PHILADELPHIAIn July, Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a joint venture between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network of Allentown, Pa., and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, opened Penn Medicine at Rittenhouse, a post-acute-care facility in Philadelphia. The hospital campus includes Good Shepherd Specialty Hospital at Rittenhouse, a 38-bed long-term-care hospital, and the Penn Institute for Rehabilitation Medicine, a 58-bed inpatient rehabilitation facility. Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network said that it has invested about $40 million toward construction of the post-acute-care units and administrative hospitals. It also said it created about 115 new healthcare positions as part of the organization, and expects to eventually employ 414 full-time staff members. This partnership provides our patients with the ability to transition from the excellent acute-care provided by our hospitals to an equally superb post-acute-care setting, all within the UPHS system, Ralph Muller, chief executive officer at UPHS, said in a news release. A physician wishing to follow a patient from an acute to a post-acute phase of treatment will now have easier access.
PITTSBURGHThe University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health has received a $10 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help select new vaccines that are successful at stopping global infectious-disease outbreaks. The grant also will fund computer simulations of epidemics that show worst-case and best-case scenarios, which will be used to evaluate new vaccine technologies and modes of vaccine delivery. Headquartered at the universitys school of public health, the Vaccine Modeling Initiative is a research partnership among infectious disease modeling teams at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania State University and Imperial College London. The project also involves collaborations with infectious disease experts, computational modelers and public-health officials at Johns Hopkins University, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, Medecins Sans Frontieres Epicentre, University of Georgia, Resources for the Future and the World Health Organization. One of the major challenges we face in stopping infectious disease outbreaks is predicting how control strategies such as vaccines will work, said Donald Burke, principal investigator of the grant and dean of the school of public health, in a news release about the funding. By using computer models to conduct epidemiology in silicon, we will be able to test the impact of new candidate vaccine technologies and select the most effective strategies.
PITTSBURGHThe University of Pittsburgh Medical Center appointed Katie Taylor to be vice president of business development for the international and commercial services division. Taylor joined UPMC this month. Taylor, who will be based in Paris, will lead UPMCs efforts to expand its international cancer centers and other provider services, as well as market its healthcare information technology products and services. The business interests include a transplant hospital in Italy, an independent hospital and two cancer centers in Ireland, emergency medical services in Qatar and a healthcare IT project in the U.K. Taylor, 45, most recently was chief operating officer for GEMS Education, a for-profit network of schools in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. She also spent 20 years in various management positions for General Electric Co., during which time she worked on a co-development effort between UPMC and GE to develop digital pathology solutions.
ALBANY, N.Y.Hospitals in the state of New York had higher infection rates in their surgical intensive-care units but lower-than-average pediatric and coronary ICU infection rates, according to a report released last month. The state health department released its first annual hospital-acquired infections report, required under a 2005 law. The report contains 2007 data for statewide trends in central line-associated bloodstream infections in critical-care patients, and in surgical-site infections associated with colon and coronary artery bypass graft procedures. New York hospitals had higher surgical ICU central-line infection rates compared with the national average, but central-line infections occurred less frequently in the neurosurgical and pediatric ICUs, according to the report. Patients considered to be high-risk for a surgical-site infection following a colon procedure had fewer infections in New York hospitals, but patients in the medium- to low-risk category had a rate of infection higher than the national average. Next years report, based on 2008 data, will include the names of individual hospitals and their infection rates, and will track infection rates for hip-replacement procedures as well, the state said.
BOSTONNearly 440,000 Massachusetts residents have enrolled in private or subsidized health insurance programs since the state began its healthcare reform effort in June 2006, according to a report released by the commonwealths Health Care Finance & Policy Division. The gain represents a nearly 9% increase in the states number of insured residentsmore than 191,000 of whom have acquired private group coverage through either an employer or self-pay program, according to the numbers. These newest enrollment numbers show that the multipronged effort to insure people through the expansion of Medicaid, publicly subsidized insurance and the individual mandate is working, said Massachusetts HHS Secretary Judy Ann Bigby in a written statement. The state also experienced declines in money spent on safety net care as a result of growing rates of insured residents, according to the report. Uncompensated-care payments to hospitals declined by $66 million, or 42%, between the first quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2008.
BOSTONThe Caritas Christi Health Care System resigned its membership in the Massachusetts Hospital Association, citing financial considerations. We decided, given the amount of money we spend on the membershipwhich is in the neighborhood of $700,000 annuallyand given the hospital associations agenda, we could probably spend the money more creatively ourselves, said Brian Carty, a spokesman for the six-hospital system. The association uses it primarily for lobbying, and we already have a lobbyist and believe were pretty aware of the various initiatives on the state and federal levels. Caritas Christi President and Chief Executive Officer Ralph de la Torre gave the healthcare systems resignation in late July in a letter addressed to the hospital association. Carty said Caritas Christis decision to end its membership had nothing to do with the healthcare systems recent financial woes. In May, Caritas Christi announced it would keep the doors open on its troubled 135-bed Caritas Carney hospital, Dorchester, Mass., which is projected to lose nearly $4 million this year.
MIDDLETOWN, N.Y.Orange Regional Medical Center held a new hospital blessing ceremony attended by six local clergy offering prayers and blessings for a successful project and for the safety of those working on the new building, the hospital announced late last month. Orange Regional is constructing a new seven-floor, 374-bed hospital slated for completion in 2011 at an approximate cost of $320 million. Attending the blessing were: Imam Kedar Malik, Rabbi Morton Friedman, Deacon Richard Trapani, the Rev. John Warfel, the Rev. Dennis Nikolic, and Rabbi Joel Schwab.