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

September 30, 2012 Edition


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HH Facts:

1982: In collaboration with Hartford Hospital School of Allied Health and the University of Hartford, the first 4-year baccalaureate program in respiratory therapy was established in Connecticut.

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.

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.

 
In This Issue...
Top News

TODAY is the Deadline: HealthStream Tests Must Be Completed

All employed physicians must compete all of the required HealthStream e-learning each year by September 30. Non-completion carries consequences. Access HealthStream via the intranet.

 

Deadline Is Tomorrow To Apply for Exemptions to Flu Shot Requirement

Those seeking medical or religious exemptions to the flu shot requirement must submit forms by tomorrow, Oct. 1. (Form is available on the HH Intranet homepage under “Employee Flu Prevention Program.”) All staff members are required to get a flu shot by Dec. 1 unless approved for an exemption. Licensed independent practitioners who come on the premises (with any type of staff privilege) must receive a flu shot by Dec. 1, or will have their privileges suspended. (Exempted staff members will have to wear a mask during flu season in any area where they might encounter patients.) This program has the full support of the Medical Staff Leadership.

Free flu shots will be available in the cafeteria on Oct. 23 and 24 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Starting Oct. 25, they will be available to walk-ins in Occupational Health from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. There will be other times and locations for flu shots announced. For more information, please email fluguru@harthosp.org.

 

THIS WEDNESDAY: Retirement Reception for Dr. Hiroyoshi Takata

Wednesday, Oct. 3 from 5:30-7:30 p.m

Heublein Hall in the ERC

A retirement reception will be held to honor Dr. Hiroyoshi Takata for his nearly half a century of service to his patients on Wednesday, Oct. 3 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in Heublein Hall in the ERC. Please make every effort to attend this event to honor this extraordinary and committed member of our medical staff.

 

Harm Reduction Initiative Launched

Hartford Hospital launched an initiative in support of the HHC 2012 Balanced Scorecard initiative focused on harm reduction. As part of a system-wide effort Hartford Hospital is adopting the lessons learned from other high risk industries such as aviation and striving for higher levels of reliability. This work follows an approach adopted at other high performing institutions, starting with an organizational assessment and including both metrics and cultural interventions. This past week a team of individuals reviewed clinical events of the past several years in an effort to identify event rates and underlying themes as part of the assessment phase. During the coming months lessons from the assessment will drive organizational focus and staff training that should ultimately provide an environment in which events and near-misses are not only readily reported, but more importantly, averted through more reliably managed processes. The assessment will be shared with Hartford Hospital leadership on November 1, 2012.

 

Medical Staff Leaders From Throughout HHC Attend Seminar by Horty, Springer & Mattern

More than 130 people from throughout Hartford HealthCare attended a medical staff leadership conference on Sept. 12 at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville. The program was presented by Horty, Springer & Mattern, a Pittsburgh-based law firm that for the past 40 years has devoted its practice exclusively to working with physicians and hospitals regarding health law, health care organizations, national health care policy, education and publishing. Topics included patient safety, credentialing, privileging, peer review, medical staff conduct, health and quality, and health reform.

 

Hand Hygiene Compliance: Room For Improvement Among Physicians

Kudos to the house officers and NP/PAs, who were 100% compliant with hand hygiene guidelines to wash in and out of patient rooms during secret observations from Sept 13-19. Physicians who were observed during that time were 100% compliant when going into a room, but only 69% compliant going out of rooms.

 

Celebration for CESI – Vision of the Future 2014

Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 2 p.m

ERC

Please join us on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 2 p.m. in the ERC to celebrate the State of Connecticut’s $15 million award to Hartford Hospital for the expansion of CESI (Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation). Joining us will be Catherine Smith, Commissioner of the State Department of Economic and Community Development.

 

Renovated Charter Oak Health Center Reopens

There was a ceremonial ribbon cutting to mark the reopening of the renovated Charter Oak Health Center on Sept. 27. Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and Congressman John Larson joined representatives from Hartford Hospital and members of the community in celebrating the importance of the new building and the accessible health services it provides to medically underserved residents of the city of Hartford. Hartford Hospital has been assisting the center in renewing and enhancing its clinical services, laying the groundwork for a stronger future relationship between the hospital and the center.

