hospitals

Hospitals are one of the worst places to try to get a good night's sleep, just when you need it the most. And though many have tried to muffle the noise of beeping monitors and clattering carts, the noise remains a big problem for many patients.

But what if we looked at a night in the hospital as a long overseas flight? As you settle in, they hand out eye masks and earplugs. And you cleverly brought along melatonin, the sleep-regulating hormone sold at drugstores everywhere.

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Governor Dannel Malloy has proposed legislation requiring officials at nonprofit hospitals to disclose financial benefits they would gain if the hospital is bought by a for-profit entity.

The Journal Inquirer reports that Malloy's bill would require the disclosure as part of the approval process.

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For the first time ever, the federal government is penalizing more than 700 hospitals across the country for having high rates of things called hospital acquired infections.

Those are potentially avoidable mistakes in health care, like urinary tract infections.

In Connecticut, 14 hospitals are facing the penalty -- and that means they're losing millions of dollars. 

The Affordable Care Act is well-known as a law intended to get more people on health insurance. But it also has provisions intended to improve health care itself. This is one of them.

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Tenet Healthcare won’t be buying any hospitals in Connecticut. The Texas-based group announced Wednesday that it has ended its talks with Governor Dannel Malloy’s office. 

Tenet has been attempting for the past two years to complete several deals in Connecticut, including partnering with Waterbury Hospital and St. Mary’s in Waterbury. But late last year, the state’s Office of Healthcare Access imposed conditions that the company said were unacceptable, and it dropped plans for any purchases in Connecticut.

Legislative leaders and Malloy’s office began talks with Tenet to try to revive the deals, but now it appears those have failed.

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More than a million people get cancer every year in the United States, with about 22,000 new cases in Connecticut in 2014. But, thanks to better detection and more advanced treatment, the number of people surviving cancer is growing rapidly. There are 13 million survivors alive today.

So, most of us likely know someone with cancer...a neighbor, a friend, or more often, a member of our family.

The American Cancer Society says that three-out-of-four families have at least one person in their family who has survived cancer...and that number is rising every year. 

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Over the last four years, local emergency departments saw a 50 percent increase in opioid overdoses. Often, it's hospital emergency rooms that treat people who are suffering from chronic pain. Now, Connecticut hospital ERs are looking at ways to manage pain but also prevent the abuse of prescription painkillers.

Several medical associations in Connecticut have endorsed voluntary guidelines for local emergency departments to reduce the inappropriate use of opioids.

Carl Schiessl, Director of Regulatory Advocacy with the Connecticut Hospital Association, said directors of emergency rooms gather monthly at CHA. He said it was at one of those meetings where the idea for the guidelines came up. 

Update, 12:27 a.m.

The death toll is now at 3 with the death of a second infant in the hours following the blast, according to The Associated Press, and eight children and seven adults remain in critical condition.

"The blast occurred at 7:05 a.m. when the truck was making a routine delivery of gas to the hospital kitchen and gas started to leak. Witnesses said the tanker workers struggled for 15 or 20 minutes to repair the leak while a large cloud of gas formed.

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Tenet Healthcare said it is open to resuming talks with the state of Connecticut over its failed deal to buy five hospitals. The company pulls no punches in its response to Governor Dannel Malloy’s invitation.

NPR and ProPublica have been reporting about nonprofit hospitals that seize the wages of lower-income and working-class patients. Now, Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says hospitals could be breaking the law by suing these patients and docking their pay. And he wants some answers.

Waterbury Hospital

Waterbury Hospital announced Thursday that it's cutting positions to deal with a $9 million dollar shortfall in government reimbursements.

Hospital CEO Darlene Stromstad said an estimated 100 full- and part-time workers will be affected by the plan. 

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Leaders in the state senate say there may be hope of reviving the Tenet Healthcare deal to buy five Connecticut hospitals.

The Texas-based hospital company pulled out of the partnerships after the state’s Office of Healthcare Access specified unacceptable conditions for a deal involving Waterbury Hospital. 

