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Updated: 8 hours 11 min ago

HL20: Rebecca Katz—Cooking Up Sustainable Nourishment

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 08:04

Chef Rebecca Katz's life changed when her father began a battle with laryngeal cancer in 1999. That event spurred her belief that food is a key element in cancer care and her quest to change the American diet. Having cooked for various cancer patients and published a book on the topic, she promotes "sustainable nourishment as a way to improve American health."

Categories: Healthcare News

HL20: Peter Semczuk, DDS, MPH—Taking on the Big Challenges

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 08:01

Peter Semczuk, DDS, MPH, has been working in New York City for more than 20 years. In that time he has helped transform the Bronx's Montefiore Medical Center's ED into one of the most renowned in the country. As an industry leader, Montefiore has helped assist in numerous endeavors, including the development of New York state's first freestanding ED.

Categories: Healthcare News

No Boost to NFP Hospital Bond Ratings from Medicaid Expansion

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 07:56

The neutral effect of Medicaid expansion comes even though some not-for-hospitals are seeing payer mix changes that are "really extraordinary," a Standard & Poor's Ratings Services senior executive says.

Categories: Healthcare News

1 in 5 Eligible Hospitals Penalized for HACs

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 07:49

CMS unveils which hospitals are being penalized for hospital-acquired conditions and updates its Hospital Compare website.

Categories: Healthcare News

Few states score well on infection readiness

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 07:37

Despite improvements over the past 10 years, America's health system is still not ready either for infectious disease emergencies or for the day-to-day business of preventing illness, a new report says. The "troubling and persistent gaps" were laid bare by the recent cases of Ebola, according to Jeffrey Levi, PhD, executive director of the Washington-based Trust for America's Health."It was very disturbing that many of the most basic infectious disease controls failed when tested," Levi told reporters as he released Outbreaks: Protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases 2014.

Categories: Healthcare News

How the high cost of medical care is affecting Americans

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 07:35

Over the past two years, the New York Times series Paying Till It Hurts has examined the high costs of ordinary medical care in the United States, exposing the reasons and chronicling the human fallout behind the nation's extraordinary $2.9 trillion medical bill. In response, more than 10,000 readers shared individual experiences like the ones above. But how does a collection of often heartbreaking, often startling tales reflect national experiences and attitudes? The available data did not answer all of my questions. So, using reader comments as a starting point, The Times designed a questionnaire with CBS News and conducted a national poll this month.

Categories: Healthcare News

Medicare fraud scheme mastermind, doctor plead guilty

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 07:32

The organizer of a $56 million Medicare fraud conspiracy and a doctor have entered guilty pleas to health care fraud charges in federal court in New Orleans. The U.S. Department of Justice says 51-year-old Mark Morad, of Slidell, and 53-year-old Dr. Divini Luccioni, of Kenner, each pleaded guilty Wednesday before Chief U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance. Morad and Luccioni pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Morad also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to falsify records in a federal investigation. Sentencing for each is set for April 1. Authorities say Morad directed the scheme through multiple New Orleans-area companies he owned, including Interlink Health Care Services Inc., Memorial Home Health Inc., Lakeland Health Care Services Inc., Lexmark Health Care LLC, andMed Rite Pharmacy Inc.

Categories: Healthcare News

Bring in the nurses—stat

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 07:28

Some of the largest health care systems in America do not have any nurses serving on their boards of directors. That is a huge oversight, especially in a time of rapid change in health care delivery, when consumers and providers would benefit from having nurses' frontline perspective present in boardrooms as health care policy decisions are made. Last month, nurse leaders from 21 national nursing and other health-related organizations came together to change that. The nursing leaders launched the national Nurses on Boards Coalition, which has a goal to put 10,000 nurses on boards of corporate and nonprofit health care organizations by 2020.

Categories: Healthcare News

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

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 04:39

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.

Categories: Healthcare News

Home (Care) for the Holidays

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 14:02

Keeping your oldest, sickest patients at home not only enhances their dignity, but is a more cost-effective way to care for them. It could even lead to shared savings.

Categories: Healthcare News

HL20: Sam Foote, MD—The Courage to Speak Up

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 08:12

Sam Foote, MD, found himself at the center of a national scandal in 2014 after he blew the whistle on scheduling delays and other irregularities at the Phoenix VA Health Care System, where he'd worked for more than 20 years. The internist's tip sparked months of investigations, which he says, uncovered a pattern of "cheating [at VA facilities] all over the country."

