NEW HAVEN, Conn.-Yale-New Haven Hospital opened a 12-bed interdisciplinary unit last week for patients ages 65 and older. The unit is being directed by the geriatric faculty of the 808-bed hospital. Officials described it as the first of its kind in Connecticut and said its purpose is to help patients maintain physical and mental function and to maximize their independence during hospitalization. Research shows that many complications, such as confusion, can be prevented when older adults are cared for by a staff with expertise in aging, the officials said. The interdisciplinary team will include nurses, doctors, rehabilitation providers, social workers and pharmacists. It will be used as an educational model for residents, medical students, fellows, nurses and doctors.
ALIQUIPPA, Pa.-Federal officials ordered Aliquippa Community Hospital earlier this month to stop offering discounted drugs to certain patients participating in a federal program designed especially for underserved patients. The Health Resources Services Administration, which administers the drug-pricing program, said some of the people participating in the program at Aliquippa were not considered patients of the hospital since their doctors were not directly affiliated with the hospital. The agency warned that if the situation was not rectified the hospital could be removed from the program and could be forced to reimburse drug manufacturers for discounts. Aliquippa, which is financially struggling, received approval Jan. 1 to participate in the program. Hospital officials did not return phone calls seeking comment.
NEW YORK-The U.S. attorney in New York charged 22 people earlier this month in a broad health- and auto-insurance scheme, including the owner and manager of All Country Medical in New York and the owner of ROV Management, which operates a medical clinic in Brooklyn. Prosecutors alleged that the scheme began in October 2000 and involved staging auto accidents, inflating damage appraisals and directing fake accident victims to the clinics for unnecessary care. The indictment named Boris Zeltser, owner of All Country Medical; Marina Korsunskaya, a clinic manager; ROV owner Victor Tsekhanovich; 16 claims adjusters; and three "runners" who recruited patients to the clinics for treatment. Tsekhanovich was convicted of insurance fraud in a separate case in 2003 and allegedly participated in the new scheme while on probation.
LITITZ, Pa.-Health Management Associates, Naples, Fla., said that its $64 million replacement hospital for Community Hospital of Lancaster (Pa.) is scheduled to open in August. The 144-bed hospital in Lititz is about seven miles from the current location, said Diane Gallagher, marketing director of HMA's two-hospital Lancaster Regional Health System, which also includes Lancaster Regional Medical Center. The new hospital will be called the Heart of Lancaster Regional Medical Center. It will be connected to a new women's center with a full obstetrics program, Gallagher said. HMA owns or operates 52 nonurban hospitals in 16 states.
WATERVILLE, Maine-The board of directors of 304-bed MaineGeneral Medical Center approved a plan earlier this month to keep open two acute-care hospital campuses, one in Waterville and one in Augusta, after community opposition to consolidating them at a single location. However, services will be reconfigured so that one hospital acts as a regional inpatient specialty center and the other as an outpatient site and community medical center. Separately, the system will apply for a certificate of need for a new oncology center in northern Augusta and will close its rehabilitation and psychiatric hospital in Seton, Maine. Spokeswoman Diane Peterson said the cost of the changes hasn't been estimated and officials are still crafting a specific plan and timeline.
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.-St. Peter's University Hospital has signed an affiliation agreement with Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, effective July 2005 when St. Peter's long-standing affiliation with the University of Dentistry and Medicine of New Jersey is set to expire. The pact will provide hospital rotations for 60 third- and fourth-year students and 16 OB/GYN, 18 pediatric and 45 internal medicine residents annually. St. Peter's will employ the residents, and St. Peter's faculty will have Drexel faculty privileges. Drexel also is affiliated with Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia and Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, N.J.
MANHASSET, N.Y.-North Shore University Hospital voluntarily alerted 177 patients earlier this month who underwent endoscopic procedures at the 731-bed hospital of a breakdown in infection-control measures. The patients, who received the procedures between April 28 and May 10, are undergoing tests for infections such as HIV and hepatitis C and B. Hospital officials said that because of a lack of proper documentation they couldn't be sure the endoscopes that were used were washed with the correct concentration of disinfectant. Two employees said they tested the solution but neglected to record the results. One was subsequently fired, and the other suspended without pay. Nurse managers in the department now are under orders to check the testing log daily. Hospital officials said that HIV and hepatitis had never been transmitted in such a manner, according to the infectious-disease experts who were consulted. "Based on the elaborate cleaning process, we are confident that the risk of any viral transmission is virtually nonexistent," officials said in a written statement.