 

Celebration to Announce Inaugural Partnership Between HH and Magen David Adom

Thursday, October 18, 5-7 p.m.

Heublein Hall

Please join Senator Richard Blumenthal, other dignitaries and Jeff Flaks as we announce the inaugural partnership between Hartford Hospital and Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel's national emergency medical, disaster, ambulance and blood bank service. We will be celebrating the visiting MDA paramedics and the LIFE STAR fellowship program in which they are taking part and the hospital’s existing ties with Tel Hashomer, Israel’s largest hospital. The reception will be held on Thursday, October 18, 5-7 pm, Heublein Hall, Education and Resource Center. .

 

Thanks to the Medical Staff for Supporting the 2012 Annual Campaign

With the end of the fiscal year, we thank the members of the medical staff who supported Hartford Hospital’s 2012 Annual Campaign. Some 170 members of the staff donated nearly $155,000, demonstrating the strength and depth of our personal obligation to the hospital’s long-term vitality. The support of our entire community of friends including directors, corporators, medical staff and employees ensures that we’ll have the critical resources we need – new technology, advanced training for physicians, and enhanced programs and facilities - to best serve our patients. A listing of medical staff donors can be viewed at http://giving.harthosp.org/mdcampaign.

 

HH/HOCC Contract With United HealthCare Due to Expire on Oct. 28

Hartford Hospital and The Hospital of Central Connecticut continue to take steps to help ensure the continuation and transition of patient care should our contract with United HealthCare expire Oct. 28. Although some progress has been made recently, we remain far apart from United on several contract issues. Letters are being sent to patients this week (October 1) to advise them of our status with United and to inform them that operation teams have been established at both hospitals to manage the transition of care should the contract with United expire, which would result in our hospitals’ being out of United’s network. Patients covered under the State of Connecticut health plan will remain in our network and will not be charged out of network rates regardless of the outcome with United. Our letter to patients includes a hotline number (1-888-278-8130) that patients may call with questions and concerns. We also asked patients to complete and return a postcard so we can keep them updated on our hospitals’ relationship with United HealthCare. As always, our top priority is our patients and we will make every possible effort to ensure they receive the best possible and uninterrupted care.

It appears likely the Hartford PHO (HPHO) and United/Oxford will reach agreement on terms for continuation of the physician contract before October 28th, and physicians who are currently participating in that contract will be able to remain in the United/Oxford network through that agreement. If you participate in that contract through the HPHO and have not received the HPHO's recent communications about the requirements for continued participation, please contact the HPHO at (860) 545-5098 or hpho@harthosp.org.

 

28th Annual Cardiovascular Symposium This Thursday

7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Connecticut Convention Center

The Henry Low Heart Center is presenting a one-day symposium on Thursday, Oct. 4, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Connecticut Convention Center. A free all-day shuttle service between Hartford Hospital and the Convention Center will be provided. This year’s sessions will address drug-eluting stents, Vitamin D in heart disease, new treatment strategies for atrial fibrillation and venous disease, diastolic heart failure, pulmonary hypertension and transarterial aortic valve replacement. Dr. Paul Thompson, medical director of cardiology, will deliver welcoming remarks; Dr. Dariush Owlia, clinical cardiology, will deliver opening remarks and introductions; and Dr. James Dougherty, medical director of the cardiac transplant program, will deliver closing remarks. Dr. Robert C. Hagberg, chief of Cardiac Surgery, will speak on new techniques for valve replacement. Guest speakers are: Dr. Renu Virmani, president and medical director of CVPath Institute; Dr. Carl J. Lavie, director of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Prevention at John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute, University of Queensland School of Medicine; Dr. Andrew E. Epstein, professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania; Dr. Samuel Z. Goldhaber, professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and senior staff member at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Dr. William C. Little, chief of Cardiology at Wake Forest Baptist Health and vice chair of Wake Forest School of Medicine; and Dr. Kimberly A. Fisher, assistant professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts and co-director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic at UMass Medical Center. Cost is $75 for physicians and $30 for non-physicians. On-site breakfast, lunch and hospitality breaks are included in the registration fee. Designated for a maximum of six hours AMA PRA Category 1 credit(s)TM. Registration is required: go to www.harthosp.org/cvsymposium. For more information, contact Sharon Ballot at 860-545-1793 or sballot@harthosp.org.

