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Medicare Cuts Payments To 721 Hospitals With Highest Rates Of Infections, Injuries

Medicare is penalizing hospitals with high rates of potentially avoidable mistakes that can harm patients, known as “hospital-acquired conditions.”  To determine penalties, Medicare ranked hospitals for three types of HACs: Central-line associated bloodstream infections or CLABSIs, Catheter-associated urinary tract infections or CAUTIs and Serious Complications which is based on eight types of injuries, including blood clots, bed sores and falls.  Based on the hospital’s ranking from Medicare on these three specific hospital-acquired conditions, those whose score fell within the highest numbers are seeing their reimbursement impacted.   The full story and list can be found in the Kaiser Health News Article.

Connecticut’s hospitals on the list can be viewed at this link.



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Here’s why healthcare should be talking about net neutrality

When we hear about net neutrality, we often think of how it will affect and raise costs when we stream our favorite podcast, or download a movie.  But this issue has the potential to significantly impact the “ease” of access to our medical files and other medical related information.  According to a recent Modern Healthcare article, “Net neutrality means everyone sending data is treated the same by carriers like Verizon and others; no one can pay or be charged more for faster transmission speeds and none can be barred from sending data. The tool that net neutrality advocates want to use—Title II of the FCC’s authorization act—would essentially make internet traffic into a public utility.”  If this does not continue, the cost for accessing and transferring medical files and other electronic data could increase substantially.  For a current and clear explanation on net neutrality, read the attached article from Modern Healthcare by Darius Tahir  | November 19, 2014.

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Study: Unneeded Stress Tests Too Common

MedPage Today  |  Published: Oct 14, 2014  By Crystal Phend, Senior Staff Writer  


Cardiac stress tests done with imaging have risen substantially and more than a third appeared inappropriate, according to a national study.   While the annual frequency of cardiac stress testing stayed constant after adjustment for other factors, the proportion done with imaging rose from 59% in 1993-1995 to 87% in 2008-2010, Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, PhD, of NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues found. Read more

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Patients tend to listen more to female doctors

Hartford Courant Health 


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Vicodin and other prescription painkillers will soon be harder to get

ConsumerReports.Org | Published: September 05, 2014

U.S. healthcare providers write more prescriptions for Vicodin and other narcotic painkillers that combine the opioid hydrocodone with acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) than for any other drug. But as of Oct. 6, 2014, when a new ruling from the Drug Enforcement Agency goes into effect, those medications and other hydrocodone-combination products are going to be harder to get.  Read more

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When Patients Read What Their Doctors Write

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The Battle Against Misdiagnosis: American doctors make the wrong call more than 12 million times a year.

The Wall Street Journal | By  Hardeep Singh, Aug. 7, 2014 7:16 p.m. ET  -  There is a new very sobering number out in the news today.  Twelve MILLION misdiagnoses a year.  But the good news is that this article also talks about the ways to reduce the chance it will happen -  recognizing that improving communication between physicians and patients is the first step.  Visit our website at: and see our resources to empower you, the patient.

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Study: Wide Hospital Quality Gap on Maternity Care

The NewYorkTimes By THE ASSOCIATED PRESSAUG. 4, 2014, WASHINGTON — Where a woman delivers her baby can make a major difference to her own health — a quality gap that remains largely hidden from mothers-to-be.  A new study comparing hospitals nationwide finds that women who delivered at low-performing facilities suffered more than twice the rate of major complications for vaginal births. For cesarean section deliveries, the disparity was even greater: nearly a fivefold difference, according to the study in Monday’s issue of Health Affairs.  Read More

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Courage to Bring Change

RFK at Arlington

The other day, I visited Arlington National Cemetery.  There are rows and rows of white tombstones, 400,000 graves in all.  It’s daunting.  From atop the hill at Arlington House, in almost every direction, the endless rows of white can be seen.

Each year 440,000 Americans needlessly die as a result of medical harm.  They could fill an Arlington National Cemetery – every year!   They did not sign on to do something with the understanding that medical harm was an accepted risk.

We can honor them by working together to change this, and many of us are.  We should think about the words of Robert Kennedy, found on the wall of his memorial at Arlington.   Although they were spoken almost 50 years ago, well before the patient safety movement took shape, we can think of them in terms of patient safety and use them as inspiration as we go forward and engage in conversations and actions to end the needless deaths that result from medical harm.

“It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest wall of oppression and resistance.”

Robert F. Kennedy, South Africa, 1966

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The Right Exam, The Right Way, The Right Radiation Dose

Jean Rexford, along with Rosemary Gibson, Stephen Smith,  John Santa and other supporters of national  patient safety efforts,  are contributors to an article just published in the March, 2014

The Right Exam, The Right Way, The Right Radiation Dose

The March, 2014 issue of the features an article on the overexposure of ionizing radiation to our pediatric population.  This problem has urgency in that the findings are uncontroversial and patients cannot wait for changes to passively diffuse through the system.  Through the engagement of patients, public organizations, and medical professionals in this movement, the contributors to this commentary seek to bring about that accreditation of all American hospitals and advanced diagnostic imaging facilities require these 3 practices:  The Right Exam, The Right Way, The Right Radiation Dose.

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