ALBANY, N.Y.—New York awarded a combined $109 million in health information technology grants to promote medical homes to 11 hospitals, health information exchanges and other healthcare organizations, the state's health department announced. The grants will focus on coordination of mental health, long-term care and home healthcare, according to a news release. The New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. received a $10 million grant for a project that focuses on schizophrenia patients. New York Presbyterian Hospital's project to work with patients with depression and diabetes was awarded $10.8 million. The Long Island Patient Information Exchange, which includes 1,096 mental health providers, was awarded $20 million for a project to work with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders among patients. The grants were awarded through New York's Health Care Efficiency and Affordability law and the Federal State Health Reform Partnership, the release said.
Regionals: Connecticut AG investigating data breach and more news ...
NEW YORK—New York Hospital Queens finished more than three years of construction to open its seven-story patient tower this month. The $210 million project, which included a parking garage, added 80 beds to the 439-bed hospital, which is one of nine owned by New York Presbyterian Healthcare System, the hospital announced. The 190,000-square-foot expansion included two 40-bed patient units; 10 operating rooms and 33 recovery beds and a new lobby, the hospital said in a release announcing the opening. An operating room that can be converted from endovascular and interventional radiology use to vascular use will increase its capacity, according to the hospital.
WOONSOCKET, R.I.—Landmark Medical Center will operate under Catholic Church dictates should the 214-bed hospital be bought by the Boston-based Caritas Christi Health Care system, according to a news statement released this month. “If Landmark Medical Center is acquired by Caritas Christi or by any company owning the Caritas Christi hospitals, the Landmark Medical Center will function within and abide by the Ethical and Religious Directives” for Catholic healthcare, Ralph de la Torre, CEO of the Boston-based, six-hospital Caritas Christi system, said in the statement. The comment was made, according to the statement, to quash rumors that Landmark would not be required to adopt the Catholic Church's directives, which include a ban on procedures such as tubal ligation and vasectomy. The two hospitals have been in talks about a possible acquisition since June 2009, and a Rhode Island Superior Court judge is currently reviewing the proposal. But the potential acquisition comes at a time when Caritas is also in the process of being purchased. This past March, Caritas reached an agreement that calls for the New York-based private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management to pay $830 million for the system. As a part of the deal, Cerberus has agreed to allow Caritas to continue operating under Catholic healthcare ethical dictates. But the deal also has an out clause that would allow Cerberus to strip Caritas of its Catholic identity in exchange for an additional $25 million payment to a Catholic charity. Opponents of the deal are appealing to Pope Benedict XVI to put a halt to the acquisition, which, if ceased, would likely jeopardize Caritas' deal with Landmark.
PATERSON, N.J.—St. Joseph's Healthcare System is expanding its 408-bed St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center as part of a five-year, $250 million project to renovate and expand its two New Jersey hospitals. The 173,790-square-foot expansion, expected to be complete in 2012, will include space for surgical rooms, critical-care units and emergency departments, according to the system's website. St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center, also in Paterson, includes a children's hospital and will renovate its patient rooms and main lobby and add a women's and children's lobby. The multi-year project, first launched in 2008, also includes renovation of surgical rooms and intensive and critical care units at 146-bed St. Joseph's Wayne (N.J.).
HARRISBURG, Pa.—Despite their potential to cause serious medical harm, instances of missed, incorrect or delayed diagnoses rarely receive the attention garnered by other patient-safety problems such as medication errors. That's according to a report released this month from the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, an independent state agency charged with collecting and analyzing safety data. For the report, the agency reviewed 100 patient-safety events related to diagnostic errors that took place between June 2004 and November 2009. “Misdiagnoses represent a substantial unmeasured source of preventable mortality, morbidity and costs,” the authors wrote in the report. “However, it is not possible to focus on misdiagnosis-related harm without first understanding the broader issue of diagnostic error.” The likelihood of diagnostic errors depends on several variables including physicians' experience levels, communication among clinicians, and whether an organization has a culture that fosters or hinders openness, the authors said. The report also pushed for improvement strategies—such as data collection, adverse-event analysis and use of tools such as checklists—that could boost detection rates and aid prevention. “Implementing interventions that establish strong and reliable feedback loops between and among physicians regarding diagnostic accuracy is a key step in the error-reduction process,” they said in the report.
HARTFORD, Conn.—Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced last month that his office is investigating a data breach linked to a theft reported by Yale Medical School of a laptop computer containing personal health information on as many as 1,000 people. According to a news release, Blumenthal's office is investigating the breach's causes and whether state or federal laws have been violated. “Yale Medical School is cooperating with my office—recognizing that it has a profound responsibility to safeguard sensitive health information and must be accountable to approximately 1,000 individuals whose information may be at risk,” Blumenthal said in the release.
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