BURLINGTON, Mass.The Massachusetts Hospital Association board of trustees has appointed Robert Norton, 57, chairman. Norton, who is president and chief executive officer of 417-bed North Shore Medical Center in Salem, has served as MHA vice chairman for the past year. He succeeds outgoing chairman Daniel Moen, president and CEO of 129-bed Heywood Hospital in Gardner.
BOSTONTufts-New England Medical Center began layoffs of approximately 35, or about 1%, of its medical and administrative staff members because of declining operating margins and inpatient admissions. Weve actually seen more patients choosing Tufts medical center (for care), and thats great for us, but weve also seen a change in our patient mix, said Tufts spokeswoman Brooke Hynes. More (patients) are outpatients than inpatients, and (insurance) reimburses those at a lower scale. Last year 283-bed Tufts inpatient volume increased by just 0.74%, according to a Boston Globe article. By contrast, the hospitals outpatient volume increased by more than 20%, Hynes said.
TRENTON, N.J.Capital Health System announced plans to build a 540,000-square-foot hospital in suburban Hopewell Township, scrapping previous plans to build on already purchased land in Lawrence Township right outside Trenton. The new hospital would eventually replace the 215-bed Capital Health System at Mercer facility, leaving 182-bed Capital Health System at Fuld in Trenton. It is being built to financially fortify the two-hospital system, broadening the patient base outside Trenton, spokeswoman Jayne OConnor said. In its first phase, the hospital will include 223 private rooms.
HARRISBURG, Pa.Pennsylvania published hospital-specific payment data for cardiac surgery performed at all hospitals in the state. The report, an expansion of the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Councils annual coronary artery bypass graft report, includes information on 17,331 CABG and/or valve surgeries performed in Pennsylvania hospitals in 2005. It also provides aggregate, statewide data about patients who contracted hospital-acquired infections during their hospitalization for bypass or valve surgery. The report found that commercial insurance payments averaged $30,247 and Medicare payments averaged $29,175 for CABG surgeries. For a valve-only procedure, commercial payments averaged $41,651 and Medicare averaged $42,433. Meanwhile, in-hospital patient mortality following bypass surgery continued to decline, dropping to 1.9% in 2005 from 1.98% in the previous year. However, both seven-day and 30-day readmission rates for bypass patients increased slightly during the same period. Besides providing data on average charges and payments, the report includes information on mortality rates, readmission rates and post-surgical lengths of stays. The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania said in a news release that the report confirms that the states hospitals are improving the outcomes of surgery, but the newly added data, including average payment by commercial insurers and Medicare needs to be examined in greater detail.
AUGUSTA, MaineGov. John Baldacci signed a bill last week to improve health screenings for soldiers, legislation prompted by the death of a Maine National Guardsman last year. The new law creates a commission to review preventive health treatment practices, vaccinations and other medications given to members of the Maine National Guard. The bill was introduced at the urging of Barbara Damon-Day, the mother of Patrick Damon, a Guard captain who died in June 2006 in Afghanistan. Damon-Day previously has said that her sons death may have resulted from the vaccinations Damon received before his deployment.
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