KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Hospitals Find New Ways To Serve Growing Senior, Immigrant, Suburban Populations

News outlets report on hospital industries in Houston, Texas; Irvine, Calif. and Madison County, La. 

The Houston Chronicle: "Options to address the unique health concerns of older adults are becoming increasingly common in Houston, thanks to the longevity of the oldest seniors and graying baby boomers. In the past year, Memorial Hermann-Southwest Hospital opened the state's first senior emergency center. The UT Center for Healthy Aging, meanwhile, focuses on primary care and specialty care as well as brain and memory health care for older adults. … Over the next few decades, the nation's population will become much older. ... In Texas, a relatively young state, residents 65 and older are expected to account for 16 percent of the population by 2025" (George, 9/7).

In Irvine, hospitals are working to bridge a cultural divide with immigrants, the Los Angeles Times reports. "When Hoag Hospital opened its Irvine campus recently, replacing Irvine Regional, administrators hoped they had done enough to understand Irvine residents' cultural beliefs, traditions and language. Since the 1950s, Hoag has served mostly white and increasingly Latino patients at its Newport Beach location. Now, the hospital is stepping into a community that is nearly 40% Asian and has a large Iranian population. Hoag has made a number of special preparations for these patients. They include creating patient rooms arranged according to the principles of feng-shui and to serving steamed rice for breakfast, and less-tangible gestures such as respectfully presenting documents with two hands and speaking to patients with more formality. … The acculturation of Hoag was the result of dozens of meetings with community group" (Reicher, 9/8).

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: In the past, the region east of St. Louis "had something of a stigma about health care facilities," and people went into St. Louis for health care. But, "[t]hose who follow the Metro East medical industry say that image is slowly changing, in part because of a flurry of construction by hospitals on off-site campuses. Over the past five years, Gateway Regional Medical Center in Granite City and Anderson Hospital in Maryville have devoted more than $50 million in renovations, new construction and expansions. They've also developed partnerships with the larger St. Louis hospitals like Anderson's Pediatric Therapy Center. Those improvements range from new doctors' offices in places outside of their traditional coverage areas to multi-million dollar renovations" (Cousins, 9/7).

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