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UPDATED BY MARIA SIEVERDING JANUARY 17, 2017 1 P.M.
Local Bulletin Board
Large rummage sale
COMING EVENT: St. John’s Catholic Church in Osgood will have a rummage sale Thursday, Jan. 26 from 1 – 6 p.m., Friday, Jan. 27 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, Jan. 28 from 8 a.m. until noon. The church is located at 331 S. Buckeye St., Osgood.
Call 812-689-6364 to learn how you can get a free listing in the Coming Events featured in The Versailles Republican.
UPDATED BY MARIA SIEVERDING JANUARY 17, 2017 1 P.M.
Thinking about Health
Hospitals are penalized for harming patients
By Trudy Lieberman
RURAL HEALTH NEWS SERVICE
Anyone facing a hospital stay for themselves or a family member should look at new data the government released right before Christmas showing that it (click here for hospital data)
penalized 769 of the nation’s hospitals for having high rates of patient injuries. The monetary penalties – a reduction for the year in their reimbursement for treating Medicare patients – do bite. Larger teaching hospitals could lose as much as $1 million or more.
This is the third year the government has penalized hospitals in an effort to prevent avoidable patient deaths in hospitals, which emerged as a big issue about 18 years ago. This year the government added injuries caused by MRSA and C diff infections to their list of other harmful conditions patients contract in a hospital such as urinary tract and surgical site infections resulting from hysterectomies and colon procedures. MRSA – a staphylococcus bacterium - can cause pneumonia and bloodstream infections. C diff is a germ that can multiply in the gut when patients are taking other antibiotics to kill other germs.
While some facilities like those serving children and psychiatric patients and critical care hospitals are exempt from penalties, this year’s data show that more than 200 facilities, including some of the nation’s most well-known hospitals, have the dubious distinction of being on the government’s penalty list for all three years. They include the Cleveland Clinic, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago and Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The message for patients: A hospital’s TV advertising campaign for its great cancer care may obscure significant safety issues.
Have penalties and other harm reduction initiatives made hospital care safer?
This time 347 hospitals penalized last year are not on the bad-guy list, which shows that some are paying attention. But hospital injuries have not vanished. The federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality says there were 3.8 million hospital injuries last year. That translates to 115 injuries per 1,000 patient stays.
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria infect some two million people annually. One quarter of a million cases occur in hospitals. I wanted to know why more progress hasn’t been made. While the new government data reflect improvements at many hospitals, why is there still such a long way to go? I rang up Lisa McGiffert, the head of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project who has been a leading voice since 2004 to bring attention to infections and medical errors. She told me there’s been a significant shift in the way hospitals view infections. Twelve years ago they used to say they were not preventable. “Now, most people in healthcare believe most infections are.” In the early days of her campaign, government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were reluctant to back public reporting of hospital mistakes and other data to help patients. Now they support it. Still, she says, “what I am most frustrated about is the lack of urgency in the country and at the agencies for eliminating these infections. They are aware of them, but there’s not a sense of urgency to stop them.”
The financial penalties levied by the Medicare agency have made a significant difference because they get the hospital CEO’s attention. Unless the CEO is involved, change is not going to happen. But, the penalties along with the entire program to eliminate hospital-acquired conditions were authorized under the Affordable Care Act. They could be in jeopardy if the law is repealed. Some hospitals probably would be happy if they disappeared.
Patients need to make use of the data that is available and study it to inform their decisions about where to go for care when they have a choice. McGiffert advises looking at how your hospital compares to similar facilities. Look for improvement. If a hospital was penalized the first or second year of the program but not this year, that indicates it could be serious about safety. Also look to see if a facility’s scores are moving in the right direction. If the numbers show they are not performing as well on some dimension as they previously were, patients need to ask why. Some states and some hospitals are using other strategies. Illinois and California, for example, have passed legislation that requires hospitals to screen for MRSA when patients are admitted. Some hospitals have stewardship programs to address the overuse of antibiotics, which contributes to drug resistance.
To start learning about your hospital, consult the government’s Hospital Compare website https://www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare/search.html
. Follow the prompts to find the hospital you are looking for and then search the tabs for “complications.” This will let you look at actual numbers to help you see how your hospital is doing.
What experience have you had with patient harm in a hospital? Write to Trudy at firstname.lastname@example.org
House Pages gain hands-on experience, government involvement
By Randy Frye
INDIANA STATE REPRESENTATIVE
The Indiana House of Representatives offers a hands-on learning experience through its Page program. This program helps our young Hoosiers understand how laws are made in Indiana. To be a Page, applicants should be between the ages of 13 and 18, which is typically grades 6-12. I welcome larger groups like our local FFA members and boy and girl scouts to come serve as pages as well.
Students participating in this interactive educational experience receive an excused absence from school. While at the Statehouse, House Pages tour historical sites like the House and Senate chambers, the Indiana Supreme Court and the governor’s office. They will also be present on the House floor when the legislative session comes to order and be able to observe parliamentary procedure in action while listening to debates on important public policy issues. Pages are also assigned age-appropriate tasks like delivering important messages and sorting files. It’s always one of my favorites days when I get to interact with students from our community.
Pages can come to the Statehouse from January to the end of April while the General Assembly is in session. House Pages are scheduled for Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Large groups like FFA clubs may be scheduled on Wednesdays. We also try to schedule participating siblings and friends together, so please be sure to note that preference when signing up. The day typically starts at 8:30 a.m. with registration and orientation, with dismissal at 3:30 p.m. Lunch is supervised in the Government Center cafeteria. The 2017 session kicked-off Jan. 4, and page positions fill quickly. Please be sure to sign up early.
To apply visit www.indianahouserepublicans.com/page-program
. You can also contact my office at 317-234-3847 or email at email@example.com
This program is a great opportunity for the young folks in our community to learn about the Indiana General Assembly, and I always enjoy meeting our future leaders. I look forward to welcoming students to the Statehouse during the 2017 legislative session.
State Rep. Frye (R-Greensburg) represents House District 67, which includes Ohio, Ripley and Switzerland counties, as well as portions of Decatur, Jennings, Jefferson and Dearborn counties.