AHA brief shows hospitals' impact on economy   01/24/2013
U.S. hospitals support 15.4 million direct and indirect jobs and annually contribute more than $2.3 trillion to the economy, according to a new AHA issue brief on the economic contributions of hospitals at the state and national level. In addition to being the second largest source of private sector jobs, hospitals spend more than $702 billion on goods and services from other businesses, which create additional economic value for the community. With these "ripple effects" included, each hospital job supports about two more jobs and every dollar spent by a hospital supports roughly $2.30 of additional business activity. "Hospitals provide vital health care services to their communities, but the importance of hospitals to their communities extends far beyond health care," said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. "Congress should not overlook the economic contribution of hospitals as it considers further deficit reduction proposals." To access the issue brief, go to www.aha.org/economicimpact.
Hospital quality initiatives enhancing patient care, panelists say   01/24/2013
Hospitals are enhancing patient care through cutting-edge quality and safety initiatives, according to national and local quality experts participating in an AHA panel discussion today in Washington, D.C. For example, 100 neonatal intensive care units recently reduced newborn central line-associated bloodstream infections by 58% as part of an AHA Health Research & Educational Trust project funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, AHRQ Director Carolyn Clancy, M.D., announced at the event. Also participating on the panel, Jonathan Perlin, M.D., president of clinical services and chief medical officer for HCA, described how the Nashville-based health system reduced elective deliveries of newborns before 39 weeks of gestation. In addition, hospital leaders from Indiana and Arizona and HRET President Maulik Joshi shared strategies and tools hospitals are using to improve patient safety through HRET's Hospital Engagement Network. AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock, who moderated the discussion, said through partnerships with federal agencies and others, "hospitals are cutting infection rates and minimizing risk to patients."
FCC to host call on new programs to support rural health IT   01/24/2013
The Federal Communications Commission and the Health Resources and Services Administration will hold a Jan. 30 conference call on funding available through the Healthcare Connect Fund and Skilled Nursing Facility Pilot Program, established last month to help rural providers improve broadband capacity and leverage the full potential of electronic health records and other health information technology. Both initiatives are part of the FCC Rural Health Care Program. The Healthcare Connect Fund will replace the FCC's Internet Access and Rural Health Care Pilot Programs. The FCC expects to begin the competitive bidding process for new applicants this summer. The new SNF Pilot Program will help SNFs optimize patient care through broadband-enabled health care applications and begins in 2014. To access the call, from 2-3 p.m. Eastern Time, dial 888-946-7491, passcode 2141709. HRSA will post presentation slides before the call and a recording and transcript after the call at www.hrsa.gov/ruralhealth. For more on the FCC Rural Health Care Program, visit www.aha.org.
NAN issues medication safety alert   01/24/2013
The National Alert Network yesterday issued an alert urging health care providers to ensure that only diluted acetic acid solutions are used in patient care. The alert describes cases where "glacial" acetic acid was accidentally applied to skin or mucous membranes instead of a more diluted form, according to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices' National Medication Errors Reporting Program. To prevent medication errors, the alert recommends that providers remove glacial acetic acid from the pharmacy, discard it safely and replace it with vinegar (5% solution) or specific concentrations of diluted acetic acid. The alert also recommends additional steps to ensure that the correct strength of acetic acid is ordered and dispensed. NAN is a coalition of members from the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention that distributes medication safety alerts in cooperation with ISMP and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.
AHA seeks applicants for patient safety leadership fellowship   01/24/2013
The AHA seeks applications through March 15 for the 2013-2014 AHA-NPSF Comprehensive Patient Safety Leadership Fellowship, a year-long program for clinical and senior strategic leaders dedicated to improving quality and patient safety results. Through a highly participatory learning experience, fellows build leadership capacity and gain competencies in advanced patient safety practices and effective deployment of reliable processes. The AHA and National Patient Safety Foundation co-sponsor the program in partnership with the Health Research & Educational Trust, Health Forum, American Society for Healthcare Risk Management, American Organization of Nurse Executives, and Society of Hospital Medicine. For more information and application requirements, visit www.ahafellowships.org.