HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly - June 4, 2008 View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free

Will Saying 'I'm Sorry' Scare Patients Away?
Carrie Vaughan, Editor, Community Hospitals
I applaud the growing number of hospitals that are apologizing for medical errors rather than trying to cover them up or hoping the patient never realizes a mistake occurred. Yet I can't help but wonder what impact this practice will have on small community hospitals. [Read More]
June 4, 2008
Editor's Picks

Telehealth programs benefit rural providers and patients
Here are two examples of how telehealth programs are impacting care in rural areas. Avera Health in Sioux Falls, SD, is placing telehealth services in its rural hospital emergency rooms. The eEmergency project will help rural hospitals determine which patients can be treated locally and which patients should be transferred to a larger facility. Second, people who suffer from chronic lung disease and live in rural areas have increased their walking distance and quality of life, thanks to the Telehealth Pulmonary Rehabilitation program, which is an extension of the Breathe Easy Pulmonary Rehabilitation program based in Edmonton, Canada. It enables patients to "see" lung specialists and therapists and engage in a guided exercise program remotely.

Recruiting rural medical professionals early
Moffat County high school students will get first-hand experience in the medical field this summer through the Colorado Rural Health Scholars Program. The program provides health science courses for high school sophomores and juniors from rural areas in Colorado. [Read More]

Hartford Hospital refunds Medicare
Ensuring that your hospital is paying Medicare not too much or too little but just the right amount is often easier said than done. Hartford (CT) Hospital recently became the fourth hospital in the state to pay damages and penalties under the U.S. False Claims Act after overbilling Medicare for intravenous cancer treatments from 2000 to 2004. Hartford will reimburse the federal Medicare program $788,960. [Read More]

Childhood obesity program comes to rural America
Improving the health of the community is often one of the core mission statements of community hospitals nationwide. This story shows how a communitywide intervention in Somerville, MA, is reducing obesity in children. Researchers are trying to replicate the program, which doubled the amount of fruit served for school lunch, painted crosswalks to encourage walks to school, and increased physical activity in after-school programs, in rural parts of the country. [Read More]
Leaders Forum

The ROI of Locum Tenens
Contributor Joseph Caldwell, president of Staff Care, takes a look at the costs and benefits—both obvious and indirect—of locum tenens physicians, who are becoming an increasingly vital part of the patient care process. [Read More]
This Week's Headlines

Rochester, NH, hospital to start online scheduling system
Boston Globe – June 2, 2008
Hospitals put patients' debt up for auction
Wall Street Journal (subscription required) – June 3, 2008
IL bill would extend help for hospitals with many Medicaid patients
Chicago Tribune – June 2, 2008
Spring Hill, TN, hospital boosters plan rally
The Tennessean – May 28, 2008
Feds charge former Edgewater Medical Center chief with obstruction Chicago Tribune – May 30, 2008
System working to expand access to care to rural TX moms, infants
San Antonio Business Journal – June 4, 2008
Rising number of temporary doctors
Chicago Tribune – June 3, 2008
Opinion: Ailing ERs threaten patients, leave communities vulnerable
USA Today – May 30, 2008
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Shared Success
  Crafting a true partnership—often with a perceived competitor—is a complex task. Here's how some hospitals are doing it. [Read More]    
Community Call
Discussion Board
Rodney Louk, vice president of information systems at Washington (PA) Hospital, offers advice on getting physicians to utilize electronic medical records.