Hazleton General Ranks First In State For Health Care Value

Hazleton General Hospital ranks first in the state in a new measure that the federal government uses to assess value in health care.

Through the Affordable Health Care Act, the federal government will increase or decrease a small percentage of Medicare payments to hospitals based on the ratings.

For the past few years, the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania used federal data and formulas to let hospitals know how they compare under value-based purchasing.

“For Hazleton General Hospital, of 136 hospitals which we have data for, they ranked No. 1,” Martin Ciccocioppo, vice president of research for the hospital association, said.  “Out of the whole country … Hazleton General Hospital, in our analysis, is 23 of 2,843.”

Read more: http://standardspeaker.com/news/hazleton-general-ranks-first-in-state-for-health-care-value-1.1469528

Advanced Robotic Surgery Debuts At Einstein Medical Center Montgomery

Location of East Norriton Township in Montgome...

Location of East Norriton Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

EAST NORRITON – Men who choose to undergo a robotic prostatectomy for treatment of prostate cancer have a much sunnier outlook than those who have their prostates removed by traditional surgery.

Young Kwak didn’t need to read that result of a study recently published in The Journal of Urology to know he was more than happy with his own robotic experience.

As the first patient at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery in East Norriton whose operation was assisted by the daVinci Surgery Robot, the Limerick resident said his goal was to get it done and move on with his life.

“Then I wouldn’t worry about it,” said Kwak, who underwent surgery on Jan. 18. “I liked the idea of a fast recovery without a big incision. I get really bored just sitting around. When they wheeled me into the operating room everyone was very excited and cheering. I have two colleagues at work with prostate cancer. One thinks he needs to go far away for treatment. I told him he didn’t have to do that. We’ve got the best right here. The new hospital is gorgeous. It looks and feels like a hotel.”

Read more:  http://business-news.thestreet.com/the-times-herald/story/advanced-robotic-surgery-debuts-einstein-medical-center-montgomery/1

Berks Hospitals Get High Ratings

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Medical treatment available at Reading Hospital and St. Joseph Medical Center is as good as or better than any other hospital in Pennsylvania.

But the cost of that treatment is more expensive at Reading Hospital, 16 percent more expensive on average.

The Hospital Performance Report released today by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council measures the in-hospital death and readmission rate of all hospitals in the state in 2011.  A readmission is defined as being admitted to the hospital within 30 days of being hospitalized for the same condition.

It also measures the average cost for treating some common medical conditions.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=437228

’60 Minutes’ Report Critical Of Health Management Associates

A national health-care chain that operates two hospitals in Lancaster County has come under fire after an investigative TV news program aired allegations that profits — and not patient care — motivated many of the company’s decisions in the emergency room.

CBS correspondent Steve Kroft on “60 Minutes” Sunday charged Health Management Associates with running unnecessary tests and admitting patients without cause — all to drive up revenue.

Based in Naples, Fla., HMA is the nation’s fourth-largest for-profit hospital chain.  Locally, HMA operates Lancaster Regional Medical Center at 250 College Ave. and Heart of Lancaster Regional Medical Center in Lititz.

Danielle Gilmore, director of marketing for Lancaster Regional, declined to discuss the CBS report, instead sharing a statement issued by HMA’s corporate office in Naples.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/788776_-60-Minutes–report-critical-of-Health-Management-Associates.html#ixzz2E1Aur9Zx

Hospitals Become Key Players In Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Economy

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After a massive consolidation of the region’s health care industry, Community Health Systems has become the largest private employer in Northeast Pennsylvania.

With about 6,500 employees at eight area hospitals and nonhospital entities, Community Health Systems has even surpassed Tobyhanna Army Depot, which has about 5,400 workers.

“Whenever you have an employer that size, clearly that has a huge impact on the economy, not just for the people we employ, but those folks go out and buy houses and cars and gas,” said Cornelio Catena, CEO of Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and Commonwealth Health, the umbrella group for Community Health Systems’ area hospitals.

