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Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Health Care Quality

New National Reports on Quality, Disparities

Every year since 2003, the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has released national report cards on the progress of the US health care system in improving quality and reducing racial and ethnic health disparities. We just learned of the release of the 2006 reports -- didn't see reports anywhere. These are good benchmark reports and worth reviewing by folks interested in either/both policy areas. Click here for access to the quality report. Click here to access the disparities report. Read more »

Paul Levy Opens Up on Ventilator Associated Pneumonia

Another must-read blog entry by Beth Israel-Deaconess CEO Paul Levy today on BIDMC's efforts and results to date in reducing ventilator-associated pneumonia -- one of the major categories of hospital acquired infections. I humbly suggest Paul is engaged in breakthrough thinking and acting. The first and only hospital CEO to start a blog to talk frankly and openly about the challenges of managing a big and important institution. Every cultural constraint had to say to him -- don't do this. Maybe it's just that Paul is a quirky, idiosyncratic kind of guy. Maybe it's because his first job... Read more »

Kudos to North Adams Regional Hospital

We offer kudos to North Adams Regional Hospital out in Berkshire County which recently started a new procedure for helping uninsured patients. Now, whenever an uninsured patient has any service at the hospital, the admissions worker informs them up front of their possible eligibility for free care for that service and even cover previous hospital services. They are handed a flyer informing they will contacted shortly by the on-site health care access program, Ecu-Health Care who will help them apply for free care, MassHealth, Commonwealth Care and all other public health programs. This is a... Read more »

Secretary Bigby Chairs Her First Quality and Cost Council Meeting

Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, the new Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, attended and chaired her first meeting of the Quality and Cost Council. The first item for discussion was the status of the hiring process for an Executive Director. The closing date for applications is 1/22/07. Member Charlie Baker asked if the deadline could be extended because some individuals who are interested in the position may be holding off until they get a sense of where the new administration is placing the Council and the issues of cost and quality in its list of priorities. Secretary Bigby... Read more »

Watch Your Mouth Revamps Website

Massachusetts Watch Your Mouth, the public education campaign to promote healthy oral health policy, has a revamped and much improved website. Check it out by clicking here. Lots of useful and compelling information. Read more »

MA Businesses Host HHS Deputy Sect., and Sign on the Dotted Line

Alex Azar, the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, spoke in place of Secretary Mike Leavitt at an event in Boston hosted by the New England Council, Suffolk’s Sawyer Business School, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, the Massachusetts High Technology Council and the New England Healthcare Institute. Read more »

BORIM Newsletter

New quarterly newsletter of the MA Board of Registration in Medicine is out. If you've never seen it, worth a look. Click here. Read more »

Professional Licensing Boards Looking for Consumer Reps

The Department of Public Health’s Division of Health Professions Licensure consists of seven boards of registration: Nursing, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Perfusionists, Nursing Home Administrators, Physician Assistants, and Respiratory Therapists. The mission of the boards is: “To protect the public health, safety, and welfare by licensing qualified health care professionals, services, and facilities through the fair and consistent application of statutes. Through our boards of registration and in an open forum, we develop, implement, and enforce regulations and policies that assure and promote... Read more »

Breakthrough: BIDMC Puts It on the Line for Quality/Safety

What if, just what if a major hospital decided to find a competitive advantage in selling its documented success in improving quality and enhancing patient safety? What might that do? What might that lead to? Please check out Beth Israel Deaconess CEO Paul Levy's must-read blog today detailing his strategy to do this. Basically, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement has created an instrument -- kind of an Apgar score for hospital quality and safety called "reducing hospital mortality rates." And Paul is putting BIDMC's number out there for everyone to see. (For the record, it's pretty... Read more »

Beth Israel Deaconess Pushes Hospital Infection Rate to ZERO

Check out Paul Levy's 12/17/06 posting regarding efforts at Beth Israel Deaconess to drive their rate of central line-related bloodstream infections down to ZERO. Here are Paul's numbers: Here are the month-to-month results for the first year of the program: Month ----- Infection Rate Oct 05 ----- 1.67 Nov 05 ----- 1.28 Dec 05 ----- 2.43 Jan 06 ----- 3.07 Feb 06 ----- 1.40 Mar 06 ----- 1.07 Apr 06 ----- 0.00 May 06 ----- 0.59 Jun 06 ----- 1.15 Jul 06 ----- 0.57 Aug 06 ----- 3.03 Sep 06 ----- 2.50 Oct 06 ----- 0.00 Read more »

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