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ASHE names 2014 Excellence in Health Care Facility Management winner   10/24/2014
The AHA’s American Society for Healthcare Engineering yesterday congratulated Beebe Healthcare in Lewes, DE, for winning the 2014 Excellence in Health Care Facility Management award for its comprehensive spreadsheet tool to track compliance information during environmental tours. The award, sponsored by Trane, recognizes an individual or facility management department that has implemented new or innovative programs or processes. The award will be presented later this month at ASHE’s Leadership Institute in Arizona. For more information, see the news release. ASHE is an AHA personal membership group.
CDC issues dialysis guidance for hospital patients with Ebola   10/24/2014
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday issued recommendations for safely performing acute hemodialysis in U.S. hospital patients with Ebola. Acute renal failure requiring renal replacement therapy can occur in critically ill patients infected with Ebola virus. According to the guidance, inpatient care of patients with Ebola should be provided in a hospital with capacity to perform Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy, and should only be performed in the patient’s isolation room. “A hemodialysis/CRRT machine should be dedicated for use on the patient and kept in the isolation room until terminal disinfection procedures are undertaken,” the guidance states. “All other dialysis-related supplies, including the dialyzer, should be disposed of after use in accordance with local, state, and federal regulations.” The new guidance should be implemented with the precautions in CDC’s previous infection prevention and control guidance for hospitalized patients with known or suspected Ebola, the agency said.
CMS call Wednesday on IRF quality reporting program   10/24/2014
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will host a Special Open Door Forum call Oct. 29 on the inpatient rehabilitation facility quality reporting system. The call, at 1 p.m. Eastern Time, will review data collection and submission for two new quality measures – Facility-wide Inpatient Hospital-onset Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Bacteremia Outcome Measure (NQF #1716) and Facility-wide Inpatient Hospital-onset Clostridium difficile Infection (CDI) Outcome Measure (NQF #1717). The measures were finalized for the IRF Quality Reporting Program in the fiscal year 2015 IRF final payment rule; reporting is required for all IRFs beginning on Jan. 1, 2015. See the announcement for further call details.
Dallas hospital shares 'lessons learned' on Ebola   10/24/2014
Texas Health Resources this week shared their lessons learned on Ebola with health care leaders. “As the first hospital to diagnose and treat Ebola on U.S. soil, we know we have seen and experienced what no other hospital has,” said Barclay Berdan, CEO of Texas Health Resources, the health system that includes Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. “We know that sharing our expertise may help to save lives, and we are eager to help hospitals learn.” Leaders from Texas Health Resources shared these and many other initial lessons with more than 1,200 health care professionals from hospitals across the country on an Oct. 22 conference call hosted by the AHA and in a webinar with the AHA and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
Dallas nurse free of Ebola, released from hospital   10/24/2014
Nina Pham, one of two nurses exposed to Ebola while treating a patient in Dallas, has been declared free of the disease and was discharged today from the Special Clinical Studies Unit at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD. “I feel fortunate and blessed to be standing here today,” Pham said. “I would first and foremost like to thank God, my family, and friends. Throughout this ordeal, I have put my trust in God and my medical team. I am on my way back to recovery, even as I reflect on how many others have not been so fortunate. Of course I am so incredibly thankful for everyone involved in my care from the moment I became ill and was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas up to today and my discharge from the Clinical Research Center of NIH. I would especially like to thank Dr. Kent Brantly for his selfless act of donating plasma to me. As a nurse, I have a special appreciation for the care I have received from so many people. Not just doctors and nurses, but the entire support team.” Click here to view video from NBC News of Pham’s remarks upon leaving NIH. The other nurse, Amber Vinson, is also showing no trace of Ebola in her blood but continues to receive treatment at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
House committee holds hearing on coordinating agency Ebola response   10/24/2014
The House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform today held a hearing on coordination of the nation’s response to Ebola. In a joint statement submitted for the record, the AHA, American Medical Association and American Nurses Association stressed collaboration in the fight against Ebola. “Hospitals, physicians, and nurses have the same goals in addressing any Ebola case: to ensure that all hospital and clinical staff are able to safely provide high-quality, appropriate, patient care,” the organizations said. Witnesses at the hearing included Nicole Lurie, M.D., assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as representatives from the departments of Defense and Homeland Security; a non-governmental organization treating Ebola patients in West Africa; and a nursing union.
Leapfrog posts confidential updated safety grades for hospitals   10/24/2014
The Leapfrog Group today posted for hospitals' review letter grades associated with the updated hospital safety scores it plans to release to the public on Oct. 29. Critical access hospitals, Maryland hospitals, specialty hospitals, mental health hospitals, pediatric hospitals and federal hospitals are excluded from the grades and scores. All other hospitals are urged to review their updated scores and grades at www.leapfroggroup.org/data-validation/validation-login. For assistance, contact the Hospital Safety Score Help Desk at https://leapfrogscore.zendesk.com.
NYC doctor hospitalized for Ebola   10/24/2014
A doctor in New York City has tested positive for Ebola, city officials announced late yesterday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the diagnosis today. The doctor, Craig Spencer, returned to New York on Oct. 17 after treating Ebola patients in Guinea with Doctors Without Borders. He yesterday reported having a fever and was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center by specially trained emergency medical service workers who followed all transport protocols, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference last night. Spencer is being treated in isolation at Bellevue, one of eight hospitals in the state that the governor has designated to treat potential Ebola patients. “The health department has a team of disease detectives, who have been at work tracing all of the patient’s contacts, and we are prepared to quarantine contacts as necessary,” de Blasio said. At least three people who had contact with Spencer have been quarantined. On Monday, the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Earth Institute in New York will webcast an educational conference on Ebola.
ONC leader to assist HHS secretary on Ebola, other public health issues   10/24/2014
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell has asked National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo, M.D., to serve as Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, effective immediately. In the new role, DeSalvo will work with the secretary on pressing public health issues and become part of the department’s team responding to Ebola. “Dr. DeSalvo has deep roots and a belief in public health and its critical value in assuring the health of everyone, not only in crisis, but every day,” an HHS spokesman said in an email confirming the assignment for AHA News Now. “Lisa Lewis, ONC’s chief operating officer, will serve as the Acting National Coordinator. However, Dr. DeSalvo will continue to support the work of ONC while she is at OASH.” Deputy National Coordinator Jacob Reider also plans to leave ONC in late November, the agency confirmed.
CMS announces funding for learning networks to transform clinical practice   10/23/2014
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today announced the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative, which will provide up to $840 million over four years to help 150,000 clinicians improve patient outcomes and lower costs for Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program enrollees. Through a multi-pronged approach to technical assistance, the initiative will identify existing health care delivery models that work and rapidly spread these models to other health care providers and clinicians, the agency said. As part of the initiative, CMS expects to award up to $670 million to networks formed by hospital and health systems, large group practices and others to help clinician practices transform; and up to $30 million to networks formed by professional and other organizations to support the transformation networks and practices. Letters of Intent to apply for the network cooperative agreements are due Nov. 20, and applications are due Jan. 6. For more information, see the CMS factsheet.