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The number of small group plans decreased in Colorado during 2007, according to the Colorado Division of Insurance’s annual small group activity report.
While the report shows no significant increase or decrease in the number of people covered by small group insurance from 2006 to 2007, the number of plans decreased from 48,288 to 45,667. Continue Reading Small group plans decrease, but number served steady

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The cost of long-term care in Colorado has increased 20 percent since 2004, compared to a nationwide increase of 17 percent.
A Cost of Care Survey released by Genworth Financial Group finds that the cost of elder care in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and at-home care increased for the fifth straight year. One year in a private nursing home in Colorado, for example, costs $75,259. By contrast, the national average for the same type of facility is $76,460 — Continue Reading Long-term care costs rise for fifth consecutive year

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More than half of small businesses do not offer a company health care plan to employees, according to a survey conducted by online payroll service SurePayroll.
Owners say that offering insurance is too expensive, the survey said, with 32 percent fewer small businesses indicating they offer health insurance than during 2006.
“The cost of doing business is going up — health insurance premiums are going up. Continue Reading More small businesses decline to offer insurance

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All Penrose-St. Francis Health Services campuses will be tobacco-free starting Aug. 8, with no designated smoking areas available at any of its facilities.
“We’re committed to preserving the health and wellness of our patients and associates, as well as promoting a true healing environment,” said Kristine Barrett, health improvement incentive program coordinator for the hospital.
The Aug. 8 date coincides with the opening of the St. Francis Medical Center in northern Colorado Springs. Continue Reading Opening of new hospital coincides with the last light up at Penrose

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There is a significant blind spot hindering hospitals’ efforts to protect data and patient identity.
Security of Patient Data, commissioned by Kroll Fraud Solutions, reveals that the industry’s focus on medical privacy has fostered a lack of awareness about patient identity theft.
“Health care facilities are complex environments where information is stored and shared in a number of ways that are critical to patient well-being,” said Brian Lapidus, chief operating officer of Kroll Fraud Solutions. Continue Reading Hospital security policies put personal data at risk

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Lack of health insurance kills one person every day in Colorado.
That’s the word from Families USA, the national organization for health care consumers. The state-specific report is based on a national study by the Institute of Medicine, which forged a direct link between a lack of health coverage and deaths from health-related causes. Continue Reading Adults without health insurance at greater risk of death

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Colorado Access will administer the Colorado Child Health Plan Plus during the next fiscal year.
The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing chose the organization to provide both health and pharmacy benefits management for a projected 28,000 children and 1,600 pregnant women. The group also will assist the state’s provider network, which includes more than 7,700 providers. Continue Reading Colorado Access chosen to administer CHP+ program

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Memorial Hospital for Children’s pediatric intensive care nursing department has earned a critical care certification.
Of 2.5 million registered nurses, only about 53,000 are certified in the critical care arena.
To apply for certification, registered nurses must complete 1,750 hours of direct bedside care in acute or crucial care units and pass a thee-hour, 150-question exam focusing on their area of specialty. Continue Reading Memorial nurses receive critical care certification

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The Colorado Health Foundation will award $6 million in grants during 2008 for its Healthy Connections health information technology initiative.
The money is in addition to the group’s initial investment of $2.5 million last year, and will be used to purchase software and hardware for providers caring for low-income, uninsured Coloradoans. Continue Reading Colorado Health Foundation giving $6 million in grants

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Flu rates triple in El Paso County

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The number of hospitalized influenza cases surged during January and February in El Paso County.
The Department of Health and Environment reports that there were 22 people hospitalized during January, a significant increase compared to the three reported cases during January 2007. During February, 89 hospitalizations were reported, more than tripling last season’s case total of 26.
More than 50 percent of patients were older than 20, said Bernadette Albanese, medical director for the health department. Continue Reading Flu rates triple in El Paso County

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