Waste company seeks landfill design changes

Filed under: Health Care |

Waste Management has proposed changes to the approved design and operation plan at the Colorado Springs Landfill Expansion, a municipal solid waste landfill that would allow the facility to accept easily crumbled asbestos waste.
The changes include the design of the disposal area and modifications to waste-acceptance procedures, work practices and disposal procedures.
The Colorado Springs landfill is on State Highway 94, east of the city. The changes are being reviewed by the state Department of Public Health and Environment’s Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division, which is responsible for approving or denying the request.
The department also is seeking public comment about the proposal, which can be viewed during regular business hours through March 26 at its Denver office, 4300 Cherry Creek Drive South, Room B-215.
Written comments can be sent to Jerry Henderson by the close of business March 26.
For more information, call Henderson at (303) 692-3455.
Hospitals embrace health information technology
Hospitals increasingly are turning to electronic medical records and health information technology to increase quality of care and patient safety.
That’s according to a survey conducted by the American Hospital Association, which showed that half of all responding community hospitals reported moderate or high use of health IT in 2006, compared to a response of 37 percent in 2005.
“Advances in health IT are changing the way we deliver care,” said AHA President Rich Umbdenstock. “Better tools, better information and better ways to share information are critical in our constant quest to provide quality, safe care to the patients we serve.”
As debate about health care costs intensifies, health IT is at the forefront of the conversation. President George W. Bush has called for electronic health records for most Americans within 10 years.
Congress has introduced legislation intended to create uniform standards and assist hospitals with IT implementation.
The size of a hospital plays a considerable role in its IT use.
Of the largest hospitals — those with 500 beds or more — 74 percent reported moderate or high health IT use in 2006.
By contrast, only 23 percent of hospitals with 50 or fewer beds were in the top two levels of IT use.
Hospitals in urban areas, teaching hospitals and financially sound hospitals also used more health IT.
For the first time, the 2006 survey asked about the use of electronic health records. Sixty-nine percent of responding hospitals have fully or partially implemented EHRs.
Computerized physician order-entry, which allows doctors to electronically order medications, tests and consultations, also is gaining ground, especially in hospitals with fully implemented EHRs.
Spending for health IT systems is growing. The median capital expenditure per bed for system implementation was $5,556 in 2006.
The median operating costs, which include ongoing expenses, were $12,060 per bed, a 4.5 percent increase compared to 2005.
Survey respondents identified the initial and ongoing costs of deploying and maintaining IT systems as the greatest barriers to IT use.
Other barriers included the lack of trained staff to implement technology and the lack of interoperability among systems.
Hospitals have been hamstrung by federal anti-kickback and physician self-referral laws, which have prevented them from providing physicians with many of the tools necessary to maintain electronic health records and share clinical data with other members of a patient’s care team.
But recent HHS rules provided a clearer roadmap for helping physicians access and use health IT.
Almost 1,500 community hospitals — about 30 percent — responded to the survey.
LiveWell Colorado launches good nutrition funding
The El Paso County Department of Health has received a $67,320 grant to encourage residents to adopt healthier exercise and eating behaviors.
The department joins 12 other community organizations across the state that will implement initiatives.
The grants are part of a partnership among foundations, health care organizations, nonprofit organizations and state and local public health agencies, known as LiveWell Colorado.
The group plans to leverage and coordinate both statewide and community-based efforts to encourage healthy lifestyles.
The initiative hopes to expand opportunities to other Colorado communities by gaining additional public and private funding.
According to the U.S. surgeon general, obesity is the single greatest public health threat in the nation.
Poor nutrition and lack of physical activity are the second leading preventable causes of death in the United States and Colorado.
While Colorado is among the healthiest states, with 45.5 percent of adults being at a healthy weight, the prevalence of obesity in Colorado is rising at the same pace as the national scale.
For more information about the initiative, visit www.livewellcolorado.com.
Amy Gillentine covers health care for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.