Today’s Headlines – Friday, February 26, 2016

Dartmouth-Hitchcock / Affiliates / NEAH / Geisel / VA

Tribridge Health360 Now Includes Clinical Content from Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H, Dr. Robert Greene)
IT Businessnet
, 2/25/16
Healthcare providers that rely on Tribridge Health360 for population health management (PHM) can now use chronic disease management and post-discharge clinical guidelines from Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H). The content includes evidence-based Care Plan templates and Delegation Protocols for chronic conditions and a growing library of procedure-specific, post-discharge Care Plans built into Health360 and ready to be personalized for each individual.

‘Preemie’ Babies May Face Long-Term Anesthesia Risks (D-H, Dr. Jeana Havidich)
, 2/25/16
Children born prematurely may be at risk for complications from anesthesia and sedation at least into young adulthood, a new study suggests. “Perhaps we should look at these children differently and provide different care to them,” said study lead author Dr. Jeana Havidich, a pediatric anesthesiologist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H.

N.H. exploring link between adult drug users and the abuse, neglect of their kids (D-H, Dr. Gwendolyn Gladstone)
Concord Monitor,
The state’s opioid crisis is increasingly taking a toll on the children of addicted adults. “More than ever, the opioid epidemic is figuring into child maltreatment,” said Dr. Wendy Gladstone, a child abuse pediatrician on the Attorney General’s Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect. “When you have a parent whose primary goal in the day is to get their drugs, it is not caring for their child.” The state’s Division for Children, Youth and Families has seen a recent rise in reports of child abuse and neglect related to drug abuse.

Saunders leaves $100,000 to city (D-H)
American Journal (Westbrook, ME),
Even after her death, Westbrook’s Ellie Conant Saunders is still giving back to the city. A trust first established by Saunders in 1966 will give the city more than $100,000, split among multiple city departments. Also included in the trust is the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center – which received the largest bequest, $220,000 – and Camp Sunshine, the Ronald McDonald House, Beals House, the Bridgton Naramissic/Bridgton Historical Society, and the Maine National Guard Foundation, which are all slated to receive $22,000. Corrigan said Saunders suffered her whole life from various allergies, and it was not until she began visiting the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., that she worked through them.

Please help me raise money for Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (D-H, CHaD)
Laconia Daily Sun letter,
My name is Keith Schultz and I have been playing football since I was 7 years old. I am currently a senior at Laconia High School. With my hard work for the Sachems the past four years, I am fortunate enough to have made the CHaD All-Star Football game. Both my older brother and I were both born at Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth, and I would like to take this opportunity to give back to CHaD by being their top donor for this game because the hospital and David’s House were very good to my family.

Regional Health News

Littleton: U.S. Congressional Drug Task Force Could Help North Country Opioid Crisis
Caledonia Record, 2/25/16
The state’s heroin and opioid epidemic is even more challenging in the North Country, which is has essentially no money to address it, no detox beds and is rural with isolated populations, community leaders said Friday. They painted a bleak picture for a region that, like the state and nation at large, has seen an increasing number of drug overdose deaths.

Report: NH saw 420 drug deaths in 2015
Nashua Telegraph, 2/26/16
More than a third of last year’s record 420 drug overdose deaths were caused solely by fentanyl, a synthetic painkiller much more potent than heroin though virtually indistinguishable from heroin by users. The New Hampshire Medical Examiner’s office on Thursday released its latest drug overdose tallies that show opioids and opiates – like heroin, fentanyl and prescription opioids – accounted for 385 of last year’s total 420 drug deaths confirmed as of Feb. 22. The death toll could continue to climb with results still pending on roughly 14 cases.

Abandoning Medicaid expansion isn’t an option for New Hampshire
Concord Monitor guest column, 2/26/16
On Feb. 10, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted in favor of reauthorizing the New Hampshire Health Protection Program, continuing health insurance coverage for nearly 48,000 Granite Staters. Approximately 6,700 of these individuals will likely access treatment services for substance use disorders. The New Hampshire Health Protection Program is the single most important tool New Hampshire has to address its opioid epidemic, our state’s No. 1 public health crisis. This program has already saved lives in New Hampshire.

One-Third of Granite Staters Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep
NHPR, 2/25/16
About one in three Granite Staters aren’t getting enough sleep. That’s according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2014, New Hampshire residents between the ages of 18 and 60 slept a little more than the average American: 68 percent of the state’s adults got the recommended amount of rest of seven or more hours per night. That’s compared with the national rate of 65 percent.

HCRS Still in The Red
Valley News, 2/26/16
Health Care and Rehabilitation Services of Southeastern Vermont posted a net loss of $638,000 in the fiscal year that ended June 30, bringing the agency’s volume of red ink to more than $2 million over the last two years. The latest loss was disclosed in an audited financial statement provided this week to the Valley News by executives of HCRS, a Springfield-based nonprofit agency designated by the state to provide mental health care and services to people with developmental disabilities in Windsor and Windham counties. HCRS, one of many agencies wrestling with financial problems that they attribute to the Vermont’s failure to provide adequate support for safety-net services, has also found itself in the grip of some problems of its own making, including controversies over executive retirement payouts, losses in distant ventures and policies limiting public financial disclosures.

