Ariz. Hospitals Fighting Losses In Political Shift And In Court
A look at hospital news around the country also includes reports on a Mayo collaboration in Minnesota on immigrant health, plans for a proton cancer therapy center in South Florida and efforts by Tufts Medical Center to get a level one trauma center.
Arizona Republic: Arizona Hospital And Healthcare Association Loses 3 Members
Arizona's three largest hospital systems are leaving a statewide hospital lobbying group over concerns about how the group represents the large hospitals on legislative and regulatory issues. Abrazo Health Care, Banner Health and Dignity Health on Friday informed the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association that their membership will end effective March 1. The pullout by the three hospital systems that represent more than 20 metro Phoenix hospitals comes as larger urban hospitals have faced rising numbers of uninsured patients seeking free or reduced-cost care in hospital emergency rooms (Alltucker, 1/27).
Arizona Republic: Judge Urged To Toss Hospitals' Rate-Cut Claims
Attorneys for the state and federal governments want a federal judge to throw out claims by Arizona hospitals that they are being illegally denied adequate payment for their services to the poor. Attorney Logan Johnston, who represents the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, said the reductions in payments to hospitals implemented last month were not only justified but were within the power of the state to enact (Fischer, 1/27).
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: A 2nd Cancer Center In Georgia The Goal
Gov. Nathan Deal has taken aim at cancer deaths in Georgia with a plan to help Georgia Health Sciences University in Augusta join an elite group of cancer centers. The Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center in Georgia, a state where the disease causes more than 15,000 deaths annually. Only top-flight research organizations that are on the forefront of the cancer battle can win the designation and the grant money that comes with it. A second NCI center could help the state attract more acclaimed cancer researchers and millions of research dollars, Deal said when announcing the plan this month (Teegardin, 1/28).
San Francisco Chronicle: Kaiser Workers Plan 1-Day Strike Tuesday
Thousands of Kaiser Permanente workers are expected to walk off the job Tuesday over contract disputes involving the health maintenance organization's mental health and optical employees. … Union leaders said that while they continue to negotiate with Kaiser, the main sticking points persist. They say they're striking over proposed cuts to health and retirement benefits, and what they describe as exceptionally long wait times for patients to receive individual psychiatric care (Colliver, 1/30). (KHN is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.)
Minnesota Public Radio: Mayo, Minn. Communities Targeting Immigrant Health
In a first-of-its-kind collaboration, researchers at the Mayo Clinic are working with more than a dozen community organizations to keep immigrants and refugees from developing common diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. The project, which includes nursing students at Winona State University in Rochester, focuses on southeast Minnesota, an area of the state that has seen some of the largest demographic shifts in the last decade (Baier, 1/30).
The Miami Herald/Palm Beach Post: High-Tech Proton Cancer Therapy Center Planned For Palm Beach County
Tired of sending patients to Jacksonville for the latest cancer treatment, a group of Palm Beach County doctors hopes to spend $30 million to build South Florida’s first proton therapy center. South Florida Radiation Oncology aims to join a nationwide building boom of proton centers, which feature high-tech radiation machines encased in concrete bunkers. Proponents say proton beams are so precise that they can radiate a tumor without damaging the healthy tissue around it (Ostrowski, 1/29).
Boston Globe: Tufts Seeks Top Trauma Label; Rivals Want Delay
Tufts Medical Center is seeking to become a level one trauma center, an elite designation that would bring more prestige and potentially more patients to the Boston teaching hospital. But the surgery chiefs at four of Tufts' competitors are questioning whether the city needs another top trauma center and have asked public health officials to delay their decision (Kowalczyk, 1/30).
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: State Hospitals Aim To Do No Harm
The Wisconsin Hospital Association has launched a statewide initiative, funded with money included in the federal health care reform law, to reduce both hospital-acquired conditions and readmissions. Roughly 100 hospitals plan to participate in the initiative. … The initiative is part of a national project announced last year by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to reduce hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent and hospital readmissions by 20 percent by the end of 2013 (Boulton, 1/28).
Lund Report: Ambulatory Surgery Centers Seek Relevance While Lagging in Transparency
Oregon ambulatory surgery centers want to be an integral part of any newly formed Coordinated Care Organization. But some question just how transparent the 86 freestanding outpatient centers in the state are when it comes to reporting quality. Participation by ASCs in the Oregon Patient Safety Commission has been slow, now with 58 percent of the facilities reporting severe medical errors. By comparison, all of Oregon's hospitals are currently taking part in the hospital error-reporting program. And more than 75 percent of nursing homes have agreed to participate (Rosenfield, 1/27).