Excellence

Watch “The Doctors” On Tuesday For Segment With Dr. Darren Tishler

Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 5 p.m.

WTIC-TV 61

Hartford Hospital will be featured in an upcoming episode of "The Doctors." The topic of the segment is: The 5 Signs You Might Need Weight Loss Surgery. This show will air on Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 5 p.m. on WTIC-TV 61. It features Hartford Specialist weight loss surgeon Dr. Darren Tishler and our nutritionist Christy Greene.

 

Dr. Neil Yeston Inaugurated as President of NESS

Dr. Neil Yeston, who is on the honorary medical staff in the Department of Surgery at Hartford Hospital, began his term as president of the New England Surgical Society on Sept 23 at the NESS 93rd annual meeting in Rockport, Maine.

 

Advancing Medicine: The Colby Salerno Story Aired Last Week

The ninth episode of Hartford Hospital's Advancing Medicine was shown on on Sept. 27 on WFSB Channel 3. It followed the young man who waited on the 10th floor of Hartford Hospital for a heart. His story captured the nation's attention as he blogged about his journey, capturing every moment - the highs and lows until the day he received what doctors called "the perfect heart." You can view the episode, and past episodes, on our website.

 

Media Relations Director Rebecca Stewart Named One of Hartford’s 40 Under Forty

More than 800 people attended the celebration on September 24 put on by the Hartford Business Journal honoring its "40 under Forty" winners. One of the 40 winners named was Rebecca Stewart, director of Media Relations at Hartford Hospital. The 40 Under Forty Awards recognize outstanding young professionals in the Greater Hartford area that are excelling in their industries through their leadership roles.

 

Innovative and Complex Care

7th Annual Interdisciplinary Transplant Symposium

Thursday, Nov. 1

7:15 a.m.-3:30 p.m. in Heublein Hall

The 7th Annual Hartford Hospital Interdisciplinary Transplant Symposium will be held Thursday, Nov. 1, from 7:15 a.m.-3:30 p.m. in Heublein Hall. The event provides an opportunity for experts in the fields of kidney, liver and heart transplantation to present cutting-edge information to individuals working with transplant recipients and living donors. It also provides an opportunity for individuals interested in transplantation to learn more about this dynamic field. Hartford HealthCare Employees: $25; Non-Hartford HealthCare Employees: $50; Students: $15. Registration is required; go to www.harthosp.org/TransplantSymposium. For more information, contact Janet Linden at 860-972-9953 or Jlinden@harthosp.org.

 

Research and Academics

Surgery Department Makes Multiple Presentations at New England Surgical Society Annual Meeting

Hartford Hospital physicians were well represented with presentations and papers presented by at the New England Surgical Society’s 93rd annual meeting in Rockport, Maine Sept. 21-23:

Dr. Orlando C. Kirton, chief of the Division of General Surgery; Dawn Filippa, surgical simulation coordinator and education specialist; Dr. Ilene Staff, senior scientist in the Research Program; Dr. Karyl Burns, research scientist in Trauma/Emergency Medicine; and Rekha Singh from the Hospital of Central Connecticut presented Implementation of a Bootcamp Curriculum to Address Competency under the new ACGME Supervision Requirements and Duty Hour Restrictions.

Dr. Rocco Orlando, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Hartford HealthCare, participated in a specialty group breakfast discussion on Transition to EMR.

• Drs. Pavlos Papasavas, director of Surgical Research, and Darren Tishler, director of the Bariatric Surgery Program, presented Gastric Bypass Surgery as a Primary Treatment of Recalcitrant Gastroparesis.

• Dr. Lenworth Jacobs, vice president of Academic Affairs, chief academic officer and director of Trauma, participated in a specialty group breakfast discussion on Maintenance of Certification, including new developments for Part II and Part IV requirements. Dr. Jacobs was also on the faculty of a panel discussion called Are Surgery Residents Ready to Enter the Workforce?

• Dr. Jacobs and Dr. D'Andrea Joseph, trauma surgeon, presented Successful Non-operative Management Of The Most Severe Blunt Renal Injuries: A Multicenter Study Of The Research Consortium Of New England Centers For Trauma (ReCONECT).