“It’s a huge economic contributor to our area.”

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/hospitals-become-key-players-in-region-s-economy-1.1387891

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center East End Expansion Leads To Controversy

English: UPMC Logo

English: UPMC Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When UPMC paid $10 million in 2006 for the old Ford Motor Co. building on Baum Boulevard in Bloomfield, jaws dropped at what some considered an exorbitant price, even for a local landmark.

The sale “sort of stopped purchasing for a while because a lot of people thought they could get rich, too,” Pittsburgh Councilman Bill Peduto said. “They thought that if they held out, UPMC would knock with a check with a couple of extra zeroes.”

People did indeed get rich following the sale of the 1915 building that once served as a Ford assembly plant and showroom, but not by holding out as a way to take advantage of the $10 billion health care giant.

They simply owned the right property at the right time when UPMC, with its deep pockets, made a strategic decision to establish a larger East End footprint.

Einstein Medical Center Montgomery Ready For Sept. 29 Debut

Location of East Norriton Township in Montgome...

Location of East Norriton Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

EAST NORRITON — The clock is ticking down with last-minute installation work, a required state Department of Health inspection and final cleaning before the doors open Sept. 29 on the $350 million, 146-bed Einstein Medical Center Montgomery (EMCM) hospital on Germantown Pike.

A recent press tour of the five-story facility included working journalists and four aspiring journalists from Gotwals Elementary School. Third-fourth grade teacher Katie Sortino accompanied Yazzmin Hernandez, Amayrami Lopez, Derrick Honeycutt and Zavier Wedderburn as they took notes for a late October edition of the “Healthy Press.”

A crowd of 5,000 to 10,000 local residents are expected at a Sept. 22 “Community Day and Open House,” from noon to 6 p.m., to tour the facility before an official 6 a.m., Sept. 29, hospital opening. Forty to 50 patients at Montgomery Hospital in Norristown will be transferred with six ambulances to EMCM on Sept. 29, starting at 7 a.m., said Beth Duffy, the chief operating officer of EMCM.

Montgomery Hospital had 87 patients on Sept. 5. Hospital administrators will not accept elective procedure patients at Montgomery Hospital close to the closing date to reduce the number of patients requiring transfers.

Pottstown Memorial Medical Center Awarded Certification From The Joint Commission

POTTSTOWN, PA – Pottstown Memorial Medical Center has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Joint Replacement – Hip and Knee by demonstrating compliance with The Joint Commission’s national standards for health care quality and safety in disease-specific care. The certification award recognizes PMMC’s dedication to continuous compliance with The Joint Commission’s standards.

PMMC underwent a rigorous on-site survey in July. A team of Joint Commission expert surveyors evaluated PMMC’s Joint Replacement program for hip and knee for compliance with standards of care specific to the needs of patients and families, including infection prevention and control, leadership and medication management.

“In achieving Joint Commission certification, Pottstown Memorial Medical Center has demonstrated its commitment to the highest level of care for joint replacement of hip and knee patients.” says Jean Range, M.S., R.N., C.P.H.Q. executive director, Disease-Specific Care Certification, The Joint Commission. “Certification is a voluntary process and I commend PMMC for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate its standard of care and instill confidence in the community it serves.”

Read more: http://business-news.thestreet.com/the-mercury/story/pmmc-awarded-certification-the-joint-commission-0/1

One Dead, 9 Injured After Lightning Strike At Pocono Raceway

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Monroe County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Monroe County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LONG POND – One fan was killed and nine others injured Sunday after being struck by lightning in the midst of a violent thunderstorm that overwhelmed Pocono Raceway just after the conclusion of NASCAR‘s Pennsylvania 400, track officials confirmed.

The victim, whose name was not released pending the notification of family, was pronounced dead at Pocono Medical Center by emergency room director Dr. Peter Favini, raceway president and CEO Brandon Igdalsky said. Nine others remained hospitalized at various area hospitals, one critically.

