14 Hospitals Penalized For High Infection Rates, Injuries

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. The hospitals are among 786 nationwide being penalized under the Hospital-Acquired Conditions Reduction Program, which was created under the Affordable Care Act, according to a Kaiser Health News (KHN) analysis. The program is in its sixth year and the latest Medicare reimbursement penalties are for the current fiscal year, which began in October 2019 and runs through September. When assessing penalties, CMS considers the number of infections, blood clots, sepsis cases, pressure ulcers, and other complications that may have been prevented. The 14 hospitals losing 1% of their Medicare reimbursements are: Waterbury Hospital, Stamford Hospital, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London, Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford Springs, Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington, Midstate Medical Center in Meriden, Middlesex Hospital, and Windham Community Memorial Hospital & Hatch Hospital in Willimantic.

Nearly 40% Of Young Children Missing Out On Vision Screenings

Nearly 40% of preschool-aged children nationwide have never had a vision screening, new data suggests, and there are disparities in who has been tested. During 2016 and 2017, only 63.5% of children 3 to 5 years old had their eyes tested by a doctor or other health professional, and whites were more likely to have been tested than blacks and Hispanics, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Childhood vision screenings can lead to early detection of vision disorders. The United States Preventative Service Task Force, an independent panel of experts, and the American Optometric Association recommend children in that age group have their eyes checked at least once, even if they’re asymptomatic and at low risk for problems.

“The purpose of a screening is to pick up any red flags, warning signs or risk factors for vision problems,” said Dr. Caroline DeBenedictis, a pediatric ophthalmologist at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford and an assistant professor at UConn School of Medicine. “Vision screening should be happening from the time [children] are born.”

Early detection plays a major role in improving outcomes, she added.

Nursing Homes Fined For Privacy Violation, Verbal Abuse And Injuries

Six nursing homes have been fined by the state for violating a resident’s privacy, verbally abusing a resident and for violations that resulted in residents’ injuries. Whitney Center in Hamden was fined $6,120 after a nurse aide used her personal cellphone to take a picture of a resident being transferred to a shower chair with a Hoyer lift on June 18, 2019, according to a citation issued by the state Department of Public Health (DPH). The resident and nurse aide disagreed on what happened, according to DPH.  The aide said the resident wanted the photo taken, but the resident said that was not the case. The aide deleted the photo from the cellphone.

Desensitization Gives Some Children With Food Allergies A Viable Treatment Option

For Oliver Racco, it’s a part of his daily routine: eating a few peanut M&Ms.

It may seem like a treat to some kids, but for Oliver – and a relatively small but growing number of children – it’s an important way he and his family manage his peanut allergy. Racco, 7, who lives in West Hartford, eats the M&Ms as a daily “maintenance dose,” having recently completed an allergy desensitization process at the New England Food Allergy Treatment Center in West Hartford. The process is intended to protect people with severe allergies in the case of accidental ingestion. “Since we’ve gone through the treatment, it has taken away a lot of that worry,” said Racco’s mother, Jessica. She takes some comfort in knowing her son will be all right if he accidentally eats or is exposed to peanuts, she said.

Hospital Errors Rose 7% In 2018

The number of “adverse events” occurring at Connecticut hospitals rose 7% in 2018, compared with the previous year, with a growing number of patients suffering serious injury or death associated with falls, according to a new state report. Overall, the total number adverse events, or medical errors, reported by hospitals rose to 376, from 351 in 2017, according to the state Department of Public Health (DPH). Of the 29 categories tracked, tallies rose in 12, declined in seven and remained flat in 10. “I’m very discouraged by the report,” said Lisa Freeman, executive director of the Connecticut Center for Patient Safety. “Some of these numbers, they give me chills, they’re so frightening.

Inspection Reports: Hospitals Cited For Testing Error That Resulted In Unnecessary Surgery, Patient Deaths, Failure To Investigate Complaint Of Patient Abuse

A hysterectomy performed on a patient based on a faulty test result, and the death of two patients after failing to receive necessary monitoring or medication, failure to immediately investigate a complaint of patient abuse by a doctor, were among the incidents cited in the latest round of hospital inspection reports conducted by the state Department of Public Health (DPH). The 24 new reports, which can be found in C-HIT’s Data Mine Section, cover state inspections that took place at hospitals last year and earlier this year. At Bridgeport Hospital, a patient underwent a total hysterectomy after her biopsy results were contaminated by another patient’s. The patient had a hysteroscopy procedure on Dec. 3, 2018, during which a biopsy was taken.

Snapchat Post, A Fall And A Death Lead To Nursing Homes’ Fines

Three nursing homes have been fined by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) for violations that include posting a video on social media of a resident in a wheelchair asking for a cheese sandwich. Montowese Health and Rehabilitation Center in North Haven was fined $1,320 after a nurse aide posted the video of the resident on Snapchat, DPH said. On Aug. 29, 2019, a family member of the resident called the facility to complain about the video. In the video, the resident was seated in a wheelchair, wearing a white helmet and repeatedly asking for a grilled cheese sandwich.

Nursing Homes Fined For Violations That Put Residents At Risk, Caused Harm

The state Department of Public Health (DPH) has fined four nursing homes for violations that resulted in resident harm. Village Crest Center for Health and Rehabilitation in New Milford was fined $10,000 for two violations. On June 14, 2019, two residents were found by a dietary aide walking outside near the facility.  One of the two residents had fallen and was an elopement risk, but wasn’t identified as one in documentation, DPH said. As the residents were leaving the facility, a receptionist who saw them thought that one of the people in the foyer was a guest, signing the resident out, according to the DPH.

Health Insurance Open Enrollment Starts Nov. 1, But You Can Window Shop Now

Open enrollment for 2020 health insurance plans begins Nov. 1, but consumers can already “window shop” among plans on the state’s health insurance exchange. On Access Health CT’s (AHCT) website, accesshealthct.com, the health insurance exchange created by the Affordable Care Act, consumers can browse and compare options. Individuals can begin enrolling Nov. 1, for coverage effective Jan.

26 Hospitals Penalized By Medicare For High Readmission Rates

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). Statewide, 26 of the 29 hospitals evaluated – 90 percent – will have their reimbursements reduced, by varying amounts, in the 2020 fiscal year that began Oct. 1, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of data from CMS.

CMS began in the 2013 fiscal year to penalize hospitals that have high rates of patients who are readmitted within one month of being discharged. The penalties were enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, intended to encourage better health care delivery. Nationwide, 2,583 hospitals will be penalized this year, according to Kaiser Health News.