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HL20: Derek Angus, MD—An Intense Focus on Care

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 08:09

Working in North Vietnam with Doctors without Borders prompted Derek C. Angus, MD, MPH, to think about how acute care systems respond to crisis. Now at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where he is chair of the department of critical care medicine, Angus says, "I'm always thinking about the marriage between the care for the critically ill and the 50,000-foot public health view."

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Meaningful Use Payment Adjustments Begin

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 08:03

"More than 50% of eligible professionals will face penalties under the Meaningful Use program in 2015, a number that is even worse than we anticipated," says the AMA's president-elect.

Categories: Healthcare News

Lessons from an outbreak: How Ebola shaped 2014

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 07:46

This was the year of the biggest Ebola outbreak of all time. It started in Guinea at the tail end of 2013, and the World Health Organization was made aware of it in March 2014, by which time Guinea had 86 cases, and there were suspected cases in neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone. The virus spread steadily, claiming more and more lives until the WHO declared the outbreak a "public-health emergency of international concern" on August 8. People in affected communities were understandably fearful; some were distrustful of health workers and resisted going to treatment centers, where it may have seemed they were only going to die.

Categories: Healthcare News

Ratings agencies forecast trouble for hospitals

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 07:44

Credit ratings agencies are forecasting trouble for the U.S. hospital sector in 2015 as federal reimbursements decrease and Republicans float a variety of changes to ObamaCare. Standard & Poor's Ratings, Moody's Investors Services and Fitch Ratings all predicted that the healthcare world will face challenges in the form of rising costs and uncertainty surrounding the healthcare law. A Supreme Court ruling against tax credits in the federally run health insurance exchanges, for example, could create problems in states that did not expand Medicaid.

Categories: Healthcare News

Investigation: Addicted nurses steal patients' drugs

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 07:42

A statewide investigation by The News Leader discovered Zientek among 900 nurses publicly disciplined by the licensing board from 2007 to mid-2013 for drug theft and use at work. Key findings emerge from a yearlong examination of thousands of pages of public records, dozens of interviews with nurses and experts and days spent observing administrative hearings: •Across Virginia, scores of patients in pain during the last decade were denied necessary medication because a nurse was stealing it. •Employers struggle to catch nurses with drug problems, and when they find them don't always report the nurses to the state.

Categories: Healthcare News

Ebola fears speed changes in US hospital record systems

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 07:39

The worst Ebola outbreak on record, and its spread beyond West Africa, has accelerated changes in how U.S. hospitals address the threat of infectious diseases, say health IT companies and industry experts. After more than five years and a $25 billion investment of federal money to move U.S. medical records out of paper files and into computers, doctors say the systems lack analytical functions, don't allow them to share information with colleagues in other practices and require too much time to enter data. They say the limitations are affecting patient care and that fixing the system will take years.

Categories: Healthcare News

Trinity Health to buy 3 CT hospitals

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 07:36

St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center and its parent company, St. Francis Care, announced plans to join Trinity Health, a national Catholic health care system that includes 86 hospitals in 21 states.As part of the definitive agreement between the companies, St. Francis Care would become part of a newly created regional network along with the Sisters of Providence Health System, which includes Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., and other facilities in Western Massachusetts.

Categories: Healthcare News

GA Hospitals cutting payrolls to cope with hard times

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 07:34

A recent series of job cuts shows that tough financial times remain for the state's hospitals – and may get worse next year, experts say. The biggest cuts have come in two hospital systems in Columbus. Columbus Regional Health eliminated 219 positions in a cost-reduction move in November. The cuts came after a $17 million operating loss in fiscal 2013 and a similar loss in fiscal 2014, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported. The job cuts included 99 terminations. Later in the month, St. Francis Hospital, also in Columbus, eliminated 65 filled positions and 15 vacant positions while grappling with a $30 million accounting inaccuracy it discovered in October.

Categories: Healthcare News

Study: Healthcare staffers rank high for workplace injuries

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 07:32

Nurse Shauna Trapani's patient was a deadweight - literally - the last time she injured her back at work so badly that she had to miss a day of work. Trapani, 35, had to roll a deceased patient from the emergency room at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, where she works, to the hospital's morgue, a trip that involves pushing a bed up a ramp, around a 90-degree turn, and up another ramp. "It's very physical work, and sometimes you just can't do it," said Trapani, who said she has suffered from work-related back pain for a decade. Health-care workers in general, and nurses' assistants in particular, have some of the highest incidents of workplace injuries among all occupations, according to a U.S. Labor Department report released this week.

Categories: Healthcare News