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Investigation: Surgical mistakes kept secret by hospitals

Healthcare News - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 07:35

Mistakes at hospitals happen more often than the public knows, and health care systems pay millions of dollars to keep it that way. They're called "secret settlements" or "confidentiality agreements," and they prohibit patients from telling anyone about hospital wrongdoing. In a Channel 9 investigation, anchor Sarah Rosario learned what's being done to limit secret agreements and also spoke with an Allegany County woman who said hospital negligence ruined her life." There was so much anger. So much hurt from being deceived," Debbie Pennington said. Pennington is finally speaking out and calling for changes 20 years after a surgical sponge was left in her body during a partial hysterectomy at Hugh Chatham Hospital in Elkin, North Carolina.

Categories: Healthcare News

Nurses win big in new contract with St. Vincent Hospital

Healthcare News - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 06:38

The nurses at St. Vincent Hospital are celebrating a recently ratified three-year contract that provides better health benefits, a raise, and commitments to grow staffing levels in different departments. The 700 union nurses at the Worcester hospital, which is a part of the nationwide hospital system Tenet Healthcare, have been negotiating a new contract since November 2013. After more than 20 negotiating sessions, the hospital and the union reached an agreement on Feb. 3, which was ratified by the nurses on Feb. 18. Considering the economic climate many hospitals find themselves in, with dwindling reimbursements and mounting technology needs, the contract is a surprising win for nurses of the public, for-profit institution.

Categories: Healthcare News

Opinion: EHR Vendors Will Lower Data Exchange Prices or Close

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 14:00

Brookings Institution Center for Technology Innovation Fellow Niam Yaraghi in an opinion piece argues that the “best solution” for addressing the “outlandish” charges by electronic health record vendors to exchange health data is for the government “to do nothing.” He writes that vendors will eventually have to lower the prices they charge for providers to exchange data or go out of business. Brookings Institution’s “TechTank.”

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

CMS Grants Eligible Professionals More Time for EHR Attestations

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 13:54

Today, CMS said it has delayed the Medicare meaningful use 2014 attestation deadline for eligible professionals until March 20. The agency also has extended the submission deadline for certain Physician Quality Reporting System reporting methods. Health Data Management et al.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

Most U.S. Adults Want To Use Apps, Wearables for Health Management

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 13:43

A survey by Makovsky Health and Kelton finds that 79% of U.S. adults are interested in using wearable devices and about 66% are interested in using mobile applications to help manage their health. In addition, 88% say they would be willing to share their personal health data to improve treatment options and care. MobiHealthNews, Makovsky Health/Kelton release.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

Anthem: Cyberattack Affected Personal Data of 78.8M Individuals

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 13:27

Anthem officials say that a recent cyberattack affected a database containing the personal information for 78.8 million individuals. Meanwhile, FBI officials say they are close to discovering the group behind the data breach. Wall Street Journal et al.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

New HCCI Website Uses Claims Data To Compare Health Care Prices

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 13:14

The Health Care Cost Institute has launched a new website that allows consumers to view the average prices of 70 medical services, including office visits and diagnostic tests. Data on the site are based on more than 40 million claims from Aetna, Assurant Health, Humana and UnitedHealthcare. Modern Healthcare.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

How perinatal hospice helps parents cope

Healthcare News - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 10:29

When a baby is given a prenatal diagnosis of a life-limiting illness, providers often suggest termination. That isn't always what parents want.

Categories: Healthcare News

Doc makes pitch to send paralyzed Polish patient home

Healthcare News - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 10:27

Second-year Bellevue Hospital resident Arthur Winer, MD, wasn't sure what to expect when he was assigned to care for his first paralyzed patient on his new rotation.

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Patients opt for stronger opioids

Healthcare News - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 10:26

More patients are using stronger opioids than they were a decade ago, government researchers said.

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AMA President pleased with association's progress

Healthcare News - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 10:25

Physicians' opinions of the American Medical Association (AMA) are improving, and the group's increasing membership is proof of that, according to AMA president Robert Wah, MD.

Categories: Healthcare News

CMS extends 'Meaningful Use' deadlines

Healthcare News - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 10:22

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is giving physicians an extra 3 weeks to attest they have made "Meaningful Use" of electronic health records, the agency announced Wednesday.

