CHI Colorado Foundation picks new president/CEO

Filed under: Health Care |

Jerry Bagg has been named the President and CEO of Catholic Health Initiatives Colorado Foundation.

Bagg, the president of the Penrose-St. Francis Health Foundation, will oversee four other foundations throughout the state, including St. Anthony Health Foundation of Denver, St. Mary Corwin Health Foundation of Pueblo, St. Thomas Moore Health Foundation of Canon City and Mercy Medical Foundation of Durango.

“I am very honored to have the faith and support of the CHI Colorado Foundation Board and CHI Leadership,” Bagg said. “We have a unique structure in Colorado in that we are incorporated into one company and share all of our support services. It’s a great system and a very visionary company.”

Bagg has been with Penrose-St. Francis Health Services since 1982. In his early days with the system, he was the director of volunteers and also worked as the director of planned giving for the foundation. He has been president of the Penrose-St. Francis Foundation since 1996.

Penrose-St. Francis Health Services is sponsored by Catholic Health Initiatives. Based in Denver, CHI was founded in 1995 by 12 congregations, including the Sisters of St. Francis of Colorado Springs.

The system operates 70 hospitals, 43 long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities and residential units, and six community-based health organizations in 19 states. It has about 66,000 full- and part-time employees and revenue of more than $7 billion. It is the second largest Catholic health system in the United States.

JCAHO announces flu vaccination standard

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has approved an infection control standard that requires accredited organizations to offer influenza vaccinations to staff, including volunteers and licensed independent practitioners with close patient contact.

The standard will become an accreditation requirement beginning January 1 for the critical access hospital, hospital and long term care accreditation programs.

“Preventing the spread of the flu protects patients and saves lives. Encouraging health care workers to be vaccinated can play a vital role in stopping the transmission of this potentially fatal infection,” said Robert Wise, vice-president of the division of standards and survey methods.

The Joint Commission developed the standard in response to recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making the reduction of influenza transmission from health care professionals to patients a top priority in the United States.

While the CDC has urged annual influenza vaccination for health care workers since 1981, the CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,” called for stronger steps to increase influenza vaccination of health care workers. Despite the recommendations, the vaccination rates as measured by the CDC remain low.

Studies show that influenza causes 36,000 deaths and more than 200,000 hospitalizations in the United States annually. Furthermore, health care-associated transmission of influenza has been documented among many patient populations in a variety of clinical settings, and infections have been linked epidemiologically to unvaccinated health care workers.

Typically, fewer than 40 percent of health care workers are immunized each year.

The new standard requires organizations to:

  • Establish an annual influenza vaccination program that includes staff and licensed independent practitioners.
  • Provide access to influenza vaccinations on-site.
  • Educate staff and licensed independent practitioners about flu vaccination, non-vaccine control measures (such as the use of appropriate precautions), and diagnosis, transmission and potential impact of influenza.
  • Annually evaluate vaccination rates and reasons for non-participation in the organization’s immunization program.
  • Implement enhancements to the program to increase participation.

State establishes toll-free number for Medicaid

The Colorado Departments of Health Care Policy and Financing and Human Services have implemented an emergency call center with a toll-free line for residents whose applications for public assistance and medical benefits are overdue.

“We are pleased that the majority of CBMS issues have been resolved and the volume of calls received by the call center is now so low that each agency can resolve its own clients’ issues,” said Steve Tool, executive director of the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing and Marva Livingston Hammons, executive director of the Department of Human Services, in a joint statement. “People who experience problems with their eligibility or benefits due to CBMS should call their county department of social or human services. If the county is not able to resolve the problem, recipients or applicants can call one of two numbers for assistance.”

Those experiencing problems with public assistance, such as food stamps or cash assistance, should call (800) 536-5298. Spanish- and English-speaking operators staff the toll-free line from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, except for state holidays.

Medicaid and CHP+ applicants and recipients who experience problems with their eligibility and benefits because of CBMS, after first contacting their county department of social or human services, may call the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing’s toll-free number at (800) 221-3943.

Amy Gillentine covers health care for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.