Children’s health care top priority among voters

Filed under: Health Care |

Coloradoans say that improving the health, education and well-being of children are the most important issues facing the federal and state government, according to a poll of registered voters commissioned by the Colorado Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Colorado Medical Society.

Mason-Dixon Polling and Research conducted telephone survey of 500 voters, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

AAP and CMS officials said that the findings indicate the need for officials to consider health care options for children.

Key highlights from the survey include:

Respondents said that children’s health issues are more important than the economy, immigration, homeland security, senior issues, taxes and transportation. When given a choice of issues, 50 percent of respondents choose improving the health, education and well-being of children as either the most or second most important issue facing Colorado.

Most respondents did not believe things have improved for children during the past five years. About 25 percent said conditions have deteriorated and 46 percent said conditions have stayed the same. Only 16 percent said there has been improvement, while 87 percent said that the problem of uninsured Colorado children who either go without treatment or seek treatment in emergency rooms is a serous problem that should be addressed and solved.

Eight of 10 respondents said that guaranteeing health insurance to every child in Colorado should be a top or important governmental priority during the coming year, with 73 percent agreeing with the statement: “If parents become unable to afford or provide health care, every child in Colorado should be covered under a government-supported health care program that would provide prevention and treatment.”

An additional 62 percent respondents favored requiring parents to have insurance for their children, with the government subsidizing some or all of the cost for families most in need. Sixty-three percent of respondents said that the state ,either alone or in partnership with the federal government, has a responsibility to deal with the issue of uninsured children.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 161,000 Colorado children under 18 without health care insurance last year.

Studies also show that children enrolled in the Colorado Medicaid program often cannot find a primary care physician and do not receive preventive care and immunizations. These children are more often hospitalized and are almost twice as likely to die in the hospital if they require admission.

‘Go Red’ raises thousands for heart research

The American Heart Association raised more than $29,000 for research during its “Go Red for Women” education day last month.

The event, which more than 400 people attended, featured health seminars, screenings and a heart-healthy lunch — as well as stories from women who survived heart-related problems.

Certification Commission expands criteria

The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology plans to expand certification criteria for ambulatory electronic medical records software to reflect different specialties and care settings.

Analysts said the changes are necessary because initial criteria for electronic medical records were too broad and failed to address differences for specialists.

Having specialty-specific criteria “constitutes running, and we needed to walk in the first year,” said CCHIT Chairman Mark Leavitt.

The Department of Health and Human Services has provided additional money for new initiative. CCHIT will address two or three specialized areas during 2007.

Factors to be considered include the amount of criteria work required, the readiness of specialties to participate and the potential for specialized criteria to encourage EMR adoption in a specialty.

More information is available at cchit.org

Penrose installs new CT imaging technology

Penrose-St. Francis Health Services has a faster way of diagnosing patients suffering from chest pain or other life-threatening illnesses.

The LightSpeed VCT, or Volume Computated Tomography, can capture images of a beating heart in five heartbeats, a vital organ in one second and perform whole body trauma scans in as little as 10 seconds, more than twice as fast as conventional multi-slice CT scanners.

“Volume CT is patient friendly. Fast scans can help reduce patient stress and anxiety, and some of the volume CT procedures can be done in only one simple exam,” said Rick O’Connell, Penrose president and CEO.

The LightSpeed VCT creates 64 high-resolution anatomical images as thin as a credit card. These images are combined to form a three-dimensional view of the patient’s anatomy. From these images, physicians can view blockages in the coronary arteries, as well as the motion and pumping action of a patient’s heart.

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