Dr. D'Andrea Joseph, surgeon; Dr. Anastasia Kunac, surgeon; Dr. Robert Brautigam, Surgical Critical Care; DeLinda Wills, Kristine Kelliher, Kevin Modeste, and Karyn Butler presented The VAP Bundle is not Enough: Mitigating the Risk of Frequent Intra-Hospital Transports From the ICU.

 

Care Coordination

New Admitting Procedure for Emergency Department Patients

Beginning November 1

The Admitting Officer of the Day (AOD) call team met with leadership from the ED and several other Departments to discuss our experience with the determination of service placement for patients admitted from the Emergency Department. Our experience over the past few years has substantiated the belief that the service selection done by the Emergency Department Attending Staff is only rarely different from the ultimate selection following engagement of the AOD. While we have seen some drop in the number of calls to the AOD over the years, there continues to be significant delays in final decisions being made which translates into longer stays in the ED (even when beds are readily available), increasing patient dissatisfaction, and less efficient use of valuable ED resources especially physician time taken away from direct patient care.

We therefore are recommending the following decision process to begin November 1, 2012 with reevaluation prospectively over the following months:

For patients in the Hartford Hospital Emergency Department deemed appropriate for admission by the ED staff, the final service placement decision will be made by the ED Attending on duty. As is currently the situation, this will take place following evaluation of the patient and discussion with the receiving service clinical staff. If there is need to engage representatives from other services, that may be done by the Attending initially selected as the Admitting Service. He/she will need to secure agreement for admission to another service and report back to the ED within 30 minutes. If consensus is not achieved, the ED Attending will hold the authority to make the final decision. If a second opinion is desired, the Senior Attending in the ED can be asked to review the case. If further testing is recommended by the proposed Admitting Service this can be done if the ED Attending is in full agreement at the time. Again, the Senior Attending in the ED can be consulted if there is a disagreement about the need for urgent additional testing to assist in the triage decision. There should be no need to engage the AOD in any of these situations.

If after admission and assessment, it is felt that the patient is best served on a different service, that transfer should be arranged per existing guidelines. Since most of these resultant transfers will occur during standard daily work hours and after the patient has been placed on an inpatient unit, any conflicts should be brought directly to the Division or Department Chiefs for resolution.

We are hopeful that abiding by this procedure we will make the most efficient use of all our resources collectively. We recognize that in a very small percentage of cases, a change of service may be needed and are seeking your cooperation and understanding in these situations.

P.S. This procedure does not apply to interhospital direct transfers (IP to IP or ED to IP) These will continue to work through the Transfer Center as we streamline those processes working towards a Just Say Yes policy.

Operational Update

United Way Campaign Wraps Up This Week

Runs to Oct. 5

The United Way campaign runs from Sept. 10 to Oct. 5. Dr. John Greene is the physician liaison. Our campaign pledge goal is $230,000 and our participation goal is 35%. Pledging is easy using our eWay pledge site, or using a paper form available through your campaign champion or department head. There are many incentive prizes. Information can be found at: http://intranet.harthosp.org/unitedway.htm.

 

Security Drill For Armed Intruder Scheduled; Remember Grey and Silver Alerts

Oct. 18 from 10:30 a.m.-2:15 p.m.

There will be a security drill full scale exercise with an active shooter on Thursday, Oct. 18 from 10:30 a.m.-2:15 p.m. In preparation for this event, we’d like to remind all physicians about the alerts that signal emergency situations in the hospital, and what to do if you hear them. Two announcements that let you know of violent or potentially violent emergencies are Grey Alert and Silver Alert.

If you hear an announcement of “GREY ALERT,” it means there is an emergency situation with the potential for violence. The announcement of “SILVER ALERT” means there is an emergency situation with an armed intruder or an active shooter. If you hear either announcement, “Grey Alert” or “Silver Alert” in a certain location, stay way from that area until you hear that the alert has been cleared. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the units on which you work, and know where the safety plan is kept and which doors lock.

 

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Medical Record Documentation Requirements

Below are key documentation requirements that the Joint commission expects us to adhere to when documenting in the medical record. An ongoing review of medical records is conducted to measure the presence of information, timeliness, legibility, accuracy, authentication, and completeness of data and information. Please refer any questions to Holly Stepensky, Regulatory Documentation Manager, at 860-972-4387.