“Unfortunately, a member of our raceway family here, a fan, has passed away,” Igdalsky said. “On behalf of myself and my entire family and everybody here, really heartfelt thoughts.”

Track spokesman Bob Pleban said one of the injured fans remained in critical condition at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest. Two others were taken to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre, one with a moderate injury and the other with a minor one. Another fan with a minor injury was taken to Pocono Medical Center, and five others were treated and released at the raceway.

Read more: http://republicanherald.com/news/one-dead-9-injured-after-lightning-strike-at-pocono-raceway-1.1355045

Urgent-Care Clinic Opens In Carbondale Months After Hospital Closes

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CARBONDALE, PA – When Marian Community Hospital closed in late February, Upvalley residents had no other options for immediate care between Honesdale and Scranton.

Helping fill health care needs in the area, Pioneer City Urgent Care, a seven-day-a-week clinic, has opened to treat anything from bronchitis to earaches and bone fractures.

“Having an urgent-care clinic in our city is vitally important to our residents and the surrounding area,” said Carbondale Mayor Justin Taylor, a former emergency medical technician. “This is really the first line of defense with anyone with a medical situation.”

Jaime A. Cook, R.N., practice manager for the clinic and a registered nurse, said people should consider the new facility instead of driving out of the area for medical assistance.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/urgent-care-clinic-opens-in-carbondale-months-after-hospital-closes-1.1350312

Wyomissing School District And Reading Hospital Reach Deal On Tax Dispute

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Wyomissing School District has reached an agreement with Reading Hospital in an ongoing dispute over tax-exempt status for hospital properties in the district.

On Monday the hospital announced that it had agreed to provide $408,500 in annual health-related services to the district in an effort to help offset the annual deficit caused by decreases to state funding and local tax revenue, as well as mandated increases in the Public School Employee Retirement System contributions.

The agreement puts an end to the district’s efforts to increase the amount of property tax it collects from the hospital. However, it does not include a pending tax assessment appeal by The Highlands at Wyomissing.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=399500

Is University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian Top Grossing Hospital?

UPMC‘s Presbyterian/Shadyside hospital is the highest grossing hospital in America, according to a leading hospital industry journal.

UPMC is not so sure.

Becker’s Hospital Review, based in Glencoe, Ill., recently put UPMC Presbyterian/Shadyside first on its “50 Top Grossing Hospitals” list with $10.19 billion in total patient revenue, followed by The Cleveland Clinic at $9.86 billion.

Two other Pennsylvania hospitals were in the top 10, both based in PhiladelphiaHospital of the University of Pennsylvania (No. 8, $5.98 billion) and Temple University Hospital (No. 10, $5.9 billion). (The complete list can be viewed online at http://www.bec

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/is-upmc-presbyterian-top-grossing-hospital-643472/#ixzz1zr2Zts9o

Geisinger Commits To $126 Million In Upgrades At Scranton Hospital

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Following up on a promise to the community when it took over a local hospital earlier this year, Geisinger Health System Foundation Board of Directors today approved $125.7 million for Geisinger-Community Medical Center, part of a nearly $160 commitment to the hospital.

When Geisinger took over CMC hospital in February, it promised to make upgrades of during a seven-year period to the dated facility.

With today’s announcement, Geisinger commits to an $80 million facility expansion of GCMC, $25.7 million to construct a new physician office building in Scranton and a $20 million project already under way to upgrade the hospital’s information technology system.

Anthony Aquilina, D.O., chief medical officer at GCMC, said the goal is to boost quality of health care in the local community.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/geisinger-commits-to-126-million-in-upgrades-at-scranton-hospital-1.1333161

Carbondale Losing Hospital And Largest Employer

Carbondale, PA‘s largest employer and the last remaining Catholic-affiliated hospital in the region will close by Feb. 28, a move officials said was unavoidable as the number of patients dwindled and financial struggles multiplied.

Marian Community Hospital will have an operating loss of $2.6 million this year and projected an operating loss of more than $4 million in 2012, according to Mary Theresa Vautrinot, president and CEO of parent company Maxis Health System.

