From the Offices of Jeffrey A. Flaks and Jeffry Nestler, MD

The Seymour Street Journal is published every two weeks to communicate key messages pertinent to our hospital’s physicians, and to promote alignment between the medical staff and administration. It will keep you informed on hospital news in a concise, convenient format. SSJ will be sent to your preferred email address every other Sunday at 6 p.m.

We’d like to hear from you. For any questions or suggestions, please contact Dr. Jeffry Nestler, medical staff president, at 860-836-7313, or jnestler@connecticutgi.org.

February 19, 2012 Edition

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HH Facts
1959 - First open heart surgery in Greater Hartford was performed at Hartford Hospital by Dr. Thomas Donovan.


Top News

 

Transformational Gift Pays Tribute to Dr. Shichman, Hospital’s Expertise

In tribute to Dr. Steve Shichman and Hartford Hospital’s expertise in urological and kidney care, a remarkably generous donor has committed to a $5 million gift to name our Urological and Kidney Institute. While wishing to remain anonymous, the donor is permitting us to use a name (Tallwood) in association with the institute. The donor holds Dr. Shichman in high regard, and Dr. Shichman has been integral in building a strong relationship between the hospital and the donor. This is exceptionally important news, as the naming of the Tallwood Urological and Kidney Institute will inspire other naming gifts to Hartford Hospital and gives us the potential to propel the urological and kidney program to the highest national standings. The gift also is strong testament to the critical role that we as members of the Medical Staff play in nurturing patient and family relationships that may ultimately result in charitable gifts to the hospital to advance our work. Such inspirational giving is important to this donor, who previously committed $1 million to our Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation (CESI), which led to support from others. Through the Tallwood Urological and Kidney Institute, we will be better able to achieve better patient outcomes and experiences, expand service locations and improve access for patients by increasing the number of providers – all of which elevate the hospital to a place of national prominence.

HHC Creates Primary Care Network From Six Primary Practices

Hartford HealthCare has brought together its six widely-respected primary care practices (Doctors of Central Connecticut, Hartford Medical Group, MidState Medical Group, MediQuick centers, Med-East centers and Senior Health Services) in a new primary care structure called Hartford HealthCare Primary Care Network. We are running TV, print and radio ads for the Primary Care Network which feature real patients and doctors focusing on the patient question, “What's your idea of a great doctor?” You can view one of our TV ads on the Hartford HealthCare website at http://hartfordhealthcare.org/HHCPCN-Videos.phpor visit the new website at  www.hhcprimarycare.org

Executives from SSM, Baldridge Quality Award Winner, Tour Hartford Hospital to Learn About H3W

On Feb. 9, Hartford Hospital hosted executives from SSM Health Care interested in learning more about H3W. SSM is a large system with 16 hospitals and 24,000 staff in Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, and Oklahoma. It is best known in quality circles for having been recognized in 2002 as the first health care organization to win the Malcolm Baldridge Award for Quality. SSM first learned of Hartford Hospital’s H3W model at the national Premier Conference held in June 2011 in Nashville, when Dr. Scott Endsley, SSM’s chief medical officer attended a presentation given by President Jeffrey Flaks and Dr. Jamie Roche, VP of Patient Safety and Quality. He returned to SSM with a proposal to send a delegation to Hartford to learn more about H3W. Dr. Endsley was accompanied by the leadership team from Saint Mary’s Hospital from Centralia, Illinois. They attended a Radiation Oncology work group meeting and a focus group of seasoned work group leaders; spent time with the facilitators; and reviewed our idea lists, dashboards and training curriculum. SSM’s interest in H3W is testament our great work, and as a result of this visit we now have developed a relationship with SSM that will serve to advance benchmarking and learning.

Dr. Mark Sebastian Named Director of Trauma

Dr. Mark Sebastian has been appointed director of  Trauma effective immediately. Dr. Sebastian graduated from Rush University Medical College in 1987. He did his residency in surgery and a fellowship in Surgical Critical Care at Duke University. He also completed a fellowship in Vascular Surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Dr. Sebastian succeeds Dr. Lenworth Jacobs, who will continue to provide strategic guidance as the Director of the Trauma Institute with overarching oversight of the Level I Trauma Center at Hartford Hospital and the Level I Trauma Center at CCMC.

