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With building boom, Texas hospital builds construction-injury team

Plano, TX — Responding to a still-unfolding construction boom involving cranes and heavy machinery, Medical City Plano Hospital in this Dallas suburb last year assembled a team of paramedics, EMTs and trauma surgeons to perform emergency extraction surgeries at the scenes of construction accidents. 

According to a recent report in FierceHealthcare, the new field response team saw its first patient this past February, with a Medical City surgeon arriving by air ambulance with all needed equipment to rescue a trapped worker at a building site.

Dr. Mark Gamber, Medical City’s ICU director, told FierceHealthcare that the new team, believed to be the first of its kind in the country, allows for a quicker trip to the hospital, as trauma patients fare best when treated in the “golden hour” after an accident.

The approach is very similar to treatments for a soldier in the field who is injured by an explosive device, according to Dr. Gamber, with techniques adapted from military protocols.


Nyack Hospital joins Montefiore network

Nanuet, NY — As of this May, Rockland County medical mainstay Nyack Hospital is officially part of the Montefiore system of hospitals across the greater metro New York region.  While the switch legally took place early in 2018, public rebranding is underway with the hospital now called Montefiore Nyack.


Azar urges acceleration of non-hospital care

Washington, D.C. — In a May 9 speech at the American Hospital Association (AHA)’s Annual Membership Meeting, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar urged hospital executives to speed the shift of services from hospitals to other settings.  Doing so would save money and produce better results, the HHS chief said.


However, in related news, a recent joint investigation by Kaiser Health News and the USA Today Network found that over 260 patients have died since 2013 after in-and-out procedures at surgery centers across the country.  According to the report, surgery centers nationwide—over 5,600—outnumber hospitals.  Most of the deaths occurred because patients suffered adverse incidents after surgery and didn’t get to the nearest hospitals in time.



Telemedicine: a quick guide

Washington, D.C. — With telemedicine—or live audio-video consultation with a medical professional via broadband Internet—a growing part of healthcare, Kaiser Health News’ Steven Findlay penned a brief guide online on May 9.  In short: So-called “e-visits” will be mainstream within ten years, are increasingly covered by Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance for a growing number of visit types, and are even being tested on public ambulance services by some cities.



Geisinger mainstreaming preventive DNA tests

Danville, PA — On May 6, the Geisinger hospital/insurance system of Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey announced that it would be making preventive DNA tests a routine part of health screenings in healthy patients.  Preventive DNA tests can sometimes nip genetic diseases in the bud before they become major problem or even develop.


According to Geisinger President and CEO David Feinberg, M.D., the time and cost is finally right.  “We didn’t want to wait,” he said. 


The company will be starting with a pilot of about 1,000 patients within the next six months before scaling the service to all patients in its facilities. 


Geisinger will pay for the tests, which its per-patient cost is estimated at $300 to $500.


According to Dr. Feinberg, DNA testing could identify medically actionable findings in about 3.5 percent of patients before they fall ill—with up to 15 percent of patients to eventually benefit.



New York leads despite low patient-safety report

New York, NY — In the Leapfrog Group’s 2018 national hospital patient safety rating report, 155 New York hospitals statewide were ranked “A” through “F”—with a mere eight making the coveted “A” grade.  Of the remaining 147 graded “B” through “F,” the bulk of those—109 facilities—scored a “C,” with 14 getting a “B,” 19 a “D” and five an “F.”


Broken down by the Big Apple’s two most prominent boroughs, Manhattan’s 13 “Leapfrogged” hospitals only produced one “A,” which went to the Metropolitan campus of the NYC Health + Hospitals system.  The remainder got “C”s except for Mount Sinai Beth Israel, which got a “D.” 


Brooklyn’s 13 rated hospitals produced no “A”s in this year’s report, with a single “B” going to the Brooklyn Hospital Center, followed by three “C”s, six “D”s, and three “F”s.


Nationally, Hawaii tops the hospital patient safety list for 2018, with 72.7 percent of its hospitals earning “A”s—followed by Idaho at 70 percent and Rhode Island (2017’s top-ranked) at 62.5 percent.  New York, for all of its top hospitals and specialists, takes 48th place, with only 5.8 percent of its hospitals scoring “A”s—and Minnesota, home of the famed Mayo Clinic generally ranked as the nation’s top hospital overall, takes 18th place.


So does that mean that New York’s hospitals are unsafe for patients?  Hardly.  A number of complex variables go into the rankings, including patient population, caregiver population, number of hospitals, and number (and category) of reported safety incidents.  Although New York’s 2018 Leapfrog rating is low, its leading doctors and hospitals keep its positive patient outcomes high.