ROCHESTER, N.Y.The University of Rochester Medical Center submitted an application to the New York health department for the largest clinical expansion in Strong Memorial Hospitals history, boosting its licensed bed capacity to 862 beds from 123 and adding a six-story tower adjacent to Strong Memorial Hospital. The 330,000-square-foot addition would house 56 beds for Golisano Childrens Hospital, an additional 56 adult beds for Strong Memorial, two floors for imaging sciences, plus an expanded pharmacy and other support space. The proposed expansion forms one of the cornerstones of the medical centers proposed five-year strategic plan. Preliminary estimates are that the two-phase project will cost approximately $250 million. Strong officials said that over the past 10 years, demand has outstripped capacity with nearly one-third of its patients traveling to Rochester from outside of the area. The closing of two hospitals in Rochester has left the city with five hospitals with 1,805 beds, or 2.44 beds per 1,000 residents. A spokeswoman said officials expected a six-month approval process.
BOSTONMassachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley launched a review of the financially troubled Catholic healthcare system Caritas Christi Health Care. The examination was prompted by a slew of financial and management troubles that have plagued the six-hospital, not-for-profit provider over the past few years, according to a news release from the state attorney generals office. Caritas Christi eked out a profit of $1.6 million for its fiscal 2007, and ended the period with nearly $265 million in debt. Caritas administrators this year have been unsuccessful in their bid to find a buyer for the system. Caritas officials declined to comment on the nature of the review, but spokesman Steve Danehy said the system welcomed it and looked forward to seeing the report.
BOSTONA proposed Massachusetts law seeks to limit the number of patients registered nurses would be responsible for during any given hospital shift. The pending mandate is part of a larger bill that seeks to establish a state nursing advisory board. Under a portion of the bill, the advisory board would be responsible for developing nurse-to-patient ratios based on a variety of factors, including patient-outcomes data, medical-error rates at individual hospitals, and the acuity level and number of patients being cared for. Nurses are being put in dangerous situations with the number of patients they have to handle, and if they make a mistake, or if an aide theyre supervising makes a mistake, then its (the nurses) license that is in jeopardy, said state Assemblywoman Christine Canavan, lead sponsor of the bill and a former nurse. But opponents of the proposed legislation say the initiative is a union-sponsored bill that not only singles out RNs for special treatment but also would limit hospitals flexibility in creating efficient and effective care-giving teams. We believe that to deliver appropriate patient care it takes more than RNs: It takes doctors and licensed practical nurses and other staff as well, said Massachusetts Hospital Association spokesman Rich Copp. Its about being able to deliver the best care and not have a cookie-cutter law that ties hospitals hands. Canavan said she expects a General Assembly vote on the bill early next year.
PHILADELPHIAHospitals, public health departments, nursing homes, schools and Independence Blue Cross have organized in southeast Pennsylvania forming the Fight MRSA coalition with the mission to stop the spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Organizers says they represent the first effort in the nation to regionally collaborate in such a broad way to prevent, identify, contain and treat MRSA infections. In their first step, the group planned a kickoff assembly with approximately 250 clinical, public health and public school leaders from the region. The effort is coordinated by the Health Care Improvement Foundation, a not-for-profit dedicated to improving patient safety in the region and is part of Partnership for Patient Care, a three-year patient-safety effort developed by the foundation and Independence Blue Cross and funded by Independence Blue Cross and area hospitals.
NEW YORKSt. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers, which emerged from bankruptcy protection in September, released its proposed design concepts for a new green hospital designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. At the same time, the Rudin family released a plan to transform the existing St. Vincents site in Greenwich Village into a series of low-rise residential townhouses and buildings. The hospital and Rudin family said they anticipate that they will submit their design plans to the Landmarks Preservation Commission by year-end, and pending that approval to the city planning commission for review. Features of the new 21-story hospital include 625,000 gross square feet, 365 beds, 18 operating rooms, and a state-of-the-art emergency room and trauma center.
MCCONNELLSBURG, Pa.Gov. Edward Rendell was on hand for ribbon-cutting ceremonies at Fulton County Medical Center earlier this month. The new $37 million, 21-bed critical-access hospital with a 67-bed skilled-nursing facility replaces the current facility about a half-mile away. The new building sits on 22 acres so that the facility can be expanded as the hospital grows, a spokeswoman said. Construction took 18 months. Financing was provided by $7 million in local gifts, a $26 million bond issue and state and federal grants. The new hospital is scheduled to officially open for business later in the month. Strategic planning is continuing on what to do with the old site as well as the new one, the spokeswoman said.
TRENTON, N.J.New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine signed legislation requiring hospitals to publicly report hospital-acquired infection rates. In addition, hospitals must report the steps they are taking to control such infections, and the state Department of Health and Senior Services must make the information available on its Web site so that consumers can compare rates across hospitals. New Jersey becomes the 20th state to require hospitals to publicly report the information, according to Consumers Union. The new law will put the spotlight on this scourge of deadly infections, Corzine said in a news release. This will help hospitals put procedures in place to prevent these infections and give family members access to information they need to make informed decisions about the care of their loved ones.
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