Dr. Inam Kureshi Named Chair of Neurosurgery

Dr. Inam Kureshi has been appointed chair of Hartford Hospital’s Department of Neurosurgery.  Dr. Kureshi, who had been serving as interim chair, earned his MD at the University of Texas.  He completed his fellowship in neurosurgery at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and his internship in neurovascular surgery at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Dr. Steven Schichman Named Chair of Urology

Dr. Steven Schichman has been appointed chair of Hartford Hospital’s Department of Urology following the resignation of Dr. Douglas Viets, who lead the department for more than a decade. Dr. Schichman is a pioneer in robotic surgery and has been instrumental in the growth and development of our Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation, which has become nationally recognized for excellence in state-of-the-art technology and training. Dr. Schichman also will lead the Tallwood Urological and Kidney Institute.

Hartford Hospital First in State to Perform TAVRs Using Edwards Sapien Transcahter Heart Valves

On February 6, Hartford Hospital physicians treated two patients with transcatheter aortic valve replacement. This therapy was approved by the FDA for treatment of aortic stenosis in patients who are not candidates for standard open surgical valve replacement. The valve is inserted through a catheter that is introduced into the body through a small incision over the femoral artery. The valve is then advanced to the heart and deployed by inflating a balloon that positions the valve in the aortic position. The procedure was performed in the operating room (Core 9) in order to take advantage of the advanced imaging capabilities available in that room. This involved a multidisciplinary team from cardiology, interventional cardiology, cardiac surgery, anesthesia, and radiology in addition to staffs from the operating room, cardiac catheterization laboratory and cardiac surgery intensive care unit. The physicians involved with the implantation included Drs. Raymond McKay, Immad Sadiq, Francis Kiernan, David Underhill and Paul Preissler. Echocardiography support was provided by Drs. Donna Polk and Justin Lundbye. Anesthesia performed by Dr. Marbelia Gonzalez. Dr. Robert Spillane from radiology provided preprocedure analysis of the CT scans. These successful procedures were the result of an extensive planning process that began in November. Key members of the team received training at Columbia University in New York in preparation for these procedures.

Medical Staff, Physician’s Groups Boost Most Successful Black & Red

Boosted by strong support from the medical staff and physicians’ groups, Hartford Hospital celebrated its most successful Black & Red ever on February 4 at The Bushnell to benefit Women’s Health Services. Under the leadership of Dr. Joel Sorosky, chair of the Medical Staff Advisory Committee, and Laura Estes, chair of the Community Advisory Committee, the event netted proceeds of more than $800,000, a record for the signature fund-raising event. Those funds will be used to refurbish our Labor & Delivery areas. In a compelling video shown during the event, two patients told powerfully moving stories that reflected on the excellence in the care they received. Among the more than 1,000 guests at the sold-out event were an increasing number of government, community and corporate leaders, including Gov. Dannel Malloy; Liam McGee, chairman and CEO of Hartford Financial Services Group; Walter Harrison, president of the University of Hartford; Senator Richard Blumenthal; Congressman Chris Murphy; Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and others.

$2 Million Gift Will Go To Community Access To Care Fund in Honor of Dr. Bob Siegel

Hartford Hospital will be the beneficiary of a $2,000,000 bequest thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor who cared deeply about removing economic barriers to cancer care, and who admired Dr. Bob Siegel, medical director of cancer clinical research and chair of the Institutional Review Board. The bequest is directed by the donor to the Community Access to Care Fund at Hartford Hospital, a fund she established two years ago with gifts totaling $1 million.

HHC Teams Up With Macy’s To Promote Heart Health

Hartford HealthCare teamed up with Macy’s on Feb. 4-5 to mark “Go Red for Women,” a national campaign designed to empower women to take charge of their heart health. Representatives from Hartford HealthCare representing Hartford Hospital, MidState Medical Center and Hospital of Central Connecticut took more than 700 blood pressure screenings at Macy’s stores inWestfield Mall, Meriden; Westfarms Mall, Farmington; Buckland Hills Mall, Manchester; and Enfield Square Mall over the two days. In addition, the lights on the exterior of the Hartford Hospital façade have been changed to red for the month of February to mark American Heart Month.

6% Malpractice Discount Available Again in 2012 for Completing Risk Management Education

CHS Insurance LTD is continuing participation in the Annual Risk Management Educational Program (RMEP) available to all CHS voluntary attending physicians. In 2011, all CHS voluntary attending physicians were offered a series of live and web-based risk management educational activities, provided by Medical Risk Management. By successfully completing all three components, eligible participants qualified for a credit of 6% on their malpractice insurance premium. In 2011, 67% of eligible CHS voluntary attending physicians successfully qualified for this 6% credit. The RMEP for 2012 begins in April, and we will again be offering a credit of 6% for successful completion.Anyone who is a CHS Insurance policyholder effective January 1 of this policy year is eligible. Anyone who joined the CHS Insurance program after January 1 will be eligible next policy year. Anyone cancelling their CHS Insurance malpractice insurance policy during the year will not be eligible. Please feel free to call 860-920-5475 with any questions. Here is the schedule for the 2012 risk management rounds. You may now RSVP for all live events on the portal.

