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Health Management Technology News
May 23, 2014

In this issue:

 El Camino Hospital installs five Carestream DRX imaging systems to perform portable X-ray exams at two campuses

 Nevada will join federal exchange

 The future of healthcare in America? Think Hispanic

 Death Sentence: Prison healthcare costly, ineffective

 Healthcare group apologizes for records found outside Research Medical Center

 8 recent legislative developments affecting the healthcare industry

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El Camino Hospital installs five Carestream DRX imaging systems to perform portable X-ray exams at two campuses

El Camino Hospital installed three CARESTREAM DRX-Revolution Mobile X-ray Systems and two CARESTREAM DRX-Mobile Retrofit Kits to equip its campuses in Mountain View and Los Gatos, Calif., with rapid access to high-quality portable exams. All DRX-Revolution and retrofitted systems are equipped with high-resolution, wireless CARESTREAM cesium iodide detectors.

At the hospital’s Mountain View campus one DRX-Revolution is dedicated to the neonatal ICU and two DRX-Revolution systems capture up to 90 images a day in the ER and OR as well as for bedside inpatient exams. The Los Gatos facility retrofitted two existing portable systems with wireless DR detectors and these systems perform about 60 general X-ray exams in all areas of the hospital.

The radiology department selected the DRX-Revolution because of its innovative hardware and software features. “In addition to a collapsible column, motorized driving, better maneuverability and a host of other features, one of the key factors in our decision was the system’s powerful 32kW generator,” said Howard Sanford, RT (R) (MR),El Camino Hospital’s Imaging Operations Manager.

“This generator makes it possible to produce better image quality for thicker body parts, such as abdominal exams and lateral lumbar spines, because it can capture these exams with shorter exposure times. Shorter exposures can also reduce patient radiation dose and help eliminate patient movement,” he explained.

Both sites also use Carestream’s imaging software that offers enhanced visualization of tubes and lines as well as pneumothorax (free air in the chest cavity). The DRX-Revolution in the NICU uses the small-format CARESTREAM DRX 2530C detector that fits into a tray located under each incubator.

“It’s important to avoid moving these babies because they are linked to tubes and lines that can be dislocated. We also don’t want to expose them to ambient air or cause additional stress,” Sanford added.

Read the full press release here

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Nevada will join federal exchange

Nevada officials will drop the vendor responsible for building the state’s health insurance exchange and move to join the federal exchange after a bumpy rollout frustrated thousands of residents seeking coverage.

The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange board voted unanimously on Tuesday to dump Xerox, which won the $72 million contract to build Nevada’s exchange. Because so many parts of the exchange were never built, or were built so poorly, the state has only paid Xerox about $12 million.

A spokesman for the Nevada board said the state will continue to pay Xerox, but not more than a few million dollars in order to complete parts of the Web site. The Nevada Health Link will continue to serve as a Supported State Based Marketplace, meaning it will continue to certify plans and patient eligibility for Medicaid.

Last week, board members were in Washington meeting with officials at the Department of Health and Human Services to weigh their options. On Tuesday, the board voted to hand control of the online program to the federal government.

HHS will pay costs associated with transferring Nevada’s health exchange to the federal exchange. But the move will still cost Nevada millions of dollars as it merges the state’s Medicaid system with the federal government. The state estimates that those costs could be as much as $20 million, though Nevada will only be responsible for 10 percent of total costs.

The board also voted to issue a request for proposals for a more permanent replacement, one that could come from another state with better software.

Read the full blog entry from The Washington Post here

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The future of healthcare in America? Think Hispanic

They’re on the go, living their lives on smartphones and using social media. They’re skipping the doctor more and more, relying instead on pharmacists for medical advice. And they want to save money.

A new report shows that Hispanics represent a large, mostly untapped market for health care companies. And while this demographic has largely been left behind in the U.S. health care system, that is about to change.