The hospital is licensed for 70 beds but scaled back to 35 in January 2010, according to hospital officials. For the past six months, the hospital has had an average daily census of 20 patients.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/marian-community-hospital-to-close-1.1238179#ixzz1f9WtkRfP

Lancaster General Hospital: Profits Dip But Hosptial Remains 6th Most Profitable Hospital In PA

Lancaster General Hospital showed a $66.6 million profit for the fiscal period from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010.  Only five hospitals in Pennsylvania showed higher profits in the 2009-2010 fiscal year, they were: Thomas Jefferson, CHOP, University of Penn, Lehigh Valley and UPMC –Presbyterian Hospital.  For fiscal year 2006-2007 Lancaster General Hospital showed a profit of $136.8 million.  Salaries and benefits were the number one cost that contributed to lower profits.  Pension expenses were the main culprit.  Lancaster General’s profit margin is 7 percent.  The state average is 4.5 percent.

Lancaster General contributes significantly to the City of Lancaster and the Lancaster City School District.  Each entity receives about $1.35 million a year.  According to Mayor Gray, Lancaster General’s tax contribution equals three-quarters of a mill.  In addition to taxes, Lancaster General gives well over a half-million dollars in grants to various local organizations and provided $83.3 million in charity care for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

Lancaster General Health is a not-for-profit regional healthcare system with a reputation for excellence. Located in Lancaster,PA, Lancaster General Health has a 600 bed Magnet Hospital as its cornerstone with multiple outpatient facilities.  Twice designated a Magnet hospital for clinical excellence, LGH was named one of America’s 100 Top Hospitals, nine of the past 11 years.  LGH has been recognized regionally and nationally for its intensive care unit and cardiology and orthopedic services.  Other key specialty services include obstetrics, open-heart surgery, neurosurgery and trauma.  Lancaster General Health system is the county’s largest employer with 6,693 employees.  LGH was named as a 100 Best Places to work in PA – the last three years.

Community Health Systems Buys Up Three More Hospitals In Northeast Pennsylvania

Location of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropol...

Image via Wikipedia

As residents of Pottstown and Phoenixville know first hand, things change when Community Health Systems (CHS) buys your local hospital.  CHS owns Pottstown Memorial Medical Center and Phoenixville Hospital.

CHS is continuing to expand their presence in Pennsylvania with the purchase of three hospitals in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Metropolitan Area.  CHS, who already owns Wyoming Valley Health Care System since 2009, has entered into an agreement with Mercy Health Partners to purchase Mercy Hospital in Scranton, Mercy Tyler Hospital in Tunkhannock and Mercy Special Care Hospital in Nanticoke.  Wilkes-Barre General Hospital is part of Wyoming Valley Health Care System and already owned by CHS.

The standard CHS rhetoric has followed: hire all employees in good standing at the time of the sale (same position, pay and seniority), CHS promised to invest $68 million in the first five years, set up a community foundation and donate $2 million, maintain the status quo for five years and treat employees with dignity and respect.

All I can say is, based on what happened in Pottstown, things will change.  We narrowly averted a strike because employees were disgruntled, claimed to be overworked and salary/benefits changes were proposed.  CHS does invest in hospital infrastructure, equipment and recruit physicians as promised.

Wyoming Valley Heath Care System in Luzerne County’s largest employer.   http://www.wvhcs.org/About/Pages/About%20Us.aspx

Wait Time Clocks In The ER? Does That Sound A Little Too Much Like Ordering A Pizza?

A patient having his blood pressure taken by a...

Image via Wikipedia

Some local hospital Emergency Rooms already have them.  Some others are considering adding them like Pottstown Memorial Medical Center and Phoenixville Hospital.

I don’t know about you but is this making medical care too much like ordering a pizza or being on hold with your credit card company?  Will patients get discounts and prizes for prompt treatment?  Will employees be rewarded for providing prompt treatment?