Parents of Justina Pelletier sue Boston Children’s Hospital
Boston Globe, 2/25/16
The parents of a teenage girl who was at the center of a highly charged medical battle and custody dispute said Thursday they have filed a lawsuit accusing Boston Children’s Hospital of gross negligence and civil rights violations. The lawsuit accuses the renowned hospital and four of its doctors of seriously mistreating Justina Pelletier, whose fight with the hospital attracted national attention to issues of medical child abuse and parental rights. The lawsuit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, seeks unspecified monetary damages. But Justina’s parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier, as well as their representatives, said their overall goal is to ensure that other parents are not afraid to bring their children to hospitals for care.

World and National Health News

Not-for-profit hospital outlook is stable: S&P
Modern Healthcare, 2/26/16
Rating agency Standard & Poor’s maintained its stable outlook for the nation’s not-for-profit hospitals, crediting the revenue gains from Medicaid expansion and operating benefits from mergers and acquisitions. Hospitals that carry a credit rating from the New York-based agency report “a notable drop in the level of uninsured care, and, typically, a commensurate rise in Medicaid revenue,” analysts with Standard & Poor’s said in an annual report on the sector. Meanwhile, the frenzy of dealmaking across healthcare has helped to bolster the stability of balance sheets, the report said.

Treating Addiction As A Chronic Disease
NPR, 2/25/16
With the opioid epidemic reaching into every corner of the U.S., more people are talking about addiction as a chronic disease rather than a moral failing. For researcher A. Thomas McLellan, who has spent his entire career studying substance abuse, the shift is a welcome one, though it has come frustratingly late. McLellan is co-founder of the Treatment Research Institute in Philadelphia and former deputy director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. His work has focused on understanding addiction as a disease and improving the ways it is treated, a mission that took a personal turn midway through his career when he lost a son to overdose. NPR’s Audie Cornish spoke with McLellan about how addiction is viewed and how that view has shaped the treatment system we have today. He also has suggestions on how to make it better.

Healthcare Organizations Across US Apply for Chance to Recruit 1M Precision Medicine Cohort
GenomeWeb, 2/25/16
As US government agencies piece together components of the Precision Medicine Initiative, a number of large healthcare systems are vying for the chance to recruit the better portion of the 1 million volunteers that will fuel the national research effort. Last year, President Barack Obama kicked off the PMI with $215 million in proposed funding. The shared health and clinical outcomes data of a million participants will power research within PMI that is intended to enable more precise and personalized healthcare. NIH announced that Vanderbilt University will work with life sciences research organization and former Google X division Verily to pilot approaches for engaging and retaining direct volunteers to PMI. Partners HealthCare (including Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital) and Boston Children’s Hospital have applied to become an HPO that will enroll participants into PMI from regions in New England. Robert Green, associate director for research at Partners Personalized Medicine and one of the principal investigators applying for the RFA, highlighted that Partners and Boston Children’s Hospital together serve a diverse population of 3 million in the greater Boston area and has provided outpatient care to 2.4 million patients over a five-year period. Also reported by Reuters, Forbes, Washington Post 

The role of hospitals in preventing gun violence
Fierce Healthcare, 2/25/16
The rising violence in the United States not only has an effect on the physical and mental health in the local community, it also drains hospital resources. Becker’s Hospital Review asked three health experts from Chicago what role, if any, the healthcare industry should play in reducing gun violence. The problem should be considered a public health issue, one that comes at a great cost to hospitals. Shannon Cosgrove, director of health innovation for Cure Violence, an organization that applies disease prevention models to violence, told Becker’s that it can cost $1 million to treat the most critical gunshot patients. In addition to the physical wounds, health leaders must consider the mental trauma to the patients and the community.

How much is an extra month of life worth? Drug makers face pressure to calculate
STAT News, 2/26/16
Time is priceless. That’s a theme the drug industry is pushing in an emotional new ad campaign touting the power of pharmaceuticals to prolong lives. It’s a heartwarming message. But a growing number of health economists say it’s also disingenuous. They say it’s high time to start putting a price on the time patients gain from taking a costly medication. And they’re calling for a national conversation about whether that extra time is worth the cost, not just for the patient, but for society at large, which often bears part of the expense through government programs.

Unhappy physicians linked to patient safety risks
Fierce Healthcare, 2/25/16
Dissatisfied physicians are like a canary in a coal mine: an early warning sign for healthcare systems that they may have problems that can affect patients and their safety, says Mark Friedberg, M.D., in a perspective piece published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Patient Safety Network. Healthcare leaders must consider physician professional satisfaction as an indicator of their health system’s performance, says Friedberg, senior natural scientist at the RAND Corporation in Boston. “Proponents of this idea, including me, believe that when a group of physicians is dissatisfied, stressed, or burned out, the key step is to investigate why these physicians are so miserable. If the underlying causes of physician dissatisfaction also seem likely to threaten the safety of patients and quality of care, these factors may be high-priority targets for remediation,” Friedberg writes.

Doctors turn to creative writing to process difficult cases
STAT News, 2/26/16
Doctors face emotionally taxing situations every day, and many of them are turning to creative writing to sort through the complex feelings that come with their jobs. Journals like the Bellevue Literary Review offer a home for the stories of patients and doctors. Several physician-poets explain to STAT reporter Ike Swetlitz how writing offers them a chance to slow down, process their thoughts, and gain some semblance of control over situations that are often out of their hands.

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