Reporting system proposed
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) introduced a bill to create a national medical-errors reporting system similar to proposals approved by House committees late last month. Under both Kennedy's bill and the House proposals, providers would voluntarily submit data on medical errors and patient safety to new patient-safety organizations, which would compile and disseminate the information. All the proposals include protections for workers reporting errors and would not override stricter state laws. However, unlike the House bills, Kennedy's would provide grants for hospitals to implement technology that can improve patient safety. Separately, Kennedy introduced legislation to protect human research subjects in response to an Institute of Medicine report recommending several revisions to federal law. Among other steps, Kennedy's bill would establish a central office to amend rules for subject protection.
Pettingill named CEO
Richard Pettingill, formerly a top executive at Kaiser Permanente, was named president and chief executive officer of Allina Hospitals and Clinics, Minnesota's largest provider. Pettingill takes over immediately at Minneapolis-based Allina after seven years at Kaiser, where he rose to CEO of the California division. Pettingill left Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser after a recent reorganization of the California unit into smaller districts. Allina, which includes 14 hospitals and 42 medical clinics, spent about a year searching for a new CEO. Pettingill takes over from executive officers John Morrison, Marvin Dehne and David Jones, whom have led Allina since its split from Medica last year.
Not-for-profit healthcare organizations issued $4.67 billion in debt in 102 bond issues during the third quarter of 2002. In the year-earlier period, there were 76 bond issues with a value of $5.17 billion. The biggest beneficiary of issuance in the latest quarter was the Oschner Clinic Foundation, New Orleans, with $340 million in bonds. Ascension Health, St. Louis, came next with $338.4 million in new debt, according to Thomson Financial Securities Data, Newark, N.J.