  • Surgery: April 20, 7-8 a.m., JB-118
  • Leadership: April 26, 4:30-5:30 p.m., JB-118
  • ED: May 2, 12-1:30 p.m., Gilman Auditorium
  • Women’s Health: May 3, 7:30-8:30 a.m., Special Dining Room
  • ED: May 17, 8:15-10 a.m., Dining Room B & C
  • Medicine: May 23, 4:30-6 p.m., Gilman Auditorium
  • Leadership: June 8, 7:30-8:30 a.m., JB-118
  • Surgery: June 25, 5-6 p.m., Gilman Auditorium
  • Medicine: July 18, 4:30-6 p.m., JB-118
  • Psychiatry: TBA

 

Excellence

 

Hartford Hospital’s Fire Documentary Being Use for Fire Safety Training at Dallas Hospital

Parkland Hospital System in Dallas is using the documentary video we produced for the 50th anniversary of the Hartford Hospital fire for fire and safety training for employees. The documentary, "The Hartford Hospital Fire: Inferno on the 9th Floor," premiered on CPTV on Thursday, January 26. “I appreciate you focusing on the devastation of the fire but also talking in regards to how we learned from that fire and through this tragedy how it has saved hundreds of lives through the improvements of code process,” wrote Todd Haines, planning chief/fire protection engineer at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. “Unfortunately it takes a tragedy to learn to improve our services. Thank you again for putting together this piece. You made a documentary not just for the people involved but for fire and safety professionals around the world.” CPTV has posted the documentary online: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5G_LSZg4pj8&list=UUdeV_lmPe3Ne21BmkhTb1xw&index=7&feature=plcp. You can also view it from a link on our facebook page.

 

Care Coordination

 

Dr. John Coen, Radiation Oncologist, Joins HH

Dr. John J. Coen has joined Hartford Hospital as a radiation oncologist. His special expertise is in managing prostate and bladder cancer. He also serves as the principal investigator of a national clinical trial investigating bladder sparing therapy for patients with muscle invasive bladder cancer. Dr. Coen comes to Hartford from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he was an attending physician in radiation oncology and where he completed his residency. He was also an assistant professor in radiation oncology at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Coen completed an internship at the Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. He attended the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester and received his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. Dr. Coen has written or contributed to more than 40 medical publications and has presented at numerous medical conferences worldwide.

Dr. Patrick Troy, Sleep Specialist, Joins HH

Dr. Patrick J. Troy has joined Hartford Hospital as a pulmonologist, specializing in sleep disorders. Dr. Troy comes to Hartford from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, where he was a fellow in its sleep medicine program. Prior to that, he completed fellowships at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, as well as the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Troy trained at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore through its residency and internship programs. He attended the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, and has a master’s degree from Georgetown University in Washington.

 

Operational Update

 

Clean Hands Save Lives
By Dr. Jack Ross, director of infectious diseases

Voltaire said: “No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.”

Hand hygiene is the very cornerstone of infection control and prevention. Proper hand hygiene before and after patient care is the most important intervention for avoiding hospital-acquired infections. Every deviation from doing this most basic of patient safety activities is the potential beginning of the avalanche of health care associated infections that cause harm to our patients.

At Hartford Hospital we are committed to safety at the highest levels. Proper hand hygiene is consistent with our values. It is the safe, right, best and kind thing to do for your patient. It is what you would want for your family members.

Our compliance with hand hygiene has dropped off since the remarkable results in 2008 when it approached 100%. Compliance is never as good as staff believes, and in August 2011, anonymous observers began evaluating our hand hygiene efforts. Our own staff reported compliance rates of 85-91%. In actuality, the rates were less than 30%.

Non compliance with hand hygiene is not acceptable, and there can be no exceptions. We must hold ourselves and each other accountable. You can expect real time feedback from your colleagues and managers. Each H3W dashboard will include hand hygiene compliance monthly. Additional anonymous observers will be utilized.
Our goal is 100% before and after patient care. This is how we will practice. Don’t be the snowflake!

WASH YOUR HANDS – PREVENT INFECTION – JUST DO IT!