Some things take as long as they take.  Do we want medical treatment on the same level as an express lunch guarantee at Bennigan’s?  I am somewhat skeptical of this concept.  Will we be installing deli ticket machines so patients can take a number as well?  Maybe we can put up a digital display like at Redner’s so everyone can see what patient we are on.

Triage takes care of making sure the neediest patients get care first.  Turning the ER into a deli atmosphere does not seem like a step forward IMHO.

Candlelight Vigil Held Tonight At St. John’s UCC Pottstown For Union Workers

The long drawn out union negotiations at PMMC are wearing down the hard working staff.  A candlelight vigil was held at St. John’s United Church of Christ in Pottstown this afternoon at 4 pm.  Hospital workers, union representatives, Pottstown Mayor Sharon Thomas and the press gathered to pray for a settlement and support each other during this difficult time.

Community Health Services of Brentwood, TN bought PMMC a few years ago and has transformed our caring community hospital into a “profit center”.  CHS has failed to show up at three of the last four bargaining sessions.  The contact has been extended twice already so the union voted overwhelming to go on a three day strike in December to protest unfair labor practices by CHS. 

While most of the country is in a recession, CHS is making record breaking profits and for the 3rd Quarter of 2009, their profits increased a whopping 13%.  CHS is trying to take away worker pensions and replace them with a 401K and has not made any indication of what, if any, matching contributions would be.  Also, CHS proposes to drastically increase employee health care contributions.  In the case of part time employees their out of pocket contributions would increase 400%!

Many workers spoke as well as union leaders.  A letter from US Senator Bob Casey (D) was read showing his support for the union and the hard working PMMC employees.  Two nurses from the Wyoming Valley (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area) came in support of hospital workers.  They briefly spoke saying their hospital was recently purchased by CHS and they are having similar difficulty in negotiating with CHS.  They wanted to show their solidarity to the workers in Pottstown.

Channel 6 was also there and interviewed several key people.

The attached pictures hopefully put a human face on the struggle to get fair and equitable treatment for our hospital workers.  These are Pottstown area people who are trying to get a fair contract from a corporate giant who evidently cares little for the Pottstown community.

Rev. Karen Creasy, Pastor of St. John’s UCC lead the service which included a Litany for Solidarity and candle lighting.  Participants prayed that God would loosen the hard heartedness of those at CHS and PMMC.

There are two more bargaining sessions before the strike deadline.  November 24th and November 30th.

PMMC Workers To Hold Candlelight Rally On Thursday, November 19th

 

Join other PMMC workers and our families at a

Candlelight Vigil for 

Fairness at Our

Community Hospital

Together workers at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center are taking a stand for our patients, our community, and our future. We are united for a fair contract that allows us to best serve our community and to take care of our families. Together, we believe it is absolutely essential that our employer, CHS, come to the table to bargain with us in good faith.

Join us as we come together at a Candlelight Vigil.

St. John’s UCC

Corner of Price and High Sts. in Pottstown

Thursday, November 19

4:00 PM

For More Information Call

Stephen Jones at 570-460-5832

PLAN TO ATTEND AND BRING YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY

CHS Continues To Drag Feet On PMMC Negotiations – Strike Threatened

I have been watching this situation unfold and am not surprised it has come to this.  CHS has done some good things at PMMC by bringing in more doctors, expanding services and buying new and better equipment. However, their treatment of the staff is poor. 

I know a number of staff members at the hospital and attended the Sunnybrook Rally and the Board of Directors Meeting.  I feel I have some perspective on this situation as an outside observer.  Workers are stressed out and the proposed contract is beyond unfair. 

If CHS were struggling financially and needed the workers to make concessions to keep the doors open, I would feel differently.  What I see is another corporate giant worried about increasing their bottom line, not the people who work to make PMMC profitable. 

Mr. Kirby isn’t making PMMC profitable all by himself.  The other 1100 people who work at the hospital contribute to that success as well.  There is no I in team!