May 16th, 2013
Marilyn Tavenner was easily confirmed by the Senate Wednesday to run the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The 91-7 vote makes Tavenner the first confirmed CMS leader since 2006.
When Tavenner was first nominated in late 2011 she did not receive Senate confirmation. She succeeded former CMS administrator Dr. Donald Berwick, who announced his resignation in 2011 as Republicans in the Senate threatened to block his confirmation.
Many industry experts view Tavenner as a patient-centered pragmatist who is widely expected to continue with the agency’s reform work, and few observers believe she will make major changes from current policies. However, Tavenner, who brings about 20 years of nursing and 13 years in hospital management to the position, will likely continue to focus on the implications of policy decisions during this period of healthcare reform.
Prior to her first term, Tavenner had been serving as the agency’s second-in-command. Previously, Tavenner was secretary of the Virginia Health and Human Resources Department (HHS), where she was appointed by former Gov. Tim Kaine.
Tavenner’s advocates highlight her experience with patients, as well as in the boardroom and with the Virginia Legislature. As HHS secretary, she oversaw 12 agencies employing 18,000 people. Prior to her position there, she spent 25 years working for the for-profit Hospital Corporation of America, where she rose from staff nurse to president of outpatient services in one of the nation’s largest hospital chains. Tavenner holds a bachelor of science in nursing and a master of arts in health administration, both from the Virginia Commonwealth University.
Those who have worked with Tavenner and are familiar with her management style say she’s accessible and eager to hear all sides of an issue.
Read the original article at http://www.medicarenewsdigest.com/Pages/Article.aspx?id=12165496-5643-6f71-bd80-ff0000115b4a
Source: Medicare News Digest
May 15th, 2013
A study released by George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS) researchers offers an in-depth look at hospitals nationwide and admissions to intensive care units (ICU). The study, published in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine, finds a sharp increase—nearly 50%—in ICU admissions coming from US emergency departments.
“These findings suggest that emergency physicians are sending more patients on to the ICU,” said SPHHS researcher and lead author Peter Mullins. “The increase might be the result of an older, sicker population that needs more care.” The larger question, one that this study couldn’t answer, is whether there will be enough ICU capacity in the future to accommodate the growing number of patients, particularly the oldest of the old, the authors said.
Mullins and his colleagues conducted the study by using data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Care Survey, a sample of US hospital-based emergency departments during a seven-year period. They found that ICU admissions jumped from 2.79 million in 2002-2003 to 4.14 million in 2008-2009. The study also shows that during the same time frame overall emergency department admissions grew by only 5.8%.
May 15th, 2013
In the past, researchers have sought to determine the geographic distribution of many life-threatening conditions, including stroke and cardiac arrest. Now, researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have created the first US map that pinpoints hotspots for infection and severe sepsis related-deaths – with notable clusters located in the Midwest, mid-Atlantic, and the South. The research is a critical first step in helping to determine which areas of the country require vital public health resources to fight these deadly diseases. The new research will be presented at the annual meeting of Society for Academic Emergency Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia.
“Infection-related deaths are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the US, affecting over 1 million people a year, and costing $17 billion annually,” said lead study author David Gaieski, MD, an associate professor of Emergency Medicine at Penn. “And while our understanding of the causes of infection-related death rates has improved, we are still struggling to prevent these diseases and identify individuals who are most susceptible. We need to be able to pinpoint the geographic distribution of infection-related death rates in order to further study how and why these infections are happening in these areas and the best methods to prevent these deaths.”
Sepsis is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. With an estimated 750,000 cases annually and a nearly 40% mortality rate, severe sepsis is also one of the most common causes of death in hospital critical care units.
May 15th, 2013
With the spring sports season well underway and summer preseason practices and youth league games around the corner, young athletes are already enjoying warm weather activities and competition. “Every team and athlete should have sports safety as a top priority,” says Larry Cooper, chair of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Secondary School Committee and head athletic trainer at Penn Trafford (PA) High School. “It’s vital for coaches, athletic trainers, parents and the athletes themselves to maintain good communication and follow guidelines to ensure all participants are fit for play.”
NATA hosted the 4th Youth Sports Safety Summit earlier this year with the support of the Youth Sports Safety Alliance, now composed of 109 organizations committed to keeping athletes safe, and launched the first-ever National Action Plan for Sports Safety and Student Athlete Bill of Rights. “Each athlete is entitled to appropriate care, prevention and treatment of injuries should they occur,” says Cooper.
May 14th, 2013
Just add dogs. It turns out that’s a fairly easy recipe for taking a bit of the stress out of the room, one that Caitanya Min, Trad. ’13, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON) believes should be served every time exam season rolls around. Her fellow students got a feel for what Min is talking about during a recent visit from Pets on Wheels, an all- volunteer organization that brings “therapy dogs” to wherever they’re needed most.
Min organized the visit by Pets on Wheels to introduce fellow nursing leaders-to-be to the soothing nature of the beasts. Along for the ride were two golden retrievers—Jillian and Nala–who were part of the healing process in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Mass. “Animals, especially dogs, are known for their unconditional love, and something about them just makes people so happy,” says Min, herself in test mode just a couple of weeks from graduation. “They are amazing creatures. They’re known as ‘man’s best friend’ for a reason.”