GARY, Ind.-Methodist Hospitals, with campuses in Gary and Merrillville, Ind., won a three-month reprieve before it must demonstrate to Medicare officials that it has corrected deficiencies related to the deaths of two patients in 2003 and 2004. The CMS granted the two-hospital system until May 26 to become compliant after a Feb. 15 inspection indicated Methodist would not make the initial Feb. 25 deadline. The system developed a corrective action plan to improve nursing care, training and communication between doctors and nurses after a CMS visit to Methodist's Gary campus in December 2004. The CMS said it was extending the period before it would decide whether to terminate Methodist's Medicare and Medicaid participation because the system was "progressing according to the plan."
ST. PAUL, Minn.-The number of uninsured people in Minnesota climbed to 6.7% of the state population in 2004 from 5.4% in 2001, the Minnesota health department said last month. The Hispanic population suffered most among racial and ethnic groups, with a 32.7% uninsured rate in 2004, up from 17.3% in 2001. The percentage of Minnesotans with public health insurance increased to 25.2% from 20.1% over the same period. Minnesota said a rise in poverty and a decline in employer-sponsored insurance were behind the growth of the state's historically low uninsured rate.
LENEXA, Kan.-Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System said it would invest $105 million in new clinical and financial information systems, which will connect its eight hospitals in California, Colorado, Kansas and Montana. Richard Lopes, the system's chief clinical transformation officer, will oversee the CareQuest project. Lopes said the first hospital would go live with the new systems in February 2007 and the systemwide rollout would be completed two years later.