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14 Hospitals Penalized For High Infection Rates, Injuries

Feb 7, 2020
CT Mirror

Fourteen Connecticut hospitals are being penalized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), losing 1% of their Medicare reimbursements this fiscal year for having high rates of hospital-acquired infections and injuries, new data show.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Debra Trueax knew she was struggling with an acute substance use disorder, but she wanted to hide it from family and friends. So when she went to a hospital in 2018, she had a plan.

“I went to the emergency room looking to get a bed and for mental health and addiction services,” she said. “I knew where I could get a bed where I could also sort of on the sly get treatment for substance abuse without anyone knowing.”

SLAWOMIR FAJER / ISTOCK / THINKSTOCK

Even when patients go to a hospital within their insurance coverage network, they still risk being seen by individual physicians who don’t take their insurance. Later, patients may get billed for the amount their insurance company doesn’t cover for out-of-network services.

new study by researchers at Yale University found that some of these out-of-network charges can be significant among certain specialties.

Connecticut Legislature Approves Hospital Settlement And Restaurant Law

Dec 18, 2019
Chion Wolf / WNPR

The General Assembly unanimously voted in special session Wednesday to accept the settlement of a high-stakes lawsuit in which the hospital industry claimed billions in damages from a complex taxing scheme that increased federal Medicaid reimbursements for the state without producing new revenue for the hospitals.

Conn. General Assembly Special Session On Hospital Settlement Is Dec. 18

Dec 11, 2019
Chion Wolf / WNPR

The General Assembly is convening a one-day special session next week to vote on the acceptance of a $1.8 billion settlement of a tax fight with the hospital industry and a revised version of a restaurant tip-credit bill vetoed in July, legislative leaders said Tuesday.

Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, and House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, said in separate interviews that the House and Senate are ready to take up those two non-partisan issues on Dec. 18.

Hospitals To Receive $1.8 B To Settle Provider Tax Lawsuit Against Conn.

Dec 6, 2019
CT Mirror

Connecticut hospitals will receive $1.8 billion in state and federal funds between now and 2026 to resolve a lawsuit that could have cost the state as much as $4 billion, according to details released Thursday by Gov. Ned Lamont.

The agreement includes a one-time payment of $79 million to the industry, along with steadily declining taxes on hospitals — and increasing state payments to facilities — between now and 2026.

Rebecca Reindel / AFL-CIO

Advocates for workplace protections for health care and social services employees celebrated outside the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., Thursday after the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would require national protection standards against workplace violence.

“Sadly, in America today, nurses, doctors, social workers, EMTs and nursing assistants are more likely to be the victims of on-the-job violence than any sector of our nation’s workforce,” said Democrat Rep. Joe Courtney, sponsor of the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act.

26 Connecticut Hospitals Penalized By Medicare For High Readmission Rates

Oct 9, 2019
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services penalized Bridgeport Hospital 2.66 percent, the highest penalty among Conn. hospitals.
Bridgeport Hospital

Most Connecticut hospitals will lose a percentage of their Medicare reimbursement payments over the next year as penalties for having high rates of readmitted patients, according to new data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Philippe Put / CreativeCommons.org

Women in America die more frequently from complications of childbirth than in any other industrialized nation in the world. In addition, women of color are three to four times more likely to die than white women. And over the last 25 years that the maternal mortality was rising in America, other countries were decreasing their rate. 

SCANTAUR / Istock/Thinkstock

Plaintiffs in a nationwide class-action lawsuit are challenging how Medicare pays out for health coverage of hospitalizations and related rehabilitative services.

Philippe Put / Creative Commons

Women in America die more frequently from complications of childbirth than in any other industrialized nation in the world. In addition, women of color are three to four times more likely to die than white women. And over the last 25 years that the maternal mortality was rising in America, other countries were decreasing their rate. 

Ryan Lindsay / Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut Lawmakers and advocates against gun violence are growing impatient with congressional inaction over new legislation that’d make it harder for certain people to obtain firearms.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Local health institutions are receiving money to develop a vaccine for syphilis. Doctors from Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and the University of Connecticut will attempt to become the first research unit to test a syphilis vaccine on humans thanks to an $11 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Connecticut emergency departments will get free supplies of naloxone, the opioid antidote, to start distributing the reversal drug to patients as they leave the hospital.

Staffing Levels, Culture Challenge Quality Of Nursing Home Care

Dec 26, 2018
The Advance Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation was ordered by the state to hire an independent consultant and mandated staffing ratios.
C-HIT.org

In 2018, the state took the unusual step of issuing a consent order requiring a New Haven nursing home to hire an independent nurse consultant and implement minimum staffing ratios after inspections at the facility uncovered numerous lapses in care and safety violations.

More than 80 handguns were turned in at the 10th Annual Capital Region Gun Buyback. Officers used the back of the tags to write down information about the guns, which aren't actually loaded.
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

At the 10th Annual Capitol Region Gun Buyback Program, 137 guns were turned in within six hours, doubling last year's numbers. 

What Is The Future Of Hospitals?

Nov 26, 2018
DigiDreamGrafix.com / Creative Commons

Amid reports of consolidations and staffing crises, we ask: What is the future of the U.S. hospital industry? A team of experts joins us as we weigh this question and consider its implications for Connecticut. 

Later, we discuss the role of crowdfunding platforms in helping alleviate the burden of medical expenses. Have you ever turned to GoFundMe or a similar site to finance the cost of treatment? We want to hear from you. 

