Four Nursing Homes Fined Following Lapses In Care

Four nursing homes have been fined at least $1,000 by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) in connection with residents being cut, neglected or abused by a worker or another resident. On Sept. 9, Walnut Hill Care Center in New Britain was fined $1,300 for failing to closely monitor an abusive resident, the DPH citation said. For four days in June, the resident was verbally abusive, punched another resident and bragged that “I can hit anybody I want to,” the DPH citation said. The home medicated the resident and twice sent the person to a hospital emergency room for evaluation.

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BAC Records

State Second-Lowest Nationally In Reporting Drunk Driving Data

Connecticut had one of the highest rates in the nation of motor vehicle fatalities in which drivers were alcohol impaired in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available – 41 percent, compared to the national average of 31 percent, according to federal estimates. But the state also had one of the lowest rates nationally of reporting drunk-driving data in fatal accidents – a lapse that hampers efforts to gauge the impaired-driving problem and to develop and evaluate programs to address it, experts say. Connecticut reported blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) results for just 45 percent of fatally injured drivers -- far lower than the national average of 71 percent, according to data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Only Mississippi reported a lower rate of such testing. Thirty-four states reported testing rates of more than 70 percent.

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Updated Dialysis Center Ratings Show Connecticut Fares Well Overall

Six dialysis facilities in Connecticut received low quality-of-care scores under newly updated federal Medicare ratings, while 11 facilities received the highest rating possible. Connecticut has 45 dialysis facilities in the Medicare program, all but four of them for-profit. Of the 41 for-profit centers, the majority are owned by two chains – DaVita, which has 24, and Fresenius Medical Care, with 13. The federal Medicare program rates dialysis facilities on a scale of one to five stars, based on nine measures of quality of care. The measures include mortality and hospitalization rates of patients, as well as rates of hypercalcemia, catheterization of more than 90 days, and the percentage of dialysis patients who had enough wastes removed from their blood during dialysis.

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Nursing Homes Fined Following Two Deaths, Numerous Falls

Six nursing homes have been fined by the state Department of Public Health in connection with two residents who died and others who had numerous falls and broken bones. Avon Health Center was fined $1,090 on Sept. 16, 2014 in connection with two residents who fell. On March 14, 2014, a resident fell out of a mechanical lift when a clip holding a sling broke. The person was hospitalized, found to have broken a bone at the base of the skull and died six days after the fall, the DPH citation states.

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Access Health Enrollment Starts Sunday; Uninsured To Face Steeper Fines

Open enrollment for consumers to buy health insurance through the Access Health CT marketplace begins Sunday, and 2016 will bring considerably steeper fines for consumers who lack insurance. Access Health CT (AHCT), now in its third year, enrolled close to 100,000 individuals in private insurance plans in its first two years, according to Andrea Ravitz, director of marketing. About 500,000 enrolled in Medicaid through AHCT, during the first two years. The marketplace aims to enroll between 105,000 and 115,000 in private plans by the end of open enrollment, Ravitz said. AHCT concentrated on attracting new enrollees its first two years but this year it has been focusing on retaining enrollees, she added.

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Surgeries on wrong body parts increased from 13 to 15 in 2014.

Fewer Errors Reported By Hospitals, But Concerns Remain

Connecticut hospitals reported fewer numbers of patients killed or seriously injured by falls or perforations during surgery or suffering from severe pressure ulcers in 2014 than in 2013, but the incidence of such “adverse events” still remains higher than in 2012, a new state report shows. The report by the Department of Public Health (DPH) shows that the total number of hospital adverse events, or errors, dropped by 12 percent -- from 534 in 2013, to 471 last year. Deaths or serious injuries from falls declined from 90 to 78; perforations during surgical procedures fell from 79 to 70; and life-threatening medication errors fell from six to one. The number of patients with serious pressure ulcers dropped from 277 to 245. Rates of all four of those incidents had climbed in 2013, in part because of an expansion of required reporting on pressure sores to include “unstageable” ulcers.

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Five Nursing Homes Fined Following Injuries To Residents

Five nursing homes have been fined by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) in connection with incidents that left residents with burns, bruises and broken legs. On April 16, Orange Health Care Center was fined $1,090 in connection with a resident who fell March 21 and broke a leg and ribs, the DPH citation states. The home issued a warning to an aide, saying the resident should not have been left alone on a toilet, the citation states. The fine was also imposed in connection with a resident with a traumatic brain injury who was found in a wheelchair outside on the main road unattended on March 22, the citation states. The resident was not injured.

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Derby Nurse Pressured By Drug Company To Boost Sales

A Derby nurse who admitted taking kickbacks from a drug company that makes the powerful painkiller Subsys was pressured by sales representatives to increase her prescribing “so that the Subsys numbers would also increase,” according to court documents. In a hearing transcript recently made public, federal prosecutors charged that Heather Alfonso “continued to increase her prescribing of Subsys and to find more patients for whom she could prescribe the drugs” in exchange for a series of $1,000 kickbacks, totaling $83,000, from the company, Insys Therapeutics. Although the potent narcotic is approved only for cancer patients, some of the patients given Subsys by Alfonso “did not have a cancer diagnosis,” which would have meant that Medicare and private insurers would have refused to pay claims, federal prosecutors said. But “prior authorizations” submitted on behalf of patients falsely represented that they had cancer, misleading insurers into paying for the drug. It is not clear in the testimony who was involved in submitting the false authorizations to Medicare and insurers.

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Two Doctors Fined For Failing To Meet The Standard Of Patient Care

The state Medical Examining Board on Tuesday fined a former Brookfield primary care doctor $4,000 and placed his license on probation for three months for failing to make a timely diagnosis of pancreatic cancer for a man who died months later. The board also fined a Milford gynecologist $5,000 and reprimanded her for failing to meet the standard of care by not examining a patient who had severe lower abdominal pain. It turned out the woman’s ovary was twisted and it was removed during emergency surgery two days later, state records show. In the Brookfield case, Dr. Robert Jarrett - who now practices in a cardiology group at Danbury Hospital - was alerted that a CT scan in December 2011 showed the patient had potential malignancies in his pancreas and liver, state records show. Though Jarrett and his physician assistant continued to see the man for nine more months, Jarrett did not follow up with the radiologist or order more tests to determine if the patient had cancer, records show.

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Mental Health Care Coordination Yet Another Casualty Of Mid-Year Budget Cuts

It’s been almost a month since Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget office announced it was cutting about $103 million from the 2016 budget, but hospital officials still aren’t clear about how much has been cut from certain line items.

This became clear during the Behavioral Health Council meeting Wednesday at the Legislative Office Building. Charles Herrick, chief of psychiatry for Danbury and New Milford Hospitals, asked the council if part of the cut involves a $1.5 million grant to coordinate care for patients with behavioral or mental health issues. Colleen Harrington of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services told Herrick that the grant he’s referring to has been delayed until 2017 to help offset other budget cuts. To read the full ctnewsjunkie report click here.

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