ImPACT testing comes to Memorial Hospital

Filed under: Health Care |

Memorial Hospital now offers a 30-minute test that provides data about how the brain processes, also measuring speed, memory and visual motor skills. The cognitive test – ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) – is the first of its kind in the county.

“It’s baseline testing, and it gives you a sense of where your neurological strengths are,” said Bradd Hafer, a spokesman for Memorial Hospital. “It’s like fingerprinting.”

Hafer said the data is logged and can be transferred to a specialist when an injury, like a concussion, occurs. “It’s initial information for comparison sake,” he said.

According to a news release, “When concussions are suspected, athletes are administered the ImPACT test one or more times to track their recovery and help specialists determine when or if it is safe to return to play.”

“The ability to compare performance levels on highly sensitive measures, before and after suspected injuries, is the only proven method to ensure that the brain is functioning normally,” said Dr. Michael Nunley, a neuro-psychologist who helped bring the ImPACT program to Memorial.

More than 500 high schools, along with many collegiate and professional teams, use the ImPACT assessment tool. An estimated 10 percent of all athletes who participate in contact sports sustain a concussion, according to the release. Athletes who return to play prior to healing from a concussion risk what is referred to as “second impact syndrome,” an acute swelling of the brain that can be fatal.

Memorial will offer the ImPACT baseline test by appointment from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 19 and 20 and Dec. 3 and 4 at the hospital’s rehabilitation center at 175 S. Union Blvd., suite 250. Testing also is available by appointment from 7 to 9 .m. Nov. 29. The cost is $40 per athlete, and the person must be at least 11 years old. For appointments or more information, call 365-6543.

Penrose-St. Francis top-100 cardiovascular hospitals

Solucient, a national provider of performance tools for health care managers, has named Penrose-St. Francis Health Services one of the nation’s top-100 cardiovascular hospitals.

Solucient scored facilities in seven areas: risk-adjusted medical mortality, risk-adjusted surgical mortality, complications, percentage of coronary artery bypass graft patients with internal mammary artery use, procedure volume, severity-adjusted average length of stay, and wage and severity-adjusted average cost.

This is the second year in a row that Penrose has been recognized.

According to the study, winning hospitals are 23 percent less likely to have patients with post-operative infections and 20 percent less likely to incur post-operative hemorrhaging in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft or percutaneous coronary intervention. The average cardiovascular-related costs for benchmark hospitals were almost 15 percent lower.

The 2005 Solucient “100 Top Hospitals: Cardiovascular Benchmarks for Success” study will be published on Oct. 31 in Modern Health Care magazine.

Colorado work-related deaths increased in 2004

According to the 2004 Colorado Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, the number of work-related deaths in Colorado increased from 102 in 2003 to 117 in 2004.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released the report, which concluded that transportation fatalities, primarily highway accidents, were the major cause of work-related deaths.

Also among the top-three causes of 2004 work-related deaths: assaults and violent acts in the workplace and contact with objects and equipment.

Debra Tuenge, the coordinator of the Colorado Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, said there were about five deaths in Colorado for every 100,000 workers in the state’s work force in 2004.

“Fatal injuries in 2004 were most likely to occur on a Wednesday, with a total of 23 deaths,” Tuenge said. “The time of day at which the most fatal injuries occurred was between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., with a total of 14 fatalities during those hours in 2004.”

The statistics:

  • Transportation deaths accounted for 51 percent of the state’s 117 occupational fatalities during 2004.
  • Assaults and violent acts resulted in 25 deaths, including 11 suicides and eight homicides. Six of the 25 deaths involved firearms. Five deaths involved falling off an animal or being attacked by an animal.
  • Nine workers were struck by an object, and six were caught in or compressed by equipment or objects.
  • Men accounted for 106 of the 117 worker deaths in 2004.
  • White workers accounted for 89 deaths; 25 were Hispanic and three were black.
  • Workers 45- to 54-years old accounted for 27 deaths.
  • Nineteen deaths were attributed to the transportation and warehousing industry; 17 to construction and 11 to the professional and business services industry.

For additional information about work-related injury deaths in Colorado and the nation, visit the Colorado Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Web site at

Marylou Doehrman covers health care for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.