Category Archives: Health care

Former Via Christi executive garners national recognition

Saad Ehtisham, former chief nursing officer at Via Christi Hospitals in Wichita, has been named an honoree in Modern Healthcare magazine’s 2012 Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare.

Ehtisham left Via Christi in 2010 to become CEO of University Medical Center in Lebanon, Tenn., in metropolitan Nashville.

Modern Healthcare says it received 144 nominations for this year’s slate of executives. Honorees are selected in part by a demonstration to effect change in the industry, service as a mentor to others in the industry and service as a leader in the industry outside of the organization for which they work.

Kansas Heart Hospital, physician recognized for support of deployed nurse anesthetist

From left, Jeremy Salsbury and Ernie Hoeckel of Kansas Heart Hospital and Jim Wishart of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

Representatives of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve presented an award to Kansas Heart Hospital and anesthesiologist Ernie Hoeckel for their support of a worker who was recently deployed to Afghanistan.

Hoeckel and hospital officials were presented this morning with a Patriot Award for supporting Jeremy Salsbury, a nurse anesthetist who serves as a captain in the Army Reserves. He returned May 4 from a four-month deployment in Kunar Province with the 948th Forward Surgical Team.

Salsbury said the hospital and Hoeckel provided “above and beyond” support to him and his family while he was away, including routinely checking in with his family to see if they needed anything.
“It was very reassuring to me,” Salsbury said.

Hoeckel said it would be impossible not to support Salsbury, who he considers an “A-plus” worker and literally irreplaceable. He also said that the hospital stepped up its support of his small department while Salsbury was away.
“As far as my contribution … I consider it pretty darn minimal,” Hoeckel said.

Doctors want career do-overs

A national study by HCD Research of more than 900 physicians showed that 30 percent of them would choose a new profession if starting over today. Those between 35 and 64 were most likely to say they’d choose differently.

The doctors said negotiated rates and malpractice suits were their top two reasons for doing something different.

The docs didn’t say what they’d rather do – but that might something to spark a conversation next time you’re visiting yours.

Lawrence hospital goes green

Beginning Wednesday, Lawrence Memorial Hospital will sell water in paper cartons rather than bottles to be more environmentally conscious. It says it will be the first hospital in the country to make the switch.

The Lawrence Journal World quotes hospital officials about all the reasons for the switch, including the ease of storing square cartons.

The only downside I can think of: They’ll never fit in car or gym cup holders.

Watch ‘NewsHour’ segment from Wichita

As Carrie Rengers wrote last week and Bill Wilson mentioned on the blog yesterday, PBS’s “NewHour with Jim Lehrer” was in Wichita to do a story on burdens of health care on small businesses and their employees.

It was a well-done piece. A significant amount of the story focused on Tillie’s Flower Shop.

From owner Ken Denton:

For us, for example, the people that had the insurance here are people that really need it. And it’s the older group and it’s a group that utilizes it more than anyone else. And it drives the cost up. And the young people, who don’t necessarily need it, drop out.

If you missed the program, you can view it on the PBS Web site. Here’s a link to the video.

Are free antibiotics good business?

First, Wal-Mart, Target, Dillons and others said they’d offer certain prescription drugs for $4 for a 30-day supply.

The next big marketing move was offering 90-day supplies for $10.

Now comes Giant Food. Through March 21, it’s offering 14-day supplies of the most commonly prescribed generic antibiotics for free. “With cold and flu season in full-swing, we want to do what we can to help keep you and your family feeling your best during the winter months,” the company says.

And to keep you coming back.

Kiplinger’s pick: Galichia Heart Hospital

Galichia Heart Hospital’s discounted fees are getting national attention.

In February, the hospital made news by announcing it would offer heart bypass surgery for a flat fee of $10,000, undercutting other hospitals’ charges by more than $20,000. And in April it treated its first out-of-country patient: a Canadian willing to pay cash for a hip replacement he would have waited months or years for back home.

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine noted those trends in its January issue on saving money. ” Forget traveling abroad to save on medical procedures. A trip to America’s heartland can be just as healthy for your wallet,” the article begins.

Nice to see us getting the attention.

Health care reform, via the Web

Want to weigh in on what health care reform might look like after Jan. 20? More than 4,000 people already have,  including former Sen. Tom Daschle, who will head Health and Human Services. He used a YouTube video on the change.gov Website to get the discussion going.

The site also has a word cloud, which searches for the most commonly used words mentioned in the discussion and arranges them by size according to their frequency. The biggest word on there: “insurance,” which is just a smidge bigger than “health.”

Churchgoers live longer?

There should be some marketing potential here:

People who attend religious services regularly — and denomination didn’t matter — have a 20 percent overall lower risk of death than those who don’t, according to a new study by researchers from Yeshiva University, in the Bronx, and its medical school, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The results are an outgrowth of the Women’s Health Initiative, a long-term study following more than 90,000 women.

Texting, driving don’t mix, doctors say

To be fair, physicians at the semi-annual American Medical Association took on some weightier issues, too. But among the actions they took Monday: Adopting a policy that says text messaging while driving is a public health risk.

They had to vote on that?

“Texting while driving takes the driver’s attention away from the road, which can lead to accidents,” physician Peter Carmel, a AMA board member, said in a news release. “A recent study found that text messaging while driving causes a 400 percent increase in time spent with eyes off the road. No one should have to worry that other drivers are focused on texting instead of traffic. This is about keeping people safe on our roads.”

Health insurance and small business: more money, less coverage

Employer-based health insurance premiums are up 5 percent this year and have more than doubled since 1999 — a growth rate that far outpaces inflation as well as any increase in workers’ wages over the same period, according to an annual employer survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust, which polled nearly 2,000 employers.

The Miami Herald points out that the news is even more stressful for small employers.

Meanwhile, a growing number of workers at smaller firms are getting less coverage for their money as health plans with high deductibles and fewer benefits become more prevalent.

The portion of workers with single coverage who pay a deductible of at least $1,000 has jumped from 10 percent to 18 percent in the past two years. Among smaller firms with three to 199 employees, the rate has more than doubled from 16 percent to 35 percent.

Hospitals warned not to make errors with anticoagulant medications

Anticoagulant medication errors are too prevalent and such a serious safety issue that the Joint Commission today is warning hospitals to pay better attention to how they administer this drug to patients.

Anticoagulants have been identified as one of the top five drug types associated with patient safety incidents in the United States, the commission says.

Among the causes for adverse events is incorrect dosages, food and drug interactions, and poor labeling that lends to confusion and error.

Says the commission:

Anticoagulant medication errors are such a serious patient safety issue that The Joint Commission addresses these types of errors in the 2008 National Patient Safety Goals, with full implementation of the requirements expected by January 1, 2009, for hospitals, outpatient clinics, home care and long term care organizations across the United States.