• All entries in the Medical Record must be:
1. completed only by authorized individuals;
2. on approved clinical record form(s) with the patient’s full name, medical record number and account numbers on both sides of the form(s);
3. legible;
4. typewritten or written in black or dark blue ink;
5. recorded with the date and time of the entry; and
6. signed with a legal signature of the individual who made the entry.

• They must be in chronological order, without leaving blank lines or spaces or writing in the margins on paper forms. A single diagonal line should be drawn through a blank section of a form to indicate that no additional entries are permitted. All orders, including verbal orders, are dated, timed and authenticated by the ordering practitioner or another practitioner who is responsible for the care of the patient and authorized to write orders. All medical records must be completed within 30 days of discharge.

• A History & Physical Exam (H&P) must be recorded within 24 hours of the patient’s admission, or performed no earlier than 30 days prior to admission. When an H&P is completed within 30 days before admission, an updated medical record entry documenting an examination for any changes in the patient’s condition is placed in the patient’s medical record within 24 hours after admission and always prior to surgery. If upon examination, there is no change in the patient’s condition since their H&P, the health care provider will indicate in the medical record that the H&P was reviewed, patient examined and that no change has occurred.

• When a full operative report cannot be entered immediately into the patient’s medical record after the procedure, a brief operative note is required which must include the name of the surgeon(s), assistant(s), procedure performed, finding, estimated blood loss, specimens removed and post-operative diagnosis. Discharge summary must include the reason for hospitalization, procedures performed, the care, treatment and services provided, patient’s condition and disposition at discharge, information provided to the patient and family and provisions for follow-up care.

 

Don’t Use Prohibited Abbreviations or Acronyms in Orders or Records

A prohibited list of abbreviations, acronyms, symbols, and dose designations have been issued by the Joint Commission which has been incorporated into Hartford Hospital’s Approved and Unapproved Medical Abbreviations Policy. The Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee also added abbreviations that are likely to be mistaken for other drugs. The unapproved list below applies to all orders and all medication-related documentation when handwritten or entered as free text into a computer. Our goal is to reduce errors and foster clarity of written communication. The HIM Department is monitoring the use of unapproved abbreviations and reporting their findings monthly to the appropriate managers and chiefs for follow-up. Remember:
• The use of abbreviations should be kept to a minimum.
• Only approved abbreviations and symbols shall be used in making data entries in the medical record.
• Because some abbreviations may have multiple meanings, the abbreviation should be taken in the context of the hospital services being rendered.
• Reminders with the most commonly used unapproved abbreviations have been placed on pre-printed forms such as the progress note, consultation report, and the History & Physical Examination form.

Hartford Hospital’s unapproved abbreviations are listed below:

Abbreviation or Dose Expression Intended Meaning USE INSTEAD:
Ug Microgram “mcg”
U or u
Unit No acceptable abbreviation – spell out “unit”
IU International Unit Use “international unit”
Trailing zero (1.0 mg) 1 mg Do not use terminal zeros for doses expressed in whole numbers (1 mg)
Lack of leading zero (.5 mg) 0.5 mg Always use zero before a decimal when the dose is less than a whole unit (0.5 mg)
QD, Q.D., qd, q.d., QOD, Q.O.D., qod, q.o.d. Varies Write out “daily” or “every other day”
Epi Epinephrine Spell out complete drug name (can be misinterpreted as epidural)
Levo Levophed Spell out complete drug name (can be misinterpreted as Levaquin or levodopa)
MS04, MgS04, MS Varies Spell out complete drug name (unclear whether it is magnesium sulfate or morphine sulfate)
Neo Neosynephrine Spell out complete drug name (can be misinterpreted as neostigmine)
Nitro Nitro-glycerine Spell out complete drug name (can be misinterpreted as nitroprusside)

 

 
HH In the News

Breast Cancer Treatment Is Over But How Do You Get Back To Normal?

Hartford Courant, Sept. 30

A diagnosis of breast cancer often leads to a treatment plan that includes surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation and frequent check-ups. As the treatment takes place over time, a routine develops. But what happens — and what should a patient do —– once the treatment ends?

