NEW YORK—The NYU Langone Medical Center opened a 22,000-square-foot outpatient surgery center after a yearlong renovation project. The $16 million overhaul is part of the 806-bed hospital's newly created musculoskeletal institute, one of six centers of excellence chosen by the hospital to share funding totaling $15 million over three years. Steve Abramson, a New York University professor of medicine, and Joseph Zuckerman, an orthopedic surgery professor and the NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases orthopedic surgery department chairman, were named joint directors of the musculoskeletal center. The renovated surgery center, which includes four operating rooms and a dozen post-anesthesia beds, will focus on minimally invasive orthopedic surgery.
Regionals: Ellis Medicine announces plans to expand Ellis Hospital's emergency room and more news ...
NEW YORK—The New York eHealth Collaborative, a health information technology policy not-for-profit, last month named David Whitlinger to succeed Rachel Block as executive director. Whitlinger, whose age was not available, joins the collaborative from Intel Corp., where he was director of healthcare policy and standards in the digital health group. Block was appointed deputy commissioner for the New York State Health Department's health information technology transformation office. John Corwin, an interim not-for-profit executive and principal of Corwin Consulting, New York, was named as interim executive director. New York also awarded the collaborative $35 million under an effort to boost patient-centered medical homes supported by health IT.
SCHENECTADY, N.Y.—Ellis Medicine, which includes the 351-bed Ellis Hospital, announced plans to expand the emergency room and relocate its 82-bed nursing home. Plans for the $45 million ER project is one of three that has been submitted to New York for certificate-of-need approval. The other two projects awaiting approval include a $15 million expansion and renovation of Ellis' Bellevue Women's Center and a 20,000-square-foot satellite emergency room Ellis expects to lease and furnish at a cost of $3 million. If approved, construction and development on the projects are expected to begin in the second half of 2010. The $8 million effort to move Ellis Medicine's nursing home, already under way, is expected to be completed in early 2010.
HARRISBURG and YORK, Pa.—The boards for PinnacleHealth System, Harrisburg, and WellSpan Health, York, late last month signed a memorandum of understanding that outlines a potential merger, according to a joint news release. The new regional healthcare organization would be governed by a board of directors that includes representatives of both systems and from the area it serves in central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland, according to the release. Bruce Bartels, president of WellSpan, would be the combined system's president and CEO, and Roger Longenderfer, president and CEO of PinnacleHealth, would be executive vice president and chief operating officer. The talks that began in March will continue with formal due diligence taking place and “consideration of a final merger agreement in early 2010,” according to the release. A deal would be followed by regulatory review. PinnacleHealth, which has a combined 564 beds, includes: Harrisburg Hospital, Community General Hospital campus, and Helen M. Simpson Rehab Hospital, all in Harrisburg, Pa. WellSpan includes 76-bed Gettysburg (Pa.) Hospital and 550-bed York (Pa.) Hospital.
HARRISBURG, Pa.—Competition from ambulatory surgery centers is increasing the pressure on safety net hospitals and healthcare costs in Pennsylvania, according to the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania. Reacting to a financial report on nongeneral acute-care facilities by the state Health Care Cost Containment Council, the hospital association said there are more ASCs in the state with greater profit margins. There are 170 general acute-care hospitals and 261 ASCs, the association said. Compared with hospitals averaging a total profit margin of 4% in the last decade, ASCs have seen profit margins increase to 26%. “With ASCs treating healthier—and usually better insured—patients, the financial strain and clinical demands on acute-care hospitals, which serve as the safety net for all Pennsylvanians are growing,” said association President and CEO Carolyn Scanlan.
HARTFORD, Conn.—Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is targeting two health insurers over losses of data. Earlier this month, he criticized the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association’s response to the theft of an employee’s personal laptop computer loaded with a directory of as many as 850,000 providers across the U.S. Blumenthal is investigating whether the association and its local member plans violated Connecticut laws. Nearly 19,000 Connecticut providers were listed in the stolen directory, according to a news release from his office. The computer was stolen from an employee’s car in late August, and providers were notified in October. Blue Cross and Blue Shield spokesman Jeff Smokler said only about 18% of the listings included Social Security numbers. “We’re certainly sensitive to the attorney general’s comments and are looking carefully at all the issues he raises to make sure the remediation works even better,” Smokler said. Last week, Blumenthal said that Health Net lost financial, health and personal information of nearly 450,000 state residents and failed to inform consumers for six months, according to the Associated Press. Health Net spokeswoman Alice Ferreira said an unencrypted portable disk drive was discovered missing from the company’s Shelton, Conn., office. She said that it took the company six months to determine who was affected, and it notified Blumenthal Nov. 18.
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