One of the hospitals the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations placed on probation this month for not meeting quality assurance standards is Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Md. That's where Jonathan Lord, M.D., serves as executive vice president (See related story in The Week in Healthcare).
He's the same Jonathan Lord who served as a JCAHO consultant and surveyor from 1986 through 1993. And he's the same Jonathan Lord the American Hospital Association appointed last June as its special liaison to the JCAHO to help straighten things out at the troubled accrediting agency.
Numerous cliches come to mind. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones? Payback is hell? What goes around comes around?
A JCAHO spokeswoman said the situation is coincidental. Lord didn't return calls inquiring about what effect his hospital's being put on probation may have on his job as JCAHO liaison.
Job with a future.With increased government pressure to get people off welfare, a program co-sponsored by the Hospital Association of Rhode Island is doing a small part to help the process along.
The association is recruiting jobless people in Providence to serve the healthcare industry as certified nursing assistants.
A free training program, called Providence Works, graduated its second crop of candidates on March 31. They're eligible to take the state certification exam, and many of the 36 graduates already have gotten exposure to future employers through a job fair held just before graduation, said Eileen O'Gara-Curtis, an association spokeswoman.
They won't get rich: Wages range from starting pay of $6 an hour to as much as $10 an hour. The starting rate would earn them $13,000 a year full time, and a raise to $8 would put them at $17,000. But 91% of the students reported an annual family income of less than $10,000, and only 10% were employed, O'Gara-Curtis said. Nearly half are single parents, and 44% are recipients of Aid to Families with Dependent Children.
Besides getting them off welfare, the nursing assistant job can be a stepping stone to a career as a nurse or technologist, O'Gara-Curtis said. The 240-hour course includes supervised clinical practice in area hospitals as well as classroom instruction. Included are clinical topics such as anatomy, medical terminology, nutrition and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, as well as employment and communication skills, legal issues and medical ethics.
Yes, no, maybe.These are crazy times in the hospital business. Witness the tales of two public hospitals.
In Santa Rosa, Calif., the county hospital, aptly named Community Hospital, decided to sell or affiliate with a healthcare system. So, it did something rather unusual. It put out a news release advertising the fact. "We feel we have much to offer," said Jimmy Knight, chief executive officer of the 175-bed hospital.
The public hospital has a strong family practice residency program, which should be appealing to potential buyers. However, the downside is the hospital lost $1.3 million on revenues of $55 million in the fiscal year ended June 30, 1994. "The hospital has been losing money for a few years," Knight said. Bidders have until May 12 to respond.
Now, for the other story. In Jackson, Tenn., executives of the 662-bed county hospital say they have no intention of selling, yet Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. is talking about buying it.
Joey Jacobs, president of Columbia's Tennessee division, said last week that "internal discussions are going on about the value of making an offer" for Jackson-Madison County General Hospital.
Hospital executives, trustees and county officials have had "no communication" with Columbia, said spokeswoman Mary Christie. Columbia's Jacobs acknowledges that the investor-owned giant has not yet approached those officials, but it may in the "next few months."
One slight hitch. Columbia owns the only other medical-surgical hospital in town, Regional Hospital of Jackson. "We hope it's not a problem," Jacobs said when asked about that.
Spicy hotline.Garlic, "the stinking rose," has been a folk remedy and preventive medicine for centuries. In recent years it started to gain more serious attention. Now it has its own hotline.
The Garlic Information Hotline, which started in January, is a new service of the Garlic Information Center of New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center in New York City.
Now, consumers may dial 800-330-5922 24 hours a day to receive a brochure containing almost anything you'd want to know about garlic, including: fresh garlic, cooked garlic, garlic supplements, recipes and information about garlic's many potential health benefits. If consumers have specific questions, they may call the toll-free number Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time to speak directly to a nutritionist.
In addition to the garlic hotline, the center provides services and information to healthcare professionals and the lay public about current research exploring the potential role of garlic and garlic supplementation in preventing, treating and managing disease.
Said Barbara Levine, one of the center's directors: "Although there is a plethora of information today about garlic and other related foods pertaining to good health, it is often confusing, contradictory and sometimes inaccurate. The Garlic Information Center also provides a central outlet of accurate, reliable and updated information including a literature bank, research monitor and researcher's network."
Levine knows of what she speaks. She is associate clinical professor of nutrition in medicine at Cornell University Medical College, New York, and coordinator of the clinical nutrition research unit of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York.