"There is the common misconception by someone who hasn't dealt with breast cancer that you go out to the parking lot and pop open the champagne," says Lisa Graziano, manager of the Breast Cancer Survivorship Patient Navigator Program at the Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center at Hartford Hospital. "It should be a happy day, but now there's anxiety —– I still don't feel well, I still have scars, I'm depressed, I'm afraid that the cancer will come back."
For some, the future can seem bewildering and, in some cases, frightening. "When people go through surgery and chemotherapy and radiation, they come to the center every day and attach themselves to a team," says Dr. Andrew Salner, director of the Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center at Hartford Hospital. "Then, we pull the rug out and say, 'See you in six months.'"

"Those people have needs," Salner says of the two-thirds of patients who survive cancer. The hospital has found a way to help patients deal with life after treatment for breast cancer. In 2008, the care center received a grant from the Lance Armstrong Foundation to develop a Patient Survivorship program. Through the program, breast cancer patients who were treated at Hartford Hospital can get a coordinated, personalized after-care plan. Participation in the program is voluntary, but every breast cancer patient is invited to meet with a nurse practitioner and receive a treatment summary and a wellness plan.

 

Gift Pays Tribute To Hartford Hospital Cardiovascular Surgeon

Hartford Courant, Sept. 26

Through nearly a half-century of service to Hartford Hospital, Dr. Hiroyoshi Takata has touched many families and saved countless lives throughout his career. One of his patients was Jane Lublin of Avon. The Lublin family wanted to honor Dr. Takata and his work, and have made a $25,000 donation to Hartford Hospital in his honor. The gift helped establish the Hiroyoshi Takata, MD Fund for Cardiovascular Surgery.

In the HHC System

Annual cancer survivors' event in Meriden turns 10

Meriden Record Journal, Sept. 9

Cancer survivors celebrated life Sunday at MidState Medical Center’s 10th annual Cancer Survivors’ Day at Hubbard Park. For the past decade, MidState Medical Center has sponsored the event for past and current cancer patients. The event acknowledges people’s struggles with the disease and helps them move on. “We’re helping people realize they’re not alone,” said Gary Tansino, medical director for oncology at MidState.

 

Health Care News In the Region

Urgent Care Fills Niche Between Primary Care and the ER

Suffield Patch, Sept. 27

New England Urgent Care owner says his business efficiently treats injuries and illnesses which might otherwise result in a costly and lengthy emergency room visit. They are located in Enfield and West Hartford, and will soon open in Simsbury. “We're trying to cultivate an environment that is warm, friendly, and service-oriented, yet also efficient and competent," said Dr. Michael Gutman, owner and Medical Director of New England Urgent Care. Sometimes patients really do need to be admitted to a hospital, or receive testing or services for which New England Urgent Care is not equipped. For those cases, Gutman has a partnership with St. Francis Hospital which "lubricates the process" of getting treatment in a hospital setting. His patients can completely bypass the waiting room at the St. Francis emergency department. New England Urgent Care will also interact with other local hospitals, depending on the nature of the situation and the affiliation of the patient's other doctors.

 

Curbing Hospital Readmissions Vital

Hartford Courant, Sept. 21

By Thomas P. Meehan, M.D., chief medical officer of Qualidigm, a not-for-profit organization

Recent headlines about high readmission rates forcing 2,200 hospitals nationwide to forfeit Medicare funds for patients who are readmitted to hospitals raises the questions: Can hospital readmission rates be reduced? And if so, how? As Connecticut's Quality Improvement Organization, Qualidigm is responsible for improving the care received by the state's Medicare beneficiaries. We know that historically, one in five Medicare beneficiaries are readmitted to a hospital within 30 days of their initial discharge and that many of these readmissions are preventable. Readmissions impact the quality of life of patients and burden our health care system. But can this pattern of high hospital readmission rates be changed? The answer is an emphatic 'yes.' In fact, there is a growing movement in Connecticut to address this problem at the community level, rather than just at the hospital. This is because patients move among a variety of health care providers and settings after they leave the hospital — nursing homes, their own homes with or without home health care assistance, being cared for by their physicians in their office practices — and they interact with a variety of health care and social service workers as they make these transitions. Each step of a patient's journey carries the potential of a transfer of information that does not include data critical to continue the patient's care or a poor hand-off process from one health care provider to another. The most important aspect of this transition process is to be aware that it takes more than one health care provider to make it successful — it takes a community of providers working together to make it happen.