New Exchanges For Calling ED From Outside the Hospital

In addition to the previous 545 numbers, there are now two new exchanges available for calling the Emergency Department from outside the hospital: 860-972-xxxx and 860-696-xxxx.  From inside the hospital, the last five digits can be dialed.

New Library Database is Point of Care Resource

“Natural Standard” has been added to our data base resources - http://www.naturalstandard.com, listed under the new category of “Point of Care Resources.” It is accessible from the library Intranet page. The most useful aspect of this resource for treating patients is the “Checkers” tool,  with a drop down menu called “Interactions: Advanced.”  You can put in all known medications and substances that your patient uses in this tool and it will calculate all known interactions and effects. This tool is especially useful for anesthesiologists. All the database resources have been reorganized under new categories:  Point of Care Resources; Premier Literature Search Tools; Books, eBooks, & Journals; and Additional Literature Search Tools. Call Kelly Taylor to see what apps are available for the Point of Care Resources (860 545-2417). Call Sheila Hayes (860 545-2416) if you have any other questions about the Library Internet Site including if you need instruction.

 

HH In the News

 

Hartford Hospital to Pioneer Vascular Research With Hansen Medical Vascular Robotic System
Wall Street Journal MarketWatch, Feb. 9

The Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation (CESI) at Hartford Hospital and Hansen Medical, Inc., a global leader in flexible robotics, announced that the hospital has purchased a preclinical vascular robotic system from Hansen for the purpose of conducting advanced preclinical endovascular research. "We are very pleased with the addition of a Hansen Medical vascular robotic system dedicated to preclinical vascular investigation. This solidifies our position as pioneers in medical training," said Dr. Steven Shichman, medical director of CESI and chair of Peri-operative Services. "It is our intention to create an institutional focus on endovascular and cardiovascular robotics. Our robotic technology capability, which now includes two Sensei robots, has positioned us to become one of the leading endovascular and cardiovascular robotics programs in the world.

23 M&A Deals Reshaping CT’s Healthcare Landscape
Hartford Business Journal, Feb. 13

Merger and acquisition activity in the health care sector proved active in Connecticut last year, with more $7.3 billion worth of deals taking place by insurers, hospitals, and electronic health companies. Overall, 23 health care M&A deals took place in the CT in 2011. The 13 deals that disclosed terms had a value of $7.3 billion. Nationwide, merger and acquisition activity in the health care industry grew 11 percent in 2011, with about 980 deals worth $227.4 billion. Most of the significant transactions came from the managed care sector, as insurance companies continue to diversify ahead of a changing health care landscape. The largest Connecticut transaction was Bloomfield-based Cigna’s acquisition of HealthSprings Inc., a $3.8 billon deal that will give Cigna a large presence in the increasingly lucrative Medicare Advantage business. On the hospital front, Hartford Hospital completed its $27 million acquisition of Newington’s Constitution Eye Surgery Center, giving the hospital a major presence in Greater Hartford’s outpatient ambulatory eye surgery industry. The hospital deals are part of a broader consolidation trend within the industry, and are being driven by declining government reimbursements, pressure to invest huge amounts of capital in technology and infrastructure, and the constantly changing political and regulatory landscape, including the new federal health care reform law. 

Griswold Teen Finds Passion For Medicine After Caring For Sick Mom
Hartford Courant, Feb. 6:

For one Griswold family, a life-threatening illness offered a young boy an unusual opportunity to take control and learn both skills -- and lessons --  beyond his years. Tyler Sudol was 6 when he was told his mother’s kidneys were failing. During one of Cindy's surgeries, Tyler caught the eye of a Hartford Hospital transplant surgeon who was in charge of his mother's care. During visits, Dr. Matthew Brown explained what he was doing and was surprised to learn how much Tyler had taken on. "He was doing things that I didn't think were possible for a boy his age," Brown said. "He wanted to help as much as he could." For Tyler, the experience has had a lasting impact. The 14-year-old High School freshman now has a clear goal -- to become a transplant surgeon, like Brown.

NIH Launches New Website: NIH Clinical Research Trials and You

On February 6, 2012, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched a new website called NIH Clinical Research Trials and You. The site explains the concepts of clinical trials, why they matter, and how to participate. The website makes it easier for the public, as well as health professionals, to learn about clinical trials and how to participate in them. The site allows visitors to search for clinical trials on different diseases that are going on in their local area. For instance, a search for clinical trials in Connecticut that are studying the cancer melanoma produces a list of 11 clinical trials, including one that is still recruiting volunteers and has several trial sites in Connecticut, including Hartford Hospital.

