advocates say, and it was put high on hospitals’ agendas only when Medicare started tracking patient satisfaction and, in late 2012, shaving payments to hospitals that fell short.

The hospitals are judged on answers to such questions as how well their doctors and nurses communicated with them, how clean and quiet the hospital was, whether they received help when they needed it and how well providers explained the drugs they were given.

“There is a new recognition that the patient is important,” said Leah Binder, president and chief executive of the Leapfrog Group, an employer-based coalition that advocates for greater health-care quality and safety.

Hospital routines have traditionally been designed to suit employees, not customers, she said. “The patient used to be maybe 10th on the list of a hospital’s priorities.” Continue reading

Share

Atlanta hospital staff trained for years to prepare to patients with highly infections diseases

Share
Amber Vinson was joined on the stage by Emory University Hospital team members who helped her recover from Ebola virus disease. Photo by Jack Kearse.

Amber Vinson was joined on the stage by Emory University Hospital team members who helped her recover from Ebola virus disease. Photo by Jack Kearse.

By Jim Burress, WABE
October 29, 2014

This story is part of a partnership that includes WABE, NPR and Kaiser Health News.

It was July 30th when Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital got the first call.

An American doctor who’d been treating Ebola in Liberia was now, himself, terribly sick with the virus.

In just 72 hours, Dr. Kent Brantly came through Emory’s doors. Then, almost immediately, the staff learned a second Ebola patient was on the way.

Emory’s plan to treat patients who have diseases like Ebola actually began 12 years ago.

Dr. Jay Varkey’s first thought was, “What do we need today, in order to care for these patients tomorrow?”

In the three months since, Emory has treated four Ebola patients. All survived. Dallas nurse Amber Vinson spent more than a week at a special treatment unit at Emory before being discharged in good health and good spirits Tuesday. Continue reading

Share

Health news headlines – October 24th

Share

Silhouettes of U.S. Soldiers at night in Iraq

Share