For the second consecutive year, Penrose-St. Francis Health Services has been named one of the nation’s top performance improvement leader hospitals by Evanston, Ill.-based Solucient, a source of health care information products.
Penrose-St. Francis and its senior management team were recognized for being one of 100 hospitals making the greatest progress in improving performance during a five period.
Findings from the third edition of Solucient’s “100 Top Hospitals: Performance Improvement Leaders” study appeared in the May 1 issue of Modern Healthcare magazine.
“This is a tremendous honor because it recognizes the amazing efforts that all of our associates put forth everyday to make sure each patient has the best experience possible,” said Penrose-St. Francis President and CEO Rick O’Connell.
“Solucient’s 100 Top Hospitals: Performance Improvement Leaders” study analyzed acute care hospitals nationwide using empirical performance data from 2000 through 2004, including publicly available Medicare MedPAR data, Medicare cost reports, and Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services outpatient data.
Nine performance measures were examined at each hospital: risk-adjusted mortality and complications, average length of stay, expenses, profitability, cash-to-debt ratio, growth in patient volume, tangible assets and risk-adjusted patient safety index.
Doctor establishes new practice
After practicing cardiovascular and thoracic surgery for 14 years in Colorado Springs, Dr. James D. Albert has established the Albert Vein Institute to provide care for patients with superficial venous disease.
Albert served as chief of cardiac surgery at Memorial Hospital from 1998-2005.
Certified by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, Albert is a member of the American College of Phlebology. He received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and trained in general surgery at Cornell University and cardiovascular surgery at the University of Colorado.
Most recently, he has received specialized training at the Morrison Vein Institute and the Alabama Vascular and Vein Center.
Bird flu to achieve human transmission within 4 years
A survey of 656 physicians has revealed that more than half (56 percent) believe that the avian bird flu will achieve human transmission within four years in the United States.
The survey was conducted by HCD Research on April 6-7.
Among the findings: A majority of physicians (65 percent) believe that the avian bird flu will achieve human transmission within the next 72 months; 61 percent feel it will happen in the next 60 months; and 56 percent think it will occur within 48 months. Only 14 percent feel the spread of avian flu will happen within the next year.
Thirty-four percent of physicians said that administering an experimental vaccine for bird flu to 20 million people in the United States would be likely to help prevent a pandemic from occurring. Fifty-one percent of physicians believe the vaccine would be unlikely to help prevent a pandemic and 15 percent were neutral.
Nearly one quarter of physicians (24 percent) think there is likely to be a successful distribution of an efficacious vaccine that will immunize enough people in the United State to protect against a large-scale transmission of a human-to-human form of the avian flu during the next 24 months. However, the majority of physicians (65 percent) reported that the distribution of a vaccine is unlikely.
Eye exams for diabetics could stymie blindness
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Program is encouraging residents who have been diagnosed with diabetes to have annual retinal eye examinations to check for signs of diabetic-related eye diseases that often can cause blindness.
Dale Rogoff Greer, manager of the department’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Program, said that diabetic retinopathy is the most common complication from diabetes and is the leading cause of blindness in Colorado for people ages 20 to 74.
She said that about half of Colorado residents who have been diagnosed with diabetes have some form of retinopathy, and that more than 200 Colorado residents with diabetes will go blind this year because of the eye disease. “Annual retinal eye exams could prevent 90 percent of advanced diabetic retinopathy patients from going blind,” she said.
Greer said that diabetic retinopathy occurs when diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels in the retina.
“Without timely treatment, this condition could cause the growth of new, fragile blood vessels along the retina of the eye,” she said. “In time, the new blood vessels could break and bleed easily, causing blood clots that destroy the retina and cause blindness.
Two ways that people with diabetes can help prevent serious eye diseases, Greer said, are to try to keep their blood sugar and blood pressure as close to normal as possible, and to have regular dilated eye examinations so that eye care specialists can detect early signs of eye disease. Patients with retinopathy should have retinal eye exams even more often.
“Annual retinal eye examinations, or dilated eye examinations, usually are covered under medical insurance plans,” she said.
Amy Gillentine covers health care for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.