Connecticut National Guard, Hospital Team For Training
Newsday, Feb. 13:

A unit of the Connecticut Army National Guard teamed up with doctors and nurses from Hartford Hospital for a training event this weekend. The exercise began Saturday with a simulated incident near the William A. O'Neill armory in Hartford and ran through Sunday. The 141st Medical Company of New Britain participated in the event focused on patient treatment, evacuation and transportation.

TB Exposure: Questions Remain Over Who Knew About Risk
Hartford Courant, Feb. 6:

A senior official at Charter Oak Health Center offered a sharply different account from that of the health center's top officials about a case of tuberculosis and when it was reported. The official — who asked for anonymity because she said she has been threatened with the loss of her job — said she told CEO Alfreda Turner on or around Dec. 29 that a man who had been a patient at the clinic had tuberculosis and had died. On Friday Nichelle Mullins, senior vice president of compliance and legal affairs for the health center, said that she and Turner first were notified about the patient's situation Thursday, and that they had just begun investigating. She said that the man was at the health center in November, when he coughed up blood. Emergency workers took him to Hartford Hospital. He died of a heart condition in late December. Pino said Hartford Hospital officials didn't know the man had tuberculosis until he was in the intensive care unit.

 

Health Care News In the Region

 

L&M Hospital to Take Closer Look at Possible Purchase of Westerly Hospital the day, Feb. 14

Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London is planning to hire a financial consultant to determine whether it should offer to purchase all or parts of the financially troubled Westerly Hospital. L&M agreed to consider making a purchase offer after two recent meetings with the court-appointed special master overseeing The Westerly Hospital since it entered receivership late last year. Mike O'Farrell, L&M spokesman, said a Feb. 3 announcement that the region's other hospital - The William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich - has begun discussions with Hartford Hospital toward a formal affiliation, "has no direct impact" on L&M's level of interest in The Westerly Hospital.

 

ECHN Showcases Women’s Center for Wellness; New Campus Located in South Windsor
Hartford Courant, Feb. 13

Eastern Connecticut Health Network showcased its commitment to the growing field of women's health during an open house at the newly constructed Women's Center for Wellness. The latest in digital mammography, minimally invasive surgery and alternative therapies including acupuncture and therapeutic massage were among the health-related services outlined Feb. 7 for the public. The center, located in ECHN's three-building campus near the Promenade Shops at Evergreen Walk and which opened in December, puts an array of women's health services under one roof in a more casual setting than a hospital. The center's breast health nurse navigator said that advances in health care allows the center to offer health services that not long ago could only be provided in a hospital. ECHN, a not-for-profit company, arose from the 1995 merger of the corporations that ran Manchester Memorial Hospital in Manchester and Rockville General Hospital in Vernon. Complex medical surgeries, including uterus or breast removals, are still performed in hospital.

NH Hospital Officials Blast For-Profit Cancer Center Bill
New Hampshire Union Leader, Feb. 8

Representatives of NH's major hospitals fought a proposal that could pave the way for for-profit Cancer Treatment Centers of America to come to the state. The bill would create a special “destination cancer hospital” classification, which would be exempt from the state's Certification of Need review process for new hospitals, as well as the Medicaid Enhancement Tax on the grounds that it wouldn't accept Medicaid patients. CTCA is eyeing southern New Hampshire for its first facility in New England. The company operates centers in Illinois, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma. While the bill has the support of the House leadership, backers were far outnumbered at the hearing by executives, doctors and other representatives of the state's major hospitals, along with their lobbyists, who formed a line out the door of the committee room. “We oppose this bill for two main reasons,” said Dr. Alan Hartford, the chief of radiation oncology at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. “The need for comprehensive quality cancer care is already available in New Hampshire, and we take care of patients regardless of their ability to pay.” The hospital representatives also noted that by potentially siphoning off up to 35 percent of patients with the means and insurance to cover its treatment, CTCA would significantly affect its ability to treat all patients and to support cancer research.

 

Coming Events

 

February 21 (Tuesday):
Diabetes Educational Lecture

On behalf of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Lilly USA, LLC you are cordially invited to "A DPP-4 Inhibitor for the Treatment of Adult Patients With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus – 30 Minute Deck" featuring guest speaker Angela G. Younger, APRN, CDE. 6:30 p.m., Peppercorns Grille, Hartford. RSVP by Thurs. Feb. 16 to Nicole Jones, 877-933-4310 x93644

February 23 (Thursday):
Department of Medicine Grand Rounds
Infection Control for Dummies: A Day With the Beeper

Dr. Jack Ross, Jean Horoho, Susan Malo, Diane Pomarico and Joyce Sauve. 8-9 a.m., Gilman Auditorium. We will highlight the importance of Infection Control to protect patients; explain common mistakes with isolation; and examine the practice gap: potential missed opportunities to recognize and isolate inpatients appropriately, avoiding risk to patients and staff.