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Connecticut hospitals reported record numbers of patients killed or seriously injured by hospital errors in 2013, with large increases in the numbers of falls, medication mistakes and perforations during surgical procedures, a new state report shows.

When the Affordable Care Act passed, many people focused on the law's creation of marketplaces to help the uninsured buy coverage, often with the help of federal subsidies.

Kathleen Schassler

Candid online posts describing the challenges of breastfeeding fill the Facebook page of Breastfeeding USA’s Connecticut chapter. The daily stream of anecdotes, questions and comments alternate in tone from exasperated to celebratory.

In what his staff is calling a precautionary measure, former President George H.W. Bush was taken to a hospital in Houston by ambulance Tuesday night after experiencing shortness of breath.

Bush, 90, is being kept at Houston Methodist Hospital for observation, his staff says.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy has closed the door on a purchase of Waterbury Hospital and four other non-profit hospitals in Connecticut by Dallas, Texas-based Tenet Healthcare Corporation. 

On the eastern edge of St. Joseph, Mo., lies the small city's only hospital, a landmark of modern brick and glass buildings. Everyone in town knows Heartland Regional Medical Center — many residents gave birth to their children here. Many rush here when they get hurt or sick.

Waterbury Hospital

Five hospitals in Connecticut are contemplating their next steps after Texas-based Tenet Healthcare withdrew a bid to buy the hospitals last week.

The CEO of one of the biggest hospitals in the failed deal said they're now looking to Hartford for help. 

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Texas-based Tenet Healthcare has withdrawn a bid to buy five hospitals in Connecticut, citing regulatory demands. 

Connecticut's Response to the Ebola Threat

Dec 11, 2014
Chion Wolf / WNPR

The world is facing the largest and most widespread Ebola outbreak in history. On August 8, 2014, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was declared by the World Health Organization to be a "public health emergency of international concern" because it was determined to be an "extraordinary event" with public health risks to countries around the globe.

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Connecticut’s acute-care hospitals saw gains from their operations tumble 35 percent in the last fiscal year, with seven of 29 hospitals reporting operating losses, according to a new state report.

Cancer doctors want the best, most effective treatment for their patients. But it turns out many aren't paying attention to evidence that older women with early stage breast cancer may be enduring the pain, fatigue and cost of radiation treatment although it doesn't increase life expectancy.

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A group of small, independent hospitals in Connecticut said the increasing cost of providing health care coupled with lower reimbursement rates from insurance providers and the government is making it harder for them to survive, and they’re seeking help from state lawmakers.

Chion Wolf

More than a million people get cancer every year in the United States, with about 22,000 new cases in Connecticut in 2014. But, thanks to better detection and more advanced treatment, the number of people surviving cancer is growing rapidly. There are 13 million survivors alive today.

So, most of us likely know someone with cancer...a neighbor, a friend, or more often, a member of our family.

The American Cancer Society says that three-out-of-four families have at least one person in their family who has survived cancer...and that number is rising every year. 

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Hospital groups in Connecticut have defended the increasing practice of charging facility fees. These are charges that may be billed separately to patients, and vary depending on where the care was delivered.

Connecticut House Democrats

Connecticut lawmakers held a hearing on Monday to learn more about the state's protocols for handling any future Ebola cases. 

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State health inspectors visiting Stamford Hospital in late 2012 turned up several infection-control violations, including the improper drying and storage of endoscopes, instruments used to look inside the body.

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It’s been just over a year since Russian authorities arrested 30 activists aboard Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior III -- a ship protesting Russia’s controversial oil rig in the Arctic. Among those arrested was the ship’s captain, Peter Willcox, a Greenpeace veteran and resident of Norwalk, Connecticut. 

Closing what many see as a loophole that could trap millions of people in substandard insurance, the Obama administration said Tuesday that large-employer medical plans lacking hospital coverage will not qualify under the Affordable Care Act's toughest standard. It also offered relief to workers who may be enrolled in those plans next year.

Translating from one language to another is a tricky business, and when it comes to interpreting between a doctor and patient, the stakes are even higher.

Consider the story of 18-year-old baseball player Willie Ramirez.

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