Dempsey Hospital Makes Progress Reducing Double CT Scans

UConn’s John Dempsey Hospital has drastically reduced the frequency of “combination” CT scans of patients’ chests and abdomens, as federal regulators have clamped down on the practice, which carries a risk of excess radiation. New data provided by Dr. Douglas Fellows, chair of radiology at the UConn Health Center, shows that the hospital has reduced the rate of double scans of the chest to below 1 percent, and the rate of combination abdominal scans to 23 percent for Medicare patients, the population that federal regulators track. A 2011 story by C-HIT  disclosed that Dempsey’s double-scan rate was the highest in the state and far exceeded the national average, with 48 percent of all patients who received chest scans subjected to combination scans—nearly 10 times the national average—and more than 72 percent who received abdominal scans getting double procedures. That data was from 2008. Fellows said the hospital has made a concerted effort in the last two years to crack down on double scans, by educating emergency department personnel, physicians in other parts of the hospital, and community doctors who order the scans.

High Use Of Antipsychotics In Nursing Homes Stirs Concerns, Reforms

The Westside Care Center in Manchester is ranked among the best nursing homes in Connecticut, receiving a ‘five-star’ rating for overall quality under a federal rating system. At the same time, Westside has the state’s highest percentage of residents who receive antipsychotic drugs, even though they do not have a psychosis or related condition that regulators say warrants their use. Federal data shows 68 percent of Westside long-stay residents were receiving the drugs – more than double the state’s average of 26 percent, which already ranks in the top-third of states nationally. A C-HIT review of federal nursing home data from December found that Westside is not alone: High antipsychotic use, considered dangerous and unnecessary in many cases, does not impact quality ratings of nursing homes, and is often unknown to consumers selecting a home. In three-dozen Connecticut homes, at least a third of long-stay residents are on antipsychotics – yet nearly half of those homes have excellent overall ratings, of 4 to 5 stars.