hospitals

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All but one of Connecticut’s acute-care hospitals will lose Medicare reimbursement in 2015-16 as a penalty for high readmissions of discharged patients, new federal data show.

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Roman Lutsiuk, a Ukrainian volunteer soldier, was wounded twice in combat — first losing several fingers, and then, after returning to the front, sustaining serious injuries after being shot several times in the abdomen. 

He’s now receiving care at Yale-New Haven Hospital. In October, he'll undergo major reconstructive surgery to organs in his digestive system. 

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There are lots of tools to help us gauge the quality of nearly any product or service we wish to buy, from cars to computers to restaurants. Yet there's no easy way to assess the quality of the doctors who take care of what's most important to us -- our health. 

Newport Hospital has opened a new center for Lyme disease. Most doctors can treat Lyme with antibiotics, but the new clinic aims to help patients with lingering symptoms.

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The Eastern Connecticut Health Network, which owns Manchester Memorial and Rockville Hospitals, is to be taken over by a California-based for-profit company.

The Senate unanimously approved legislation Monday night requiring hospitals across the nation to tell Medicare patients when they receive observation care but haven't been admitted to the hospital as inpatients.

The distinction is easy for patients to miss — until they get hit with big medical bills after a short stay.

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Day Kimball Healthcare and Hartford HealthCare have announced they are considering an arrangement for the Putnam health system to become a member of the Hartford HealthCare network.

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The Supreme Court may have given health insurance companies more certainty on the Affordable Care Act, but merger speculation continues in the industry. Will the Big Five end up as the Big Three?

And what will that mean for consumers? 

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Nurses aides and other auxiliary workers at Danbury and New Milford hospitals have voted not to form a union. The tally for either side was not announced, but the AFT union said it was a narrow margin. 

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Last week, non-profit Hartford Healthcare said they would cut the jobs of over 400 people if the state increased taxes on hospitals to what they say are unsustainable rates.

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Hartford Healthcare will lay off hundreds of staff, saying the cuts are necessary because of reduced reimbursement for Medicaid patients. 

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A bill that would clarify the nature of mental health services covered by insurance policies is awaiting Governor Dannel Malloy’s review.  

Baystate Health, the largest employer in western Massachusetts, has announced a round of job cuts.

Twenty-four employees are being laid off, hours cut for 17 workers, and 45 vacant positions will go unfilled.  Baystate spokesman Ben Craft said the cuts are across the board and almost all at the flagship hospital in Springfield.

"Largely support and administrative positions in both the clinical and business areas of Baystate Health. There are  no physicians or bedside nurses affected. Ten management positions are included," he said.

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A bill allowing electric car-maker Tesla Motors to sell directly to Connecticut consumers has cleared the state House of Representatives.

Despite some concerns about the effect it will have on local auto dealerships, the bill passed 116 to 32 Thursday. It now awaits action in the Senate.

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Officials at the UConn Health Center activated their Ebola protocols after a man who had recently returned from Liberia came to the hospital feeling ill. Late Wednesday, a test result came back negative for Ebola, but the patient tested positive for malaria.

The Connecticut Mirror

Waterbury Hospital has found a new buyer. The financially troubled institution could be acquired by a California-based hospital group.

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A 17-year-old girl who was forced to undergo chemotherapy by the state of Connecticut is going home on Monday. The teen known as Cassandra C has been held at a local children's hospital since December. 

The Science of Snake Oil

Apr 22, 2015
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We like to think of health care as an exact science: established guidelines, uniform practices, rigorously tested treatments vetted through extensive lab trials. Unfortunately this was neither the case  in the early days of medicine, nor is it the case today. It's shame that nearly 2500 years after the writing of Hippocrates' famous oath we'd still be wrestling with the ethics of best practice.

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Mental disorders surpassed respiratory problems and all other ailments as the leading cause of hospitalization in Connecticut in 2012 for children ages five to 14, teenagers, and younger adults, according to a new state health department report.

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A bill that would give terminally ill patients the right to try experimental drugs and treatments currently not approved by the Food and Drug Administration is working its way through the state legislature. 

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The current enthusiasm for expanded gaming in Connecticut has prompted the Connecticut Lottery to float the idea of keno once again. Lawmakers will hear testimony on a bill later this week that would allow the lottery to offer keno, which is a form of high speed video gaming.

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.

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