(Click to read AHA News newspaper stories)





Trying to find a story from a past AHA NewsNow? Use the button below to search the NewsNow archives by date or key word.

AHA, nursing groups collaborate to protect patients and hospital workers   10/20/2014
In an AHA Stat blog post yesterday, AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock discussed how hospitals are working to keep staff safe. “The evolution of our knowledge about Ebola, based on the experiences of the brave nurses, doctors and other caregivers who have cared for patients, is leading to better protocols for all hospitals,” he wrote. “Nurses with their expertise are an integral part of putting the best protocols into practice in order to keep our patients and the health care workforce safe. The AHA is urging hospitals to use all the resources at their disposal to ensure that they train their nurses and staff and are drilling again and again on the entire course of care from diagnosis to final waste disposal, using the same equipment on which they will rely in order to safeguard their staff, patients and communities.” Also yesterday, the AHA’s American Organization of Nurse Executives joined with the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses and Emergency Nurses Association in urging their members to collaborate in identifying resource and system gaps that have potential to harm patients or caregivers, and work together to put solutions in place to prevent the spread of the disease. The AHA, American Medical Association and American Nurses Association also have pledged to collaborate in the fight against Ebola. For the latest Ebola preparedness resources, visit www.cdc.gov and www.aha.org/ebola.
CMS call next week on Certified EHR Technology Flexibility Rule   10/20/2014
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will host an Oct. 30 National Provider Call on the 2014 Certified Electronic Health Record Technology Flexibility Rule. The call will review how eligible professionals and hospitals can use the rule's flexibility to earn EHR meaningful use incentives for 2014 and avoid future penalties. To register for the call, from 2-3 p.m. ET, click here. For more on the rule, see the recent AHA Regulatory Advisory for members.
DEA clarifies regulation on disposal of controlled substances   10/20/2014
Responding to concerns raised by the AHA and others, the Drug Enforcement Administration late Friday clarified requirements of its recent final regulation for disposal of controlled substances. In a letter to practitioners, DEA said that the regulation was intended to cover disposal of unwanted controlled substances from a provider’s inventory, not small amounts of unwanted controlled substances left over after treatment of a patient. “[O]nce a controlled substance has been dispensed to a patient … the substance is no longer in the practitioner’s inventory,” DEA said. The AHA and eight other national hospital organizations Oct. 6 told the DEA that its regulation raised serious health and safety concerns for hospital staff and patients, and would be enormously costly and burdensome to implement. AHA members today received a Special Bulletin with more information on the issue.
DoD to train medical support team for U.S.   10/20/2014
In response to a request by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense will train a 30-person medical support team that could provide short-notice assistance to civilian medical professionals in the United States if required, the agency said yesterday. The team will consist of 20 critical care nurses, five doctors trained in infectious disease, and five trainers in infectious disease protocols. Beginning in the next week or so, team members will be sent to Fort Sam Houston in Texas for up to seven days of specialized training in infection control and personal protective equipment by the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. “They will not be sent to West Africa or elsewhere overseas and will be called upon domestically only if deemed prudent by our public health professionals,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby. “Identifying, training, and preparing forces in advance of potential requests ensures that we can respond quickly and is analogous to how we prepare DoD personnel in advance of other potential civil support missions, such as hurricane relief and wildland firefighting.”
HHS webinar to review Ebola preparedness guidance for EMS agencies   10/20/2014
The Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will review a detailed checklist and federal guidance for emergency medical service agencies and systems managing patients with Ebola during a 60-minute webinar at 3 p.m. ET Wednesday. For more information or to access the webinar, click here.
Reminder: AHA Town Hall webcast tomorrow   10/20/2014
The next AHA members-only Town Hall webcast, Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, will focus on the Ebola crisis and mid-term elections. AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack and Pam Thompson, CEO of the American Organization of Nurse Executives, will review the latest Ebola preparedness resources. Then leading political pollsters Bill McInturff, partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies, and Peter Hart, chairman of Peter D. Hart Research Associates, will discuss the health care implications of the mid-term elections and political landscape. For details and to register, go to www.aha.org/townhall or call (800) 424-4301.
SAMHSA: ED visits linked to 'synthetic marijuana' products rising   10/20/2014
The number of emergency department visits involving synthetic cannabinoids more than doubled in 2011, to 28,531, according to a report released last week by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Visits involving adolescents doubled to 7,584, while visits among patients aged 18-20 increased fourfold to 8,212. With street names such as “K2” or “Spice,” synthetic cannabinoids are manmade chemicals applied to plant material that are marketed as herbal incense products and purport to have the same effect as marijuana, the agency said. Reported adverse effects include severe agitation, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, racing heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, tremors, seizures, hallucinations, paranoid behavior, unresponsiveness and even death. Regular use of the drug can result in withdrawal symptoms.
AHA Town Hall webcast Tuesday   10/17/2014
The next AHA members-only Town Hall webcast, Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, will focus on the Ebola crisis and mid-term elections. AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack and Pam Thompson, CEO of the American Organization of Nurse Executives, will review the latest Ebola preparedness resources. Then Bill McInturff, partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies, and Peter Hart, chairman of Peter D. Hart Research Associates, will discuss the health care implications of the mid-term elections and political landscape. For details and to register, go to www.aha.org/townhall or call (800) 424-4301.
AHA, AMA and ANA stress collaboration on Ebola   10/17/2014
The American Hospital Association, American Medical Association and American Nurses Association today expressed solidarity and stressed collaboration in the fight against Ebola. “As our nation’s strategy to address the Ebola virus continues to evolve, hospitals and their partners in nursing and medicine are coming together to emphasize that a solution-oriented, collaborative approach to Ebola preparedness is essential to effectively manage care of Ebola patients in the U.S.,” the groups said in a joint statement. “…Our nation’s hospitals, physician and professional nursing organizations remain in communication with one another and with our nation’s public health institutions at the local, state and national levels. We are committed to maintaining a strong collaborative effort to address this public health threat.” Click here to read the full statement. In other Ebola news, President Obama today appointed Ron Klain, who served as chief of staff for Vice President Joe Biden from 2007 to 2011, to coordinate the government’s response to the disease. “Klain’s talent and managerial skill will be crucial in providing the resources and expertise we need to rapidly, cohesively, and effectively respond to Ebola at home and abroad,” wrote Tanya Somanader, deputy director of digital content for the Office of Digital Strategy, in a White House blog post.
CMS: 8.7 million enroll in Medicaid/CHIP October through August   10/17/2014
Nearly 8.7 million people enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program between Oct. 1 and Aug. 31, increasing total enrollment in the programs by an estimated 14.9%, according to a report released today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The preliminary estimate is based on 48 states and the District of Columbia reporting both August enrollment data and baseline data from July through September 2013. A total of 66.9 million people were enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP in those states as of Aug. 31, with Medicaid expansion states showing a 20.7% increase and non-expansion states showing a 5.1% increase. About 716,000 people enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP in August. Medicaid and CHIP enrollment continues year round.