HealthLeaders Media Community and Rural Hospital Weekly - February 18, 2009
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Earth-Friendly Can Mean Budget-Friendly, Too
John Commins, Editor, Community Hospitals
Rob Lester, director of food and nutrition services at Ocala (FL) Health system, was looking over his cafeteria spreadsheets in early 2008 when he had an epiphany. "I saw where in 2007 we had used 400 cases of disposable plastic spoons that come in cases of 1,000. When you think about those in real pieces going to a landfill, it's disgusting," Lester says. [Read More]
February 18, 2009
Editor's Picks

Obama stimulus provides big bucks for EHR
HCPro, Inc.'s Lisa Eramo provides analysis of the $19 billion federal incentive plan to nudge hospitals and doctors to adopt EHR. The so-called Health Information Technology Extension Program money is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the $787 billion stimulus package that President Barack Obama signed into law yesterday. One big issue that has yet to be resolved: If everybody gets EHR, will their systems be compatible? Or, will there be 300 different EHR systems that can't speak with one another? [Read More]

ICU 'superbug' infections decline for catheter procedure
A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that bloodstream infections caused by methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus have dropped 50% in the last decade for one high-risk medical procedure. The finding, although limited to a single procedure in the ICUs of hospitals surveyed—insertion of a central line, or catheter, into a major blood vessel—runs contrary to the widespread perception of MRSA as an out-of-control hospital superbug. Inflammatory media accounts about the lethal MRSA scared the bejesus out of the public and prompted a rash of state laws to control the bug. Those efforts were generally opposed by hospitals, physicians, and researchers who said they were too expensive and that there was no scientific evidence to show they worked. As it turns out, they were right. The JAMA study, compiled by researchers at the CDC, shows that MRSA infections have been in steady decline over the past 10 years, long before the bug ever made the tabloids or starred on cable news. It's not all good news, though. A separate study by the Illinois Hospital Association found that MRSA is more common in Illinois hospital patients than was previously thought. However, the IHA study says many of the MRSA-infected patients were already infected before they came in. [Read More]

China investigates illegal organ transplants for foreigners
The New York Times reports that China is investigating whether 17 Japanese tourists received illegal kidney and liver transplants in China. Last May China banned all transplants for foreigners—so-called organ tourists—because an estimated 1.5 million Chinese are on waiting lists for transplants. These "organ tourists" must be desperate if they went to China for a highly invasive medical procedure. The Middle Kingdom really doesn't have the best record on quality control these days. In fact, "Chinese quality control" is an oxymoron. They put antifreeze in their toothpaste, melamine in their baby formula, and lead paint on their toys. Even their drywall emits sulfur dioxide and hydrogen dioxide. With a track record like that, I'm not sure that quality control is Job No. 1 for an illegal organ transplant ring running out of Hong Kong. Go under with these guys and you might wake up with a panda kidney. Speaking of quality control, the consumer group The Project on Government Oversight says that the FDA has dramatically reduced its inspections of "good laboratory practices" at labs that test medical devices. The number of inspections dropped from 33 in 2005, to seven in 2007, to one last year, and no inspections are planned in 2009. That's one way to level the playing field with China. [Read More]

They're young, they're invincible, and they're uninsured
The New York Times has an interesting piece on 20-somethings who carry no health insurance because they either can't afford it, believe they're invulnerable or both. The Commonwealth Fund estimates that nearly one-in-three young adults, or 13.2 million people, are uninsured, making them the nation's largest uninsured demographic. [Read More]
Leaders Forum

How Post-acute Care Can Improve Hospital Financial Performance
Although the current economic environment is negatively impacting the entire healthcare industry, many health systems are realizing that post-acute programs, which often take a backseat in many hospitals, can generate some much needed financial returns for the organization. [Read More]
This Week's Headlines

Florida doctors indicted in $10 million Medicare fraud scheme
South Florida Business Journal ? February 18, 2009
Las Vegas hospital renegotiating contracts to save
AP/San Jose Mercury News ? February 18, 2009
Insurers exceed California rate caps for last-resort health coverage
Los Angeles Times ? February 18, 2009
Healthcare funds stay on defensive
Wall Street Journal ? February 18, 2009
Cleveland Clinic signs on with Las Vegas-based brain institute
Las Vegas Review-Journal ? February 18, 2009
Reducing risk of surgical burns
Wall Street Journal ? February 18, 2009

Webcasts/Audio Conferences

Solving Your Nurse Shortage: Long-Term Strategies That Work (Live)
Form 990H: Act Now to Protect Your Reputation (Live)
ED Overhaul 2009: Five Improvements to Make Today (Live)
Incentive-Based Compensation Plans to Enhance Physician Performance (On Demand)
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Back to Basics
The strategy for surviving the economic downturn? Invest in core strengths, scrutinize staffing and operations, seize partnership opportunities—and get down to work. [Read More]
Service Line Management
Essential and Expensive
Patient demand for intensive care services continues to rise—but ICUs cost a ton of money. Here's how some providers are making intensive care worth their financial while. [Read More]
Community Call
Discussion Board
Will your hospital or physician office use stimulus money to install or expand an electronic health records system? How will it impact your healthcare organization?
Audio Feature
Industry Survey 2009: HealthLeaders Round Table: HealthLeaders Media Editors react to the findings of the Industry Survey 2009. [Listen Now]
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