Kathrine Holte

The repeated incidents of mass shootings are shocking. Yet, they're sanitized and abstract for most of us who haven't been directly touched by gun violence.

The response to mass shootings has become predictable: anguished adults, candlelight vigils, and photos and remembrances of the victims in happier times. It's never about the carnage or the lingering impact on survivors or their families, communities,  medical doctors, nurses and psychiatrists who care for them. 

Crystal from Bloomington / Wikimedia Commons

Thirty million red blood cells circulate twelve thousand miles in a never ceasing loop through our bodies every day. Our blood has to keep moving in order to perfuse every organ and vessel necessary to keep us alive. Nothing in our body works without the constant presence and movement of our blood. Yet, few of us think about our blood until we see a few drops trickle from a cut. Then, we're horrified by it.

What Is The Future Of Primary Care?

Nov 9, 2018
Marco Verch / Creative Commons

What are the short- and long-term benefits of receiving continuous health care?

This hour, we talk with the medical director of the Washington, D.C.-based Robert Graham Center.

We also hear from three Connecticut-based doctors, who tell us how technology and innovation are revolutionizing the way care is delivered.  

Have you heard of telemedicine? What about subscription-based concierge services? We want to hear from you, too. 

Midwives Could Be Key To Reversing Maternal Mortality Trends

Nov 1, 2018
Caitlin DePasquale of Norwalk looks on as midwife Lindsay Lachant measures her abdomen during Depasquale's appointment at the Connecticut Childbirth & Women's Center in Danbury.
Credit: Melanie Stengel / C-HIT.org

The Connecticut Childbirth & Women’s Center in Danbury is a 50-minute drive from Evelyn DeGraf’s home in Westchester. Pregnant with her second child, the 37-year-old didn’t hesitate to make the drive—she wanted her birth to be attended by a midwife, not a doctor.

Medicare To Penalize 27 Hospitals For High Readmissions

Oct 11, 2018
Waterbury Rep-Am via C-HIT.org

Most Connecticut hospitals will lose a portion of their Medicare reimbursement payments over the next year as penalties for having high rates of patients being readmitted, new data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) show.

Consumers Feel Sticker Shock As Out-Of-Pocket Health Care Costs Rise

Oct 2, 2018
Lauren Goldstein (left) and her wife, Joan Goldstein, are fighting their insurance company's refusal to pay a $3,094 ER bill.
Carl Jordan Castro / C-HIT

In February, Joan Goldstein of Monroe received a panicked call for help from her wife, Lauren Goldstein. Joan found Lauren rolled up like a ball on the floor in her office bathroom. “I have never seen her sick in 15 years,” Joan said.

What Is The Future Of Hospitals?

Sep 27, 2018
DigiDreamGrafix.com / Creative Commons

Amid reports of consolidations and staffing crises, we ask: What is the future of the U.S. hospital industry? A team of experts joins us as we weigh this question and consider its implications for Connecticut. 

Later, we discuss the role of crowdfunding platforms in helping alleviate the burden of medical expenses. Have you ever turned to GoFundMe or a similar site to finance the cost of treatment? We want to hear from you. 

A consumer advocacy organization is asking federal health officials Tuesday to halt a large medical study being conducted at major universities nationwide.

Public Citizen says that the study, involving treatment for sepsis, puts patients at risk and will at best produce confusing results.

Editor's note: Shortly after this story by Kaiser Health News and NPR was published and broadcast on Monday, St. David's said it was now willing to accept $782.29 to resolve the $108,951 balance because Drew Calver qualifies for its "financial assistance discount." In a statement, the hospital said this offer was contingent on Calver submitting his application for a discount based on his household finances. Calver disputed that he owes any additional money to St. David's and said this situation should have been resolved long before now.

Connecticut Network

Lawmakers, immigration advocates and doctors are urging Immigration and Custom Enforcement Officials to stop the deportation of New London resident Julian Rodriguez. Rodriguez's 14 year-old son Santi has a rare genetic condition called Chronic Granulomatous Disease, or CGD, which requires regular treatment at Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal calls this deportation case unique because Santi and his mother are participants in a research study at the National Institutes of Health that could lead to a cure for CGD.

Creative Commons

U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday halting the at-the-border separation of immigrant children and families. Coming up, we wade through the details of the decision and consider its significance moving forward. 

Later, we talk about chronic pain and its impact on young children. We hear from a Connecticut mother whose son was diagnosed with amplified musculoskeletal pain syndrome (AMPS) and learn about the out-of-state program that treated him.

Sickle Cell Patients Suffer As Disparities In Care And Research Persist

Jun 6, 2018
Jeremy Brown, 9, sits with his mother Tangi Small in their Bridgeport apartment.
Derek Torrellas / C-HIT

When 9-year-old Jeremy Brown is in pain, it feels like he is being stabbed, while the pain experienced by Deborah Oliver, 40, is like a hundred simultaneous charley horses.

Ed Uthman / Creative Commons

In the U.S., an estimated 100,000 Americans live with sickle cell disease, or SCD.

Yet, despite its impact, the disease and its patients remain largely out of the public eye.

This hour, C-HIT reporter Peggy McCarthy helps us understand why. We discuss the realities of SCD awareness and hear from a New Haven resident living with the disease.

Plus: inside U.S. drug courts.

What approach do these programs take in addressing the nation’s opioid crisis? And are they accessible here in Connecticut? We find out. 

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