HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly - January 16, 2007
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Beta Maximizer
Gary Baldwin, for HealthLeaders Magazine
When Dave Ziolkowski took the information technology reins at Sampson Regional Medical Center in 2002, he had his work cut out for him. "The hospital was woefully behind the curve," the chief information officer recalls. With a newly hired--and supportive--chief executive officer behind him, Ziolkowski promptly injected some new energy into the rural hospital. [Read More]
January 16, 2008
Editor's Picks

Nurses pitch idea to boost rural Alabama care
Alabama's nurse practitioner rules limit their ability to write prescriptions and require them to be paired with a collaborating physician. But a proposed bill drafted by the Nurse Practitioners Alliance of Alabama would relax the rules and make it easier for trained nurse practitioners to work in poor, rural counties where medical care is scarce. Alabama Sen. Parker Griffith, a retired cancer specialist who is considering co-sponsoring the bill, said nurse practitioners are qualified to treat most illnesses and could make a huge difference in rural counties that lack primary care doctors and obstetricians. Griffith added he would like to see rural clinics run by nurse practitioners across Alabama, linked by Internet to medical schools and teaching hospitals so the nurse can quickly get advice from specialists if needed. [Read more]

Dismay at plan to shut two New Jersey hospitals
Two community hospitals in working class Newark, NJ, neighborhoods will be shuttered by a Pennsylvania-based healthcare company that is also absorbing the larger St. Michael's Medical Center in the city's downtown. The three hospitals have been losing $6 million a month, but city officials described the closings as a betrayal. This New York Times article describes St. James and Columbus hospitals as "institutional bedrocks" in two outlying working-class Newark neighborhoods. Jose Gomez-Rivera, MD, the director of the psychiatric department at St. James, said he feared that many people would simply delay seeking basic medical care if it meant traveling to a large and unfamiliar hospital. "Small hospitals give big service to the community," he told the Times. [Read more]

Doctors plan new hospital in Ohio
A large group of private-practice doctors and Summa Health System have announced their intention to build a 100-bed, full-service hospital somewhere in northern Summit County, OH. Summa and the Western Reserve Hospital Partners have signed a letter of intent to have a site, an ownership agreement, architectural plans and a builder for the new hospital within six months. Representatives from the doctors' group said the healthcare market is underserved in northern Summit County, forcing patients to travel to large cities such as Cleveland or Akron. [Read more]

Pennsylvania hospital fires union workers
In a dramatic move, all unionized employees at Aliquippa (PA) Community Hospital have been fired. The $22.75 million sale of the acute-care hospital to Commonwealth Medical Center was approved Nov. 30 in Beaver County Common Pleas Court, after efforts to recover from bankruptcy faltered and the hospital moved from nonprofit to for-profit status. Neal Bisno, secretary-treasurer of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, called the move an "outrageous act" of disrespect. "If Aliquippa Community Hospital is to have any possibility of a brighter future and continue providing quality healthcare services, the owners must show respect for our community and a willingness to work with the caregivers and their union," Bisno told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. [Read more]

Vermont hospital funding pushed at rally
A new bill on the table would establish the Vermont Hospital Security Plan, a universal healthcare system that would provide inpatient and outpatient hospital care to all state residents. Under the bill's provisions, each hospital would negotiate an annual budget and then live within it. The bill is already drawing criticism from the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, which represents the Vermont hospital industry. The Association said the bill would drive a wedge into the middle of an integrated system of care in which Vermont doctors and other providers strive to keep their patients out of hospitals. [Read more]

Emergency care waits found to be on rise
Half of all emergency room patients waited 30 minutes or more before being examined by a doctor in 2004, a 36 percent increase from a median wait time of 22 minutes in 1997, according to a study by researchers at Harvard Medical School. The trend is a potentially deadly result of the shrinking number of emergency departments and rising demand for emergency services, researchers said. Researchers cited an aging population, shortages of nurses and primary care doctors, the rising number of patients coming for non-urgent health problems, and the closure of some hospitals (and their emergency rooms) as some of the trend's causes. Among other findings, they learned that wait times tended to be longer for African Americans and Hispanics, perhaps because those patients are often treated in urban emergency departments, which are more likely to be overcrowded than their rural counterparts. [Read more]
Leaders Forum

RHIOs: The Keys to Sustainability:
Although Regional Health Information Organizations share the same goals, they are using a variety of business and information technology strategies to get there, say contributors Marybeth Regan, PhD, and Robin Randall-Lewis. [Read more]
Resources from HealthLeaders Media

  • Learn how your hospital can use quality data to your advantage.

  • With A Marketer's Guide to Physician Relations from HealthLeaders Media, learn how to take your physician relations program to the next level.

  • The Satisfied Patient, Second Edition illustrates how focusing on patient satisfaction can better your organization.

  • With Service Line Execution 2.0 from HealthLeaders Media, get the definitive guide to successful execution of service line management from subject expert Preston Gee.
  • From HealthLeaders Magazine
    Why Is The ED Such A Pain?
    The emergency department has a culture all its own with a unique set of challenges to match. It's also your hospital's window to the community. So you'd better make it work. [Read more]
    Community Call
    Discussion Board
    Each week, Community Call will pose a question to encourage community and rural hospital leaders to share success stories and best practices. This week's question is What can small community and rural hospitals do to alleviate ER bottlenecks?
    Audio Feature
    Rules of Engagement: Alegent CEO Wayne Sensor talks about why Alegent felt the necessity of hosting the Power to the Patient forum to educate hospital leaders on ways they can invite consumers into healthcare.
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