Best read of the week


In wake of opioid crisis, Joint Commission issues new pain standards for hospitals

FierceHealthcare: Among the changes, the new standards will require hospitals to provide nonpharmacological pain treatment methods, alternatives that can include physical methods such as acupuncture and chiropractic therapy, as well as relaxation and cognitive behavioral therapy. It will also require hospitals to facilitate practitioner and pharmacist access to Prescription Drug Monitoring Program databases.


Additional news media reports on MLH physicians and the health care industry, excerpted from MLH’s daily Morning News Report:


Main Line Health News


Gov. Wolf tours Bryn Mawr Hospital, talks ACA; will be in Coatesville Friday

Daily Local: “The tour of Bryn Mawr Hospital was an excellent opportunity to see the hospital and health system’s commitment to patient care and comfort; two very important aspects of health care that might be overlooked if not prioritized,” said Wolf.


Gardia Medical Demonstrates Enhanced Safety in Lower Extremity Interventions

KMOV: The WISE-LE study’s objective is to demonstrate the safety and performance of the WIRION™ EPS in subjects undergoing LE atherectomy for the treatment of Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). The Primary Investigator of the Study is Dr. Bill Gray from Lankenau Heart Institute in Philadelphia.


FIRST LOOK: Lankenau Medical Center

Healthcare Design: The Main Line Health Lankenau Center emergency department expansion included redesign of the entry, featuring a frosted glass façade.



Regional Health Care News

Tenet will leave Philly, selling Hahnemann, St. Christopher’s to Paladin

Philadelphia Inquirer: Paladin Healthcare of El Segundo, is purchasing the facilities through a new affiliate called American Academic Health System LLC. Paladin owns four hospitals in low-income areas of Los Angeles County with 497 beds. The company also manages the 280-bed Howard University Hospital in Washington.


Three Philadelphia-area health systems report fiscal 2017 losses

Philadelphia Inquirer: The Philadelphia region’s two smallest nonprofit health systems by revenue, Doylestown and Holy Redeemer, slipped into the red on an operating basis in the year ended June 30, according to preliminary operating results. Also reporting a loss was Einstein Healthcare Network, which had posted an operating profit in fiscal 2016 for the first time since fiscal 2012.



Patient Care News…

Zika Virus May Be Treatment For Brain Cancer, Scientists Say

CBS: Scientists believe that since adults have a much lower number of stem cells in their body, the virus can be selectively injected into a cancer patient’s tumor cells to kill the disease.


Could this drug be a game changer in Pennsylvania’s opioid crisis?

Patriot-News: Researchers at Yale School of Medicine found that giving buprenorphine to overdose survivors while in the emergency room nearly doubles the chances they will be in recovery 30 days later. It also reduces their need for expensive residential drug treatment, the researchers found.


Will experimental blood test be a game-changer for Alzheimer’s disease?

CNN: Though still in development, the test may someday be used to diagnose other degenerative brain disorders and even mild cognitive impairment resulting from head injuries.


Sepsis costs Medicare $6B, topping all other inpatient discharges

Healthcare Dive: Not only is sepsis the most costly inpatient discharge for Medicare, a JAMA study earlier this year found that sepsis is a leading cause of readmissions among conditions tracked by CMS in 30-day readmission rates.


Study: Preferred skilled nursing facility networks can lead to greater readmission rate reductions

FierceHealthcare: The researchers found that in the four case hospitals, patients were more likely to have coordinated care plans that shared the load between the hospital and SNF, which can be crucial as these patients are often among the sickest.


Quality and Safety News…

Medical errors have harmed thousands in Pa. Tracking those errors is saving lives

York Daily Record: Two thousand six hundred lives have been saved between 2004 and 2015 thanks to collaborative efforts seeking to track, understand and prevent medical errors in the state. That’s according to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, an independent state agency.


Monitoring program has drastically reduced ‘doctor shopping’ for opioids

Post-Gazette: The program has led to an 86 percent drop in the number of patients going to five doctors or more in search of drugs. Some patients go to 10 or more doctors in search of opioids, strongly indicating dependency or addiction.


Triple Threat: New Pneumonia Is Drug-Resistant, Deadly And Contagious

WHYY: Doctors in China have detected a a type of pneumonia that is both highly drug-resistant and very deadly. It also spreads easily. The bacterium — a type of Klebsiella pneumoniae — killed five people in an intensive care unit in Hangzhou in 2016, researchers reported Tuesday in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases.


Midstate hospitals seek to protect staff from elephant tranquilizer

WITF-TV: Summit Health announced in a news release that it is updating policies and equipment to ensure their front-line staff at both Chambersburg and Waynesboro hospitals have the tools they need to safely handle carfentanil.


More doctors are practicing past age 70. Is that safe for patients?

Philadelphia Inquirer: Health systems are grappling with how to be fair to physicians, many of whom are perfectly able to keep working for many years past the traditional retirement age.



Health Care Business News…

Utah hospital bars cops from contact with nurses after ‘appalling’ arrest

Washington Post: The University of Utah hospital where a nurse was manhandled and arrested by police as she protected the legal rights of a patient has imposed new restrictions on law enforcement, including barring officers from patient care areas and from direct contact with nurses.


The tiny device that can mean surgical success – or failure

Philadelphia Inquirer: Here’s your chance to learn why the threads surgeons use to tie wounds together while they heal are more interesting, important, and costly than even the experts at Plymouth Meeting’s ECRI Institute had imagined.


Scanning The Future, Radiologists See Their Jobs At Risk

NPR: Dr. Bob Wachter, an internist at UCSF and author of The Digital Doctor, says radiology is particularly amenable to takeover by artificial intelligence like machine learning.


New Study Offers Support for Prostate Testing

New York Times: When they made a rigorous comparison between death rates among men who had actually undergone screening and men who had received no screening, the researchers concluded that screening tests reduced prostate cancer deaths by 25 to 32 percent. The reduction was primarily a result of the earlier detection of cancer, the researchers said.


Medicare Shared Savings ACOs cut spending by $1B over three years, OIG says

The Advisory Board: According to the report, a subset of particularly “high-performing” ACOs cut spending by an average of $673 per beneficiary between 2010 and 2015 for certain Medicaid services, with the largest spending reductions recorded in hospital inpatient care.


Study: Concentrated insurer markets lead to lower hospital, physician prices

Healthcare Dive: One of the broader concerns with these megamergers and the general trend of consolidation is that a payer could corner a market and push providers to accept lower reimbursements. This study may feed those fears, particularly with cost savings going toward payer profit and not lower spending for consumers.


New Study: Physicians Lack the Right Tools to Close Costly Gaps in Healthcare

HealthLeaders Media: The perception gap regarding the availability of tools could be related to perceptions about EHRs. While 75 percent of health plan executives said EHRs have everything physicians need, only 54 percent of physicians agreed. Additionally, 70 percent of physicians said they do not see a clear link between their EHRs and better patient outcomes.


Consumer confusion causes delayed collection of patient payments

Revenue Cycle Advisor: Patient uncertainty has been linked to a lack of understanding of the terminology used in healthcare payments. Just 7% of consumers reported they could define co-insurance, deductible, and other common HDHP vocabulary.


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