SHERIDAN, Wyo.-Memorial Hospital of Sheridan County will use $7.9 million of Abandoned Mine Lands money to help pay for a new patient wing. Now that hospital officials are sure about the AML funds, the remainder of the financing can be put together, said Marvin Goldman, hospital administrator. Goldman said the outcome could have been different if the hospital's application had been filed later, given proposed changes in the AML program. "It's going to be tougher for healthcare facilities to gain grants, particularly the size of grants we received," he said. "With some of the changes going on recently, we made it in that window of opportunity at the right time. If we were trying to do it now, it would not happen." The Office of Surface Mining of the Department of Interior recently gave final approval to the hospital's grant request. The grant will pay for most of the wing's $14 million cost. The rest will be paid for through community donations and hospital reserves, Goldman said. Memorial Hospital Foundation must raise $2.6 million to match the AML grant. So far donations total $1.6 million.
SALT LAKE CITY-The first independent satisfaction survey of the five largest HMOs in Utah found 78% of consumers were satisfied with their health plan. Eighty-seven percent expected to stay with their current HMO, and 87% would recommend their carrier to a family member or friend. In the 10 categories surveyed, IHC Health Plans consistently ranked first in a poll of 2,000 enrollees in commercial HMOs. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Utah ranked second. The survey asked consumers about overall quality and range of medical care and services, how well medical needs are met, ease in choosing a physician and number of doctors to choose from, communication among people and departments, and satisfaction of outcome of care. On average, the HMOs scored best in satisfaction in outcome of care and overall quality of medical services. They scored worst in ease of choosing a personal physician and communication. The survey is the first in a series of report cards the Utah Department of Health plans to publish to help consumers compare and choose health plans.
SACRAMENTO, Calif.-Sierra Health Foundation has awarded $500,000 to five Northern California health-related programs, with just over $400,000 going to three programs in Sacramento. The largest award, $225,000, went to the California Health Foundation and Trust to support its California Telehealth/Telemedicine Center, which provides training and helps underserved areas transmit information to specialists at hospitals for diagnosis. Awards of $153,741 and $25,000 went to the Community Services Planning Council and Sacramento Healthcare Decisions and Head Trauma Support, respectively>