DOWNERS GROVE, Ill.-EHS Good Samaritan Hospital began this week to make a greater commitment to trauma care and will continue to be a part of the troubled Illinois Trauma Network. Executives at the 316-bed suburban Chicago hospital began to take Level I trauma patients, despite the high cost of their care and the fact that state officials are still working to straighten out the network. Level I designation requires a trauma surgeon to be present 24 hours a day, while Level II designation requires a trauma surgeon to arrive within 30 minutes of the patient's arrival at the hospital. "Since there are no Level I centers in DuPage County we decided to make a moral commitment," said Good Samaritan President David McConkey. And, despite a financially troubled state network, Good Samaritan will stay as a network member. "Obviously all hospitals don't want to get into the network because it costs big bucks," Mr. McConkey said. "But we're not going to get hit as hard because we don't get as many uninsured patients as the urban areas." Prior to Good Samaritan's joining, the Illinois Department of Public Health said 66 hospitals in the network are losing $30 million a year, or about $4,800 per discharge (April 4, p. 46). Mr. McConkey said Good Samaritan expects to take in 7,000 to 8,000 trauma patients a year. He said it may invest additional money in its own helicopter.
DES MOINES, Iowa-The Iowa State Board of Health has approved antitrust exemptions for healthcare providers banding together to form groups known as "organized delivery systems." The organizations will be exempt from antitrust action, and their plans must maintain a minimum of $1 million in unencumbered money. To be licensed, systems must submit an application to the state health department and pay a $2,000 fee. The rules allow groups of physicians and hospitals to be immune from antitrust actions when discussing organized delivery system development. The systems must have patients on their governing boards and must continue to be advised by patients. The Iowa Hospital Association estimated a half-dozen systems are being developed in a half-dozen Iowa cities.
MINNEAPOLIS-Minneapolis-based Health Risk Management, a national healthcare information and management company, has received a national MIS Award for Information Technology Excellence from the National Managed Care Congress. HRM won the award in the clinical applications category for its managed-care program that uses "QualityFirst" electronic healthcare practice guidelines.