A selection of health policy news from Minnesota, Georgia, Kansas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Iowa and Virginia.
Pioneer Press: Minnesota: Hospitals Make Some Gains Reducing 'Adverse Events'
State officials and hospital leaders in Minnesota are claiming success in a 10-year effort to reduce bed sores, medication errors and more than two dozen other adverse events that can harm patients as they're being treated in medical centers. The number of deaths and disabilities that can be linked to the adverse events -- which include everything from burns and device malfunctions to operations on the wrong body part -- continue to trend downward, according to reports being released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health (Snowbeck, 1/23).
Minnesota Public Radio: Patient Hospital Safety Improves, But Falls Remain A Problem
The number of deaths and harmful events linked to preventable hospital errors has largely declined in the past decade, according to a new report from the Minnesota Department of Health. Department officials, who have tracked so-called "adverse health events" since 2003, called the trend encouraging. Still, the pace of progress has been slower than many health care leaders would like (Benson, 1/23).
The Star Tribune: Hospitals Report Fewer Preventable Mistakes
Efforts to eliminate preventable hospital errors in Minnesota have taken on the appearance of the old arcade game Whac-A-Mole. Just as the state's hospitals reduce deaths or disabilities attributed to one type of mistake, another pops up. In the latest adverse-event report, released Thursday, Minnesota's hospitals showed substantial progress in reducing the number of painful and disabling pressure ulcers that patients suffer because of immobility in hospital beds. They also reduced the number of surgical errors such as procedures on the wrong body part. But increases in patient deaths or disabilities because of falls or medication errors countered the progress in other areas (Olson, 1/23).
The Associated Press: Pennsylvania Gets 2015 Extension On CHIP-to-Medicaid Switch
About 30,000 low-income families whose kids are covered by Pennsylvania's health insurance program for children have until 2015 to switch them to Medicaid, Gov. Tom Corbett's administration said Wednesday. The deadline for states had been 2014, but Corbett's office said the extra time for Pennsylvania families to switch their children from the Children's Health Insurance Program was allowed by the federal government (Levy, 1/22).
The Associated Press: Defending Kansas Abortion Laws Top $1M
Kansas has paid private law firms slightly more than $1 million to defend anti-abortion laws enacted during the past three years, the attorney general's office confirmed Wednesday. Kansas has enacted a raft of new restrictions since Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, a strong abortion opponent, took office in January 2011. Abortion providers have responded with multiple federal and state lawsuits (Hanna, 1/22).
The Associated Press: Ohio Dems' 2014 Ticket To Highlight Women's Health
Ohio Democrats seeking statewide office this fall on Wednesday coupled criticism of Republican-backed abortion restrictions with a pledge to make women's health issues a priority in the 2014 campaign. The party's full 2014 slate appeared together for the first time to accept endorsements from Planned Parenthood (Smyth, 1/22).
Georgia Health News: Rise Of The ACO: Emory, Blue Cross Team Up
A partnership of health care heavyweights was created Wednesday as Emory Healthcare and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia announced a collaboration to improve quality and contain costs. The two entities will form an "accountable care organization" that will seek to enhance the care experienced by patients in the Atlanta region. ACOs are networks of hospitals and doctors -- and sometimes insurers -- that arose as a central feature of the federal health reform law of 2010, also known as the Affordable Care Act (Miller, 1/22).