CBS News Logo Patients refusing care from nurses of different race one of medicine’s “open secrets”

DETROITIt's been called one of medicine's "open secrets" -- allowing patients to refuse treatment by a doctor or nurse of another race. In the latest example, a white man with a swastika tattoo insisted that black nurses not be allowed to touch his newborn. That led several black nurses to sue the Michigan hospital, claiming it bowed to his illegal demands, and a rapid settlement in one of their lawsuits. The Michigan cases are among several lawsuits filed in recent years that highlight this seldom-discussed issue, which quietly persists almost 60 years after the start of the civil rights movement. The American Medical Association's ethics code bars doctors from refusing to treat people based on race, gender and other criteria, but there are no specific policies for handling race-based requests from patients. "In general, I don't think honoring prejudicial preferences ... is morally justifiable" for a health care organization, said Dr. Susan Goold, a University of Michigan professor of internal medicine and public health. "That said, you can't cure bigotry ... There may be times when grudgingly acceding to a patient's strongly held preferences is morally OK." Detroit nurse claims hospital barred African American staff from caring for white childThose times could include patients who have been so traumatized - by rape or combat, for instance - that accommodating their request would be preferable to forcing on them a caregiver whose mere presence might aggravate the situation, she said. Tonya Battle, a 25-year nurse at Flint's Hurley Medical Center, filed the first lawsuit last month against the hospital and a nursing manager, claiming a note posted on an assignment clipboard read, "No African-American nurse to take care of baby." She says the note was later removed but black nurses weren't assigned to care for the baby for about a month because of their race. That case, which was recently joined by three other nurses, was settled this week. Hospital officials said in Continue Reading

CBS News Logo Kids’ care may suffer when parents clash with medical staff

Rude parents can rattle medical staff enough to compromise the quality of care their critically ill child receives, a new study suggests. Medical teams in a neonatal intensive care unit made worse decisions during simulated emergency scenarios if they had been treated rudely by an actress playing the role of an angry family member, the researchers found. Exposure to rudeness helped explain about 40 percent of the variance in good medical decision-making between different teams in the study, said co-author Amir Erez. He is a professor with the University of Florida Warrington College of Business. “There is a lot of concern about medical errors, but the medical field is not paying attention at all to the effect that social interactions can have on performance,” Erez said. “They need to pay attention to this, because this could potentially save lives.” But, the researchers also found that doctors and nurses could “inoculate” themselves against potential rudeness by taking part in computer training that decreased their emotional sensitivity, Erez said. In the study, four medical teams at an Israeli teaching hospital had to perform a full day’s worth of five emergency scenarios. Three of the teams started their day confronted by a “mother” who accused them of misdiagnosing her child. The fourth team served as a “control” group, and was not exposed to rudeness. The actress told the teams, “I knew we should have gone to a better hospital where they don’t practice Third World medicine!” and threatened to move the child to another hospital. One team received no preparation for this encounter. But, the second team took part in a 20-minute computer game beforehand that exposed them to angry and happy faces, providing feedback that made them less sensitive to hostile emotions. The members of the third team were asked to write a narrative about the rude event after it had occurred, to possibly Continue Reading

Yale New Haven’s NICU Makes Parents Part Of Patient Care

At Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital, once the first neonatal intensive care unit in the country, new technology and family-centered accommodations have driven a major renovation. The new, two-floor NICU that opened Tuesday is the first in an academic hospital to offer private rooms for both an admitted mother and baby, and one of only a few units in the country to feature its own procedure room, simulation lab and breast milk management room, where technicians can fortify milk with the extra calories and nutrients premature babies need in a pharmacy-like setting. Next year, the unit will add an MRI designed specifically for premature newborns, a recent innovation developed in Israel and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug administration in July. Combined, the technology makes the NICU the most advanced in the United States, says Cynthia Sparer, senior vice president of operations at Yale New Haven Hospital and executive director of the Children’s Hospital and Women’s Services. “Our vision to create a bright, spacious, unprecedented intensive care unit across two floors is now a reality and serves as a national model for others,” she said. That’s how the NICU began in 1960, as the country’s first intensive care unit specifically for premature newborns, and a model of the new standard in modern hospitals. Before then, the man who conceptualized the unit, Dr. Louis Gluck, knew only of isolated instances when infants had received so-called intensive care, he said in a 1985 presentation at the National Institutes of Health. And when the primitive unit opened, it had just a narrow hall, one sink and infrared-heat incubators, Gluck, then-Director of Neonatal Services at Yale University, said. And while there were few techniques at the time for treating premature infants, nurses were armed with a few practices developed at Yale years before, like allowing parents of premature babies to go inside the nursery, and giving newborns at Continue Reading