March 1 (Thursday):
Chip in for a Cure Martini Night

Annual Fundraiser to benefit breast cancer research and education programs at Hartford Hospital. The event will include dinner, dessert, cocktails, live music, a silent auction and a cake auction. 5:30-9 p.m., The Society Room, 31 Pratt St., Hartford.

More events

 

Hot Topics in Healthcare

 

CMS Reveals Central Line Infections Rates, Finally
HealthLeaders Media, Feb. 9

For the first time, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has added to its Hospital Compare website the rates of central line-associated bloodstream infections, or CLABSIs, for specific hospital intensive care units.

Keeping Readmission Rates Low With Treatment Guidelines
HealthLeaders Media, Feb. 13

Low readmission rates are reaching a new level of importance. Beginning in 2013, hospitals with "excess" readmissions will face financial penalties. Those ranking in the highest quartile in the country could lose 1% of their Medicare DRG in the first year, 2% in the second, and 3% in the third. That amounts to about $850 million in the first year. For UPMC Hamot in Erie PA, Lancaster (PA) General, and Indiana University’s Health Ball Memorial Hospital, the key to low readmission rates is the result of a combined effort of treatment guidelines, after-care partnerships, and intensive patient education and follow-up. It's a formula that other organizations can't afford to overlook.

5010 Logjam Means No Pay for Physicians
HealthLeaders Media, Feb. 9

A strange thing is happening as physician practices transition toward HIPAA version 5010 electronic transactions. Docs aren't getting paid. Physicians are flooding their advocacy groups with complaints and questions about "cash flow problems," which have intensified over the past month. Since the mandated transition to HIPAA Version 5010 began Jan. 1, data disruptions, unforeseen rejections of claims, and improper mailings because of address issues have stopped docs from getting paid. Beyond that, communication snafus with clearinghouses and secondary payers have been a problem. These issues are resulting in payments not making it to physician offices. Authorities don't expect any resolution to the issues for weeks. These problems are particularly troubling since cash-strapped physicians are burdened with meeting several other government requirements, including quality reporting, e-prescribing, meaningful use, and of course, ICD-10. Physician groups say that the government needs to take prompt action because physician practices may eventually face delayed revenue and operational difficulties, reduced ability to treat patients, or even the prospect of closing practices.

Truthful Doctors May Prevent Malpractice Suits
HealthLeaders Media, Feb. 16

Doctors are keeping their mistakes under wraps, or performing too many tests or costly procedures to avoid a trip to the courthouse. In a recent survey, 58% of physician leaders said they ordered a test or procedure for primarily defensive medicine reasons in the past year; as many as 20% of physicians won't tell patients about errors because of fear of malpractice litigation; as many as 55% exaggerated or failed to tell patients something about their health because, in part, the physicians didn't want to upset their patients; and at least 1 in 10 physicians told patients something untrue in the past year. More than 60% of physicians aged 55 and older have been sued at least once, according to the American Medical Association. Research shows that physicians should be opening lines of communication with patients, admitting when something goes wrong, and curtailing excessive treatments.

 

Voices Of Our Patients

 

Patient Compliments Drs. Jeffrey Cohen, Peter Schauer, Andy Salner

I support the hospital, especially the Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center, because the care both my significant other and I received was amazing. 

Within two years of each other we were both diagnosed with cancer, each of us requiring surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Had it not been for the skilled staff, our journey through this most frightening life experience would have likely done us both in. 

From the surgery of Dr. Jeff Cohen, to the chemo under Dr. Peter Schauer and the radiation treatment under Dr. Andy Salner (and their respective amazing staff members), right up to today, we feel blessed for the remarkable care we were given at all levels. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Anonymous 

 


The Seymour Street Journal (SSJ) has been developed to communicate key messages pertinent to our hospital’s physicians. It will keep you informed and up-to-date on hospital, network, and health care news in a concise, convenient format. The SSJ will be sent to your preferred e-mail address every other Sunday. Back issues can be viewed here. For any questions or suggestions, please contact Dr. Jeffry Nestler, Medical Staff President, at (860) 836-7313.