 

Winners in the health care sector: helping workers adapt

Hartford Courant, Sept. 20

Health care has remained a bright spot in a sluggish job market, thanks in part to an aging population as well as health care reform measures that require new technologies, training and education. Connecticut health-related companies are marching forward to meet those needs. James Cox-Chapman, chief medical officer of Farmington-based ProHealth Physicians, said he has seen more change in the industry in past three years than in the previous 24 years. And it is evident from this year's results in the Top Workplaces competition that health care-related companies in Connecticut are great places to work. Eleven of the 50 companies recognized this year are related to the health care industry and two received special awards. As the industry expands, it has diversified, creating more tightly focused workplaces. For example, many pediatric specialists have consolidated at Connecticut Children's Medical Center, a free-standing children's hospital in Hartford.

Coming Events

Oct. 3 (Wednesday):

Retirement Reception for Dr. Hiroyoshi Takata

Heublein Hall

A retirement reception will be held to honor Dr. Hiroyoshi Takata for his nearly half a century of service to his patients on Wednesday, Oct. 3 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Heublein Hall in the Education Resource Center. Remarks and presentation at 6 p.m.

 

Oct. 9 (Tuesday):

Celebration for CESI – Vision of the Future 2014

ERC

Please join us on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 2 p.m. in the ERC to celebrate the State of Connecticut’s $15 million award to Hartford Hospital for the expansion of CESI (Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation). Joining us will be Catherine Smith, Commissioner of the State Department of Economic and Community Development.

 

Oct. 12 (Friday):

PIP OPEN Golf Tournament and Dinner

Tunxis Plantation

The 10th Annual PIP Open Golf Tournament and Dinner will take place on Friday, October 12 from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Tunxis Plantation Golf Course and will benefit the Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center and the Henry Low Catheterization Lab. $175 per golfer and $50 for dinner. Registration required by Oct. 6.For more information and to register visit: www.pipopengolf.com

 

For more coming events, click here.

Hot Topics in Healthcare

New System for Patients to Report Medical Mistakes

The New York Times, Sept. 22

The Obama administration wants consumers to report medical mistakes and unsafe practices by doctors, hospitals, pharmacists and others who provide treatment. Hospitals say they are receptive to the idea, despite concerns about malpractice liability and possible financial penalties for poor performance. Federal officials say that medical mistakes often go unreported, and that patients have potentially useful information that could expose reasons for drug mix-ups, surgery on the wrong body part, radiation overdoses and myriad other problems that cause injuries, infections and tens of thousands of deaths each year. Hospitals and even some doctors say the proposal has merit.

 

Mandatory Flu Shots Mean You're Serious About Patient Safety

Health Leaders Media, Sept. 21

Here's an easy opportunity to lead. Develop an iron-clad flu vaccination policy, and require your employees to get vaccinated unless they have a legitimate religious or medical exemption. Sound draconian? To many, it once did. But in today's healthcare environment, we're supposed to be about putting patients first. If a particular treatment proves more efficacious than another, or more efficacious than no treatment at all, it should be implemented outside any countervailing evidence. The only reason requiring flu vaccination is perceived as different is that it involves medical treatment for the people providing the healthcare, whereas, in most cases, it deals with the people who are receiving it. That's not a good enough reason not to do this.

 

Voices Of Our Patients

Kudos to Dr. Kirk Watson

I would like you and the staff of the Orthopedics unit (Conklin Building, 6th floor) to know that their skill, dedication and kindness during my stay following hand surgery were not only appreciated but were critical in my recovery.
Throughout my stay, the nurses, aides, and ALL other hospital staff were attentive to my medication, wound care and other medical needs. They also took the time to speak with me on a personal level, ask about my job and family, and shared stories about their own lives which left me feeling connected and reassured.
One young aide even helped me set up my Internet connection via your WiFi service, so that I could work from my room -- a small act of kindness that made a huge difference in my peace of mind.
I’m now returning to work in my art studio, happy and productive, thanks to the tremendous skill of Dr. Kirk Watson and his colleagues from the Hand Center, AND the care I received while at Hartford Hospital.
I owe all the staff there on the Orthopedics floor where I stayed my heartfelt gratitude. Many thanks and may God bless you in your work.
Sincerely,
Wendy West

 

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.