Connecticut hospitals reported increases in patient deaths or serious injuries due to falls and medication errors in 2015 compared to 2014, but an overall drop in “adverse events,” according to a new state report. The report, by the Department of Public Health (DPH), shows that the total number of medical errors dipped by 3 percent – from 472 in 2014, to 456 in 2015. There were 90 instances when patients died or were seriously injured in falls, up from 78 in 2014. Seven falls that resulted in injury or death were reported at Yale New Haven Hospital, St. Vincent’s Medical Center and UConn’s John Dempsey Hospital.
Women who spend many years working long hours have significantly higher chances of developing heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases, according to new research. The study found that women who worked more than 60 hours per week were nearly three times more likely to develop heart disease, non-skin cancers, arthritis and diabetes than those who worked less. Researchers at the Center for HOPES at Ohio State University’s College of Public Health and the Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery at Mayo Clinic conducted the research. Even among women who worked fewer than 60 hours per week, the odds of developing the chronic ailments grew as women’s work hours increased, according to the study—a trend that did not hold true for men. Men who worked longer hours had an increased risk only of developing arthritis, and actually had a decreased risk of heart disease when they worked “moderately long hours” of 41 to 50 hours per week.
State health officials have fined the operator of a Rocky Hill nursing home $5,000 and ordered it to hire an independent nursing consultant after finding dozens of violations, most of which involved the care of residents. Under the order, Apple Rehabilitation of Rocky Hill must hire an independent consultant who is a registered nurse. The consultant must be at the facility 32 hours per week and be on-site at various times during all three shifts. The consultant, who must be pre-approved by the state Department of Public Health (DPH), will work for at least six months to ensure “the safety, welfare and well-being of the residents” and to make sure the facility is obeying laws, the consent order said. The consultant is responsible for assessing, monitoring and evaluating direct resident care “with particular emphasis and focus on the delivery of nursing services,” according to the consent order.
Consumers can begin shopping for 2017 health insurance through Access Health CT (AHCT) starting Nov. 1, but they will encounter fewer options and steeper prices than in previous years. Now in its fourth year, the state’s health insurance marketplace looks different than it has in the past. Most notably, it has only two insurance carriers, ConnectiCare and Anthem, instead of four. State insurance regulators approved a 17.4 percent increase in ConnectiCare’s rates for exchange plans and approved a 22.4 percent rate hike for Anthem’s plans.
A growing number of adolescents in Connecticut and nationwide are protecting themselves from human papillovirus (HPV), new data show, but disparities persist in who is getting vaccinated. Statewide and nationally, adolescent girls were vaccinated at much higher rates than boys in 2015. In Connecticut, 55 percent of girls received all three doses of the vaccine, compared to 42 percent of boys, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. Nationally, 42 percent of girls and 28 percent of boys received all three shots, the CDC data show. Nationally, Hispanic girls (46 percent) and boys (35 percent) received all three doses, compared to African American girls (41 percent) and African American boys (26 percent), and white girls (40 percent) and white boys (25 percent), the CDC reports.
Several patient deaths, including the death of a newborn who was given an overdose of medication, were among various violations found at Connecticut hospitals, according to newly released inspection reports from state health officials. The reports, which can be found in C-HIT’s Data Mine section, cover inspections that took place at hospitals statewide in late 2015 and the first four months of this year. Some of the violations detailed in the reports resulted in death and injuries to patients. Department of Public Health (DPH) inspectors regularly make unannounced visits to all hospitals, during which they tour facilities, observe staff and examine documents. Though the most recently released reports document inspections that took place this year and last, some of the violations they include happened several years ago.
The state has ordered a Litchfield rest home to hire an independent consultant after finding various violations, including alcohol use and suspected marijuana use among residents. In a consent order signed Sept. 12, the state Department of Public Health (DPH) said Fernwood Rest Home Inc. has to hire an independent contractor, pre-approved by the department, within two weeks of the order’s signing. The contractor must be a licensed nursing home administrator and will work to ensure resident safety and legal compliance at the facility, according to the order. The contractor also will assess the ability and skill set of the “person in charge” at Fernwood, monitor corrective actions the facility has agreed to take, and submit written reports weekly to DPH.
State health officials fined two nursing homes following incidents in which residents were injured and suffered complications after doctors’ orders were not followed. Apple Rehabilitation of Middletown was fined $1,635 by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) following an incident December in which a resident chewed an index finger until bone was exposed. The resident had osteoporosis and dementia, and a care plan noted that the resident had a habit of chewing the right index finger, according to DPH. On Nov. 30, 2015, a physician directed staff to keep the resident’s right hand covered with a sock to prevent chewing.
Connecticut has a high prevalence of Medicare beneficiaries living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, often placing an enormous financial strain on caregivers who are spending thousands of dollars a year on care, reports show. “Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in America,” said Jennifer Walker, vice president of communications and advocacy for the Connecticut chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. “The cost of care is very high.”
Medicare covers most fees for doctor visits, and some hospitalization, if needed; but other costs associated with care—including home health services, transportation, diapers for incontinence—are not covered. People with Alzheimer’s often suffer from other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart and hypertension, which add to the out-of-pocket costs for care. The financial burden is forcing families who rely on Medicare to tap into retirement savings, cutback on food and medical care for themselves, reduce work hours or quit work altogether to be caregivers, according to the Alzheimer’s Association report Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.
A growing number of adults—about 52 million—suffer from arthritis, and data show women are more likely than men to develop it. In 2014, 26.5 percent of women reported having doctor-diagnosed arthritis, compared with 20.5 percent of men, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention behavioral risk survey. Many women don’t realize they are at a higher risk than their male peers, said Dr. Abhijeet Danve, a rheumatologist and faculty member in Yale School of Medicine’s rheumatology division. “Of all the patients with arthritis, almost 60 percent of them are women,” he said. Several factors likely make women more susceptible than men: biological traits, genetics and hormones, Danve said.