“I definitely think that Hispanics are paving the way when it comes to the use of technology, particularly social media,” says Ceci Connolly, managing director of PwC's Health Research Institute, which issued the report.

“It surprised us a little bit that they are ahead of the rest of the country when you look at how they live their lives and in the way that they talk about having multiple jobs, being on the go. They really live their lives on their devices.”

An estimated 10 million Hispanics are newly eligible for health insurance under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare. The law creates online insurance exchanges where people can buy private health insurance, often heavily subsidized by the federal government, and it also encourages states to expand the Medicaid health insurance plan for low-income people.

Read the full report from here

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Death Sentence: Prison healthcare costly, ineffective

Arizona taxpayers pay $125 million a year to Corizon, a company contracted to provide healthcare to Arizona's inmate population. A 12 News investigation revealed there are questions about whether the company is driving up its profits at the expense of taxpayers.

What's more, billing records show the Department of Corrections is spending millions more to defend itself from a 2012 class-action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and the Prison Law Office out of Berkeley, Calif.

That filing accuses the department of not providing adequate medical care, mental health care and dental care to prisoners.

The state hired Struck, Wieneke & Love PLC, a private law firm in Chandler, to handle its defense. Legal billing records show taxpayers have already paid the firm $2,988,910.68 as of April, 2014.

In an interview, Dan Pochoda, the legal director for the ACLU of Arizona, says the defense of the lawsuit was given to a private firm too quickly. He questions why the Attorney General's Office is not defending the case.

"The Attorney General's Office, they have a section that does the defense for this specific agency, in this case the prison systems, as they do for other agencies and presumptively it should start off obviously with the AG," he said. "You know it's going to be a significant expense once we go outside. These are profit-making firms just like the health-care provider is a profit-making provider. Their bottom line is making more money."

Read the full report from here

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Healthcare group apologizes for records found outside Research Medical Center

In a statement released, the physicians' group at the center of an ongoing investigation into the botched disposal of hundreds of patient medical records apologized for the first time.

"First and foremost, we sincerely apologize to Midwest Women's Healthcare patients who are affected by this incident,” Midwest Women’s Healthcare spokesperson Nikki Slater told 41 Action News.

“We care deeply about our patients and their privacy, and are working diligently to investigate the situation,” the statement continued. “We have spoken to some of these patients and will be communicating to other affected patients."

One patient contacted by 41 Action News on Wednesday confirmed a hospital administrator had reached out to her about her lost record, one of hundreds believed to have been discarded in a dumpster outside Research Medical Center on Monday.

But many other patients whose records were lost in the incident, including Kelsey Zydel, whose record was recovered by a Good Samaritan and given to 41 Action News, have yet to hear anything from their care providers.

“I did try calling to see if I could get hold of someone,” Zydel said. “But it was just voicemail after voicemail. I haven't heard.”

Read the full report from here

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8 recent legislative developments affecting the healthcare industry

The following is a roundup of legislative developments affecting the healthcare industry that have been reported in the last two months.

1. Wisconsin Senate Passes Bill Making Medical Apologies Inadmissible
A Wisconsin bill making physician apologies, condolences and expressions of sympathy toward patients regarding the healthcare provider's actions inadmissible in civil proceedings and administrative hearings was passed by the state Senate.

2.Pennsylvania Bill Would Raise Evidence Standard in Cases Against ED Physicians
Pennsylvania House Bill 804 would raise the standard of evidence from simple negligence to gross negligence in medical liability actions involving emergency care.

3.Vermont Will Introduce False Claims Legislation to Curb Medicaid Fraud
At the suggestion of the Vermont Attorney General's Office, several state senators will introduce false claims legislation targeting fraud in the state's healthcare system.

4.Kansas Lawmakers Vote to Increase Medical Malpractice Damages Cap
A Kansas Senate bill that aims to gradually increase the limit on damages that can be awarded for pain and suffering in medical malpractice cases cleared both the Kansas House and Senate.

Read the full report at Becker’s Hospital Review

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