MONTGOMERY, Ala.The Alabama Department of Public Health will develop a statewide trauma system in collaboration with medical professionals throughout the state. The trauma system, including emergency medical technicians, communication, hospital emergency department staff, trauma surgeons and physicians, will be created through legislation passed earlier this year giving oversight authority to the public health department. The department will expand an existing trauma communication center now serving seven counties in the Birmingham area to the whole state to coordinate trauma-care efforts and hopes to have the system in place within the next two years, said John Campbell, medical director of the states EMS & Trauma Office.
BROKEN ARROW, Okla.St. John Health System, Tulsa, Okla., said it will manage a hospital that will be built and owned by Broken Arrow Medical Facility, a company that two Oklahoma-based investors established this summer to build the new facility. The company is still planning the hospital, so an estimated cost and size of the facility will not be available for about two months, said Michael Prescott, one of the investors. A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 11, 2008, and construction is expected to begin in March on what will be called St. John Broken Arrow, a five-story, 84-bed, general acute-care hospital that is expected to be completed in the summer of 2009.
COLUMBIA, S.C.The South Carolina Hospital Associations first-ever community-benefits survey last month reported $1.34 billion in community benefits provided in 2006 by 65 of the associations 100 member hospitals. Unreimbursed costs of government programs was the largest single category with $632.2 million, followed by the cost of uncompensated care at $502.4 million. Other subsidized services added $99.6 million to those two categories for a total of $1.23 billion. The hospitals that responded to the survey spent an additional $106.1 million on medical education, community health services, research and other programs.
CLEARWATER, Fla.Morton Plant Mease Health Care announced a $49 million construction project at its Morton Plant North Bay Hospital, New Port Richey, Fla. Construction, which is expected to start by year-end and finish by late 2010, will add a three-story wing to the 122-bed hospital and expand its emergency department and rehabilitation unit. Morton Plant Mease is seeking regulatory approval to add 34 beds to North Bay Hospital, said the four-hospital systems spokeswoman Beth Hardy. The project also includes a 60,000-square-foot medical office building to house physician offices as well as outpatient oncology, rehabilitation, laboratory, sleep disorder and physical and occupational therapy services.
LOUISVILLE, Ky.University of Louisville Health Care is creating a remote physician presence network through the use of robotics. Owensboro Medical Health System with 345 beds and 60-bed Spring View Hospital, Lebanon, both signed on last week. The robot network will provide direct, real-time communications between physicians at a patients bedside in Owensboro and specialists within the University of Louisville Health Care system. Using a joystick, camera and 360-degree infrared sensors, a doctor can maneuver the 5-foot-6-inch robot to look at the patient and monitor equipment, and chart information through the robots heada flat-screen computer monitor. The partnerships will first focus on neurology and stroke patients to connect hospital doctors with the neurological specialists at Louisville in emergencies, according to a spokesman. Discussions are under way to add pediatrics to the robot network.
ATLANTAThe Georgia Division of Public Health in late October conducted a weeklong exercise culminating in a drill to test emergency response plans in case of a bioterrorist attack. The exercise included training private citizens to help dispense medications at predetermined sites. During the drill, people who agreed to act as dispensers were given one hour of training by public health officials to learn how to distribute medications, then they greeted volunteer patients and helped them with forms, information and medication. The state hoped to determine whether using private citizens to help public officials would be effective in an emergency situation. The state will evaluate responses from the drill participants to form a thorough understanding of how well the drill worked.
HOUSTONBaylor College of Medicine said construction began Oct. 29 on a comprehensive center to provide pediatric HIV/AIDS care in Kisumu, Kenya. Funded by a $2 million grant from Bristol-Myers Squibbs Secure the Future program, the 16,000-square-foot center is being built in partnership with the government of the Republic of Kenya, 465-bed Baylor College of Medicine-Texas Childrens Hospital and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Childrens Clinical Center of Excellence. Healthcare professionals from Kenya, the Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Childrens Hospital will serve as the centers staff. Baylor expects the centers construction to be completed on or before January 2009, according to a Baylor spokeswoman.
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