Categories: Healthcare News

Value-Based Care Fuels Drive to Make Deals

Healthcare News - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 08:09

The drive toward delivering value-based care provides compelling motivations for healthcare organizations to join forces, creating an active environment of mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships.

Categories: Healthcare News

CMS Puts the Squeeze on Medicare Advantage Plans

Healthcare News - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 08:01

In its proposed rules and payment rates, federal officials double down on efforts to wring value out of the Medicare Advantage program.

Categories: Healthcare News

Christ Hospital surgery deal could lower costs for 85 local employers

Healthcare News - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 07:48

Christ Hospital has negotiated a contract with Custom Design Benefits, one of the largest employee benefit firms in Greater Cincinnati, and it could lower some surgical costs for dozens of local companies that self-fund health plans. The contract, which involves fixed prices for total hip or knee replacement surgery, also would eliminate co-payments and other costs usually incurred by employees and their covered dependents. "Employees are currently responsible for covering their portion of the cost of the procedure through co-pays, deductibles and coinsurance," said Julie Mueller, president of Green Township-based Custom Design Benefits. "We estimate that this amount could be between $1,500 and $2,500, and even higher for high-deductible health plans."

Categories: Healthcare News

Patients, doctors see benefits of sharing medical records

Healthcare News - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 07:47

When Stacey Whiteman was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis two years ago, she didn't realize the toughest challenge would be its impact on her brain. The 53-year-old from Massachusetts was forced to quit work as an executive assistant after becoming easily confused and prone to forget, even about priorities like doctor appointments. When her physician suggested OpenNotes, an electronic portal allowing patients full access to their medical records, including doctors' notes, Whiteman was eager to log on. "For somebody like me who has a hard time processing things, I need this convenience," she said. Whiteman now refers to OpenNotes daily, to review what happened during appointments, be reminded of future ones and check lab results.

Categories: Healthcare News

Hospital employee receives 18 month jail term for HIPAA violations

Healthcare News - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 07:44

Accessing the healthcare data of patients without authorization is prohibited under HIPAA legislation, and the disclosure of this information to a third party is a criminal matter. The offense carries a jail term of up to 10 years in addition to a maximum fine of $500,000 if the disclosure is made for personal gain. One of the latest examples of wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information comes from the Eastern District of Texas where former Longview resident, Joshua Hippler, 30 has been convicted this offence and sentenced to serve 18 months in jail.

Categories: Healthcare News

UPMC nurses undergo mindfulness training to cope with job pressures

Healthcare News - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 07:42

Caring for patients can be "organized chaos," nurses say. As the foot soldiers of health care, they function at the pressure point, the front lines of the war zone, where "you have to be flawless." "You can't make one mistake," said Daniel Griffiths, 47, of Greenfield, a nurse at UPMC Montefiore. "It's physically draining. You're on your feet for a 12-hour shift." It helps explain why stress levels in nursing can lead to mental and physical exhaustion, burnout, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and sleep disorders, with occupational hazards trespassing onto one's free time.

Categories: Healthcare News

Fancy flourishes at hospitals don't impress patients

Healthcare News - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 07:37

The sleek hospital tower that Johns Hopkins Medicine built in 2012 has the frills of a luxury hotel, including a meditation garden, 500 works of art, free wi-fi and a library of books, games and audio. As Dr. Zishan Siddiqui watched patients and some fellow physicians in Baltimore move from their decades-old building into the Sheikh Zayed Tower, the internist saw a rare opportunity to test a widespread assumption in the hospital industry: that patients rate their care more highly when it is given in a nicer place. For decades, hospital executives across the country have justified expensive renovation and expansion projects by saying they will lead to better patient reviews and recommendations.

Categories: Healthcare News

Bill filed easing private cancer hospital restrictions

Healthcare News - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 06:45

Legislation easing restrictions on a for-profit cancer hospital in Newnan was filed in the state House on Tuesday. House Bill 482, sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs, would eliminate the 50-bed cap on the Cancer Treatment Centers of America campus in Coweta County. It would also eliminate the requirement that 65 percent of the hospital's patients come from out of state. The Legislature in 2008 agreed to allow CTCA to build its "destination cancer hospital" as long as the company agreed to provide charity care, serve patients covered by Medicaid and attract most of its patients from other states.

Categories: Healthcare News