Q&A: New York hospitals responses on payouts, Affordable Care Act

USA TODAY Network asked 42 hospitals and health systems in New York questions as part of its report on upward trends among the highest paid executives and doctors.Just 15 of the 42 responded to The Journal News' questions.What follows are the five questions followed by responses, which are separated by hospital or health system and edited for clarity. TOP PAY: Top 5 health care earners, hospital data PAYOUTS: NY hospital payouts grow  CONFLICTS: NY hospital conflicts, perks 1) Since 2010, how have your staffing levels changed for total number of physicians, vice presidents and executives?(Provide annual data for each group – physicians, vice presidents and executives)2) Why have you utilized, or not utilized, bonus and incentive compensation? (Using “bonus and incentive compensation” as you reported in federal tax Form 990 Schedule J)3) What are your plans for utilizing bonus and incentive compensation as government regulations seek to shift health care from the fee-for-service model to a value-based model?4) How have you tried to prevent conflicts of interest among key officers, employees and executives, including examples of steps taken for transactions involving interested individuals since 2010?5) What is your top priority when setting employee compensation and, if applicable, how has it been affected by Affordable Care Act reforms? Blythedale Children's Hospital in Valhalla1) Since 2010, VP/executives totals by year were: 9; 11; 10; 12; 11; 10; 9And physicians total by year: 24; 26; 23; 21; 19; 20; 19(Annual numbers of staff separated by position. Physician numbers rounded based on full-time positions)2) With Board of Trustee oversight, it is the intent of Blythedale to provide a reasonable and competitive total compensation program that ties employee performance to the achievement of individual and hospital goals and to encourage and recognize those who achieve or surpass specific organizational and Continue Reading

DRMC bids adieu to doctors who shaped NICU, wound care

A decade has passed since Dixie Regional Medical Center opened its Newborn Intensive Care Unit in a drive to treat more medically complex cases among Southern Utah’s youngest and most vulnerable residents. Now, one of the doctors who helped open the NICU and his wife, who has provided critical care to Southern Utah’s blood circulation patients, are riding off into the sunset.DRMC hosted a retirement reception and celebration for Larry and Joan Eggert on Oct. 23 in the halls of DRMC’s 400 East campus, where Larry helped direct the NICU throughout its first years.Hospital CEO Terri Kane, who is also the vice president of Intermountain Healthcare’s southwest region, said the Eggerts have established a legacy of “significantly improved healthcare” in Southern Utah and the satellite communities DRMC serves.Joan, likewise, has “worked tirelessly, both professionally and personally, to support and improve local healthcare” in her job leading the limb salvage team, using hyperbaric medicine to help patients with blood circulation issues, Kane said in an emailed statement.The Eggerts arrived in St. George in 2004 as the hospital rode a wave of medical goodwill and development, less than a year after DRMC opened the doors of its new River Road campus and less than a year before it would open the NICU for patients in their first months of life.“The NICU is a really big deal, not just for the tiny patients who are cared for there, but for their families as well,” said Steven Van Norman, DRMC’s chief medical officer who represents the physicians on the hospital’s executive team.The NICU made it possible for babies born with as little as 22 weeks of gestation to receive support for vital organs until they could survive on their own, where previously DRMC’s level of care didn’t extend younger than late-term infants at 32 weeks.Before the NICU opened, those tiniest of patients needed attention in Continue Reading

Nemours preps to move patients

After three years of construction with more than 100 builders on site daily, the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children's five-story expansion is set to open in mid-October.Officials will show off the $272 million addition Thursday with invitation-only tours in the morning, and an evening celebration that will include blessings by representatives of nine faiths and and a chorale finale featuring nine youth choirs including those from St. Mark's, Sanford and Cab Calloway schools and the Wilmington Children's Chorus.To build the addition, nearly all of the hospital's surgical, medical and pediatric intensive care units were converted into 144 single, specialized patient rooms for an additional 450,000 square feet. The hospital's emergency room moved and doubled – to 44 bays. Neonatal care and cardiac care are the only two areas that will stay in their current space. All other units will move to new rooms.The hospital now spans over 2 million square feet, said Dr. Dave Bailey, president of the Nemours Foundation, which oversees operations in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Florida and New Jersey.The hospital wanted the new space to focus on what officials call the heart and soul of their operations: Patients and their families. Families were intimately involved with the design process, down to providing artwork in hallways, and even choosing the television for a room and placing the clock on the wall."It's the little things. Sometimes it's very small, but very important," said Kay Holbrook, an associate administrator for Nemours who headed the project. "They are living in there; we forget that."Holbrook said that as architectural plans were being designed, the staff enlisted the help of the hospital's Youth Advisory Council, which included some long-term patients.They started by laying out crayons and colored pencils on a table."We said go for it," Holbrook said. The kids gravitated toward greens and blues, she said, and the children's thoughts behind it Continue Reading

