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CMS updates hospital results for consumers

CMS reports these outcomes for patients who are admitted to the hospital for a heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), stroke, coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery, and for total elective hip and knee replacement. CMS also The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) updated hospital performance results on its consumer-oriented Hospital Compare website (www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare/search.html).

One of CMS’s goals is to improve health care for patients. CMS evaluates hospital quality of care and gives incentives to hospitals to make improvements that can impact patients’ wellbeing. Continue reading

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Triaging the Transitions — It’s time to fix the broken process for transitions of care, says Fred N. Pelzman, MD.

  Fred N. Pelzman, MD.

It seems that our transitions of care leave something to be desired.

These delicate tipping points, when patients are sometimes at their most fragile, need to be set up with exquisite attention to detail, and often leave our patients at high risk for bad outcomes…..

…. The best discharge summary I ever got was written by a nurse practitioner at an unnamed hospital in Boston, who sent a patient home for follow-up in our practice after a prolonged hospitalization.

This thing read like a short story, the prose was succinct and informative, and after I finished it I felt like I had been there through his entire hospitalization, and I was ready to continue taking care of him. A successful, warm handoff.  Read more

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Making the Cut: Why choosing the right surgeon matters even more than you know

In February 2012, LaVerne Stiles went to Citrus Memorial Hospital near her home in central Florida for what should have been a routine surgery.

The bubbly retired secretary had been in a minor car accident weeks earlier. She didn’t worry much about her sore neck until a scan detected a broken bone.

The operation she needed, a spinal fusion, is done tens of thousands of times a year without incident. Stiles, 71, had a choice of three specially trained surgeons at Citrus Memorial, which was rated among the top 100 nationally for spinal procedures. She had no way of knowing how much was riding on her decision. The doctor she chose, Constantine Toumbis, had one of the highest rates of complications in the country for spinal fusions. The other two doctors had rates among the lowest for postoperative problems like infections and internal bleeding. Read more

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Can the state build a better system to get your medical records to your doctors?

With providers moving to electronic medical record systems, they often still don’t “talk” to each other. Just think how much safer your care could be if all of your providers could see the same complete data and know what each other is doing.  There would be less duplication of testing, everyone would be on the same page, and we would expect that much less information would fall through the cracks.  Read Lisa Freeman’s comments in this CT Mirror article, Can the state build a better system to get your medical records to your doctors?.

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Admitted to Your Bedroom: Some Hospitals Try Treating Patients at Home

In response for the call to reduce the costs associated with health care, hospitals are trying new ways to treat patients without the higher costs by providing hospital-level treatment at home.  Treating patients at home may be a win-win solution for everyone.  This is Patient-Centered care taken to another level. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to be followed closely in your own home? You would have open “visiting hours”, the love of family, comfortable clothing, home cooked food, less disruptions and still be getting the needed care. Something you may want to ask about should you find yourself in the emergency room one day.  Read more

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Nearly 9 in 10 US adults now have health insurance

The ACA is accomplishing one of its goals: to see all Americans covered by health insurance. It is a first step. But we now need to ask if that coverage is getting Americans better health care? Do Americans understand their coverage and do they know how to access care? And even more importantly, is health care yet affordable?  Our website has many resources to help you maneuver the health care system.  This article assessing the progress made in terms of enrollment, talks about the future of the Affordable Care Act.  Read more.

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Connecticut needs transparency in health care

The current legislative session in Hartford holds promise for improving the safety and quality of health care in Connecticut. There are a number of bipartisan bills introduced by Senator Looney and Senator Fasano, as well as other Senators that call for transparency of infection rates, health care costs, prices and quality information as well as a bill to allow for dispute resolution of surprise billing and emergency services. Letters to your legislators are always encouraged and you can get more information about the bills at the CGA Public Health Committee and the Insurance Committee websites. You can also read Lisa Freeman’s Op-Ed from the CT Mirror here.

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Op-Ed: CT assembly should enact informed consent law for nursing home elders

When it comes to the use of antipsychotic drugs to address challenging behaviors presented by seniors with dementia, CT exceeded one goal for reduction of use, but still ranks last in New England and 34th in the nation for the use of antipsychotic medications.  While better able to be measured in facilities, the use is believed to be high in the community as well.  For more in-depth information on this read the CT Mirror Op-Ed written by Paul Caron, a CTCPS member has been a conservator for elderly parents in long-term care over the last five  years . He is also a representative at a nursing home family council in New Haven.

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Rants of a Patient Safety Advocate – True Story in the Emergency Room: The Emergency Room Dilemma

My friend and fellow advocate, Ilene Corina, wrote: “Just imagine walking into a supermarket and the carts are all sitting in the aisles so scattered you can barely get through. Cans and boxes of food are mixed up and piled high so you would knock it down if you bumped into it ever so slightly. The lines at the cashier are 10-15-20 people long and you have to wait and wait. The cashier leaves to take care of another customer leaving you waiting even longer. Every item you bought was announced loud enough so anyone standing close by in tight, cramped quarters can hear. ROLAIDS, TAMPONS, 3 POUNDS OF APPLES and finally, no one smiles, no one looks at you and you are treated as if you are a bother. Would you shop there? What if you were forced to?”  Her resulting blog post, written following her visit to a hospital emergency room gives us all something to think about – but what can we be doing? Read her entire blog post here

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A Call to Action: It’s Time to Break Another Glass Ceiling

Patient-Centered Care involves healthcare systems embracing a culture and a philosophy that includes and considers patient’s perspectives in everything that they do.  I recently wrote an article for Planetree’s Planetalk publication titled: A Call to Action: It’s Time to Break Another Glass Ceiling.  In it, I talk about the missed opportunity when hospital, long-term care facilities and physician practice governing boards do not have patient members on them.  After all, this represents the ultimate partnership with patients and their perspective should become part of business as usual.  Please share this link and encourage everyone to consider the valuable insight and expertise that patients can bring to governing boards. Read my article here.

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