Nurses get raises at 2 local hospitals

Nurses from Jersey Shore University Medical Center and Southern Ocean Medical Center approved a 21-month contract that will increase wages by up to 12 percent and increase staffing levels, the union said Tuesday.A Health Professional and Allied Employees union official said the upfront cost will pay off for the hospital and consumers in the long-run by helping to make sure patients get high-quality care and don't need to return for more expensive treatment."In the bigger picture you're putting money where you need to and have the best patient outcomes," said Bridget Devane, the union's public policy director.The contract is for about 1,200 nurses at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune and Southern Ocean Medical Center in Stafford, two hospitals that are owned by Wall-based Meridian Health.The previous contract was set to expire Oct. 31. And it came as The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, tries to rein in health care costs in part by penalizing hospitals that don't provide high-quality care.For example, Medicare lowers reimbursements for hospitals that see patients return for care within 30 days of being discharged. The reason: Hospitals are expensive and are under more scrutiny for their safety.In the latest report from Leapfrog, a health care watchdog that grades hospitals nationwide on their safety measures, Jersey Shore University Medical Center received an A, and Southern Ocean Medical Center received a C.A Meridian spokesman couldn't immediately be reached for comment.Negotiations between Meridian and the union were contentious. The union said it filed a charge against the hospital chain with the National Labor Relations Board because its members were disciplined for posting comments on social media. The hospitals agreed to create a new social media policy, and the union withdrew the complaint, the union said.The new contract includes:"It makes sense economically," Devane said. Continue Reading

There are not enough veteran nurses. So Kentucky hospitals are offering big cash bonuses

Kentucky hospitals are using cash bonuses and other incentives to fill nursing jobs in an effort to counter a nursing shortage that could grow even worse in the near future. "For a long time we've been talking about a nursing shortage that's coming to our country," said Mark Vogt, CEO of Galen College of Nursing. "I believe that we are on the front end of that nursing shortage, not only in our community but in other parts of the country."Fewer nurses can mean larger patient loads – in turn, opening the door to potential mistakes or health complications. Combine that with an aging general population suffering from growing health issues and there's a big problem on the horizon.  The prospect has prompted regional employers to step up ways of recruiting and retaining nurses, including attempts to woo workers with sign-on bonuses and tuition reimbursements, among other things. Read this: Nurse practitioners are easing Kentucky's doctor shortage More: Norton Healthcare beats Baptist Health Louisville in US News rankings "It goes beyond just filling current positions," said Laura Brown, a human resources manager for Baptist Health. "How do we fill that pipeline ... with the folks that are going to be coming into those massive openings for health care workers?"Nationally, job openings for registered nurses are expected to increase by 16 percent through 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And, in Kentucky, state officials expect more than 16,000 new openings for registered nurses by 2024, according to the Kentucky Statewide Occupational Employment Outlook. There are roughly 45,500 registered nurses in Kentucky, who make an average annual wage of $59,810, according to BLS figures from May 2016 (which some note may not completely accurately encapsulate the number currently working in the state). For adults who are trained and ready to enter the workforce, there are Continue Reading

Combatting nurse shortage

With the U.S. in the throes of its most prolonged nursing shortage in 50 years, hospital administrators in Queens are bracing for an uncertain future.Nursing administrators from several Queens hospitals said that recruiting qualified nurses is a daily challenge that requires a proactive approach and specific strategies. They said that, in general, skilled nurses are difficult to recruit and recent nursing graduates can be hard to retain.Parkway Hospital in Forest Hills, for example, is rebounding from bankruptcy. Administrators said the hospital's nursing vacancy rate remains around 15%, despite efforts to lower it that include bringing in foreign nurses and hiring almost 40 experienced nurses and at least six new graduates in the last six months.Parkway's director of nursing, Elizabeth King, R.N., said the hospital's stubborn nursing vacancy rate is compounded by the fact that she expects about 10% of her nursing staff to retire within the next five years. "If I can't get nurses to replace them," she said, "it will be a very big issue as to who is going to be providing care to these poor patients in the years to come."Although the number of licensed registered nurses in New York has increased in recent years, state records show, experts say that the nursing population is aging at a rate that outpaces the system's ability to replenish the ranks. As America's baby-boomers near their Social Security years, hospital administrators and scholars see a possible future with more patients and fewer nurses to care for them."What we are looking at down the road is very scary," said Christine Tassone Kovner, Ph.D., R.N., a professor at New York University College of Nursing who studies the shortage. "We are going to be losing a lot of nurses, and the system to replace those nurses is not good enough."To compensate, administrators stressed the importance of maintaining close relationships with Queens nursing schools and of creating programs to attract new nurses. Elmhurst Continue Reading

End the bullying in health care feud

Gov. Spitzer dispatched a stinging missive yesterday to more than 1,000 trustees of major New York hospitals, blasting the state's powerful health care union and its ally, the Greater New York Hospital Association, for "spending millions of dollars ... to distort what we are trying to do." Spitzer asked why hospitals that "claim poverty" and "demand billions of dollars in state subsidies" have spent more than $22 million on political campaigns and more than $12 million on lobbying in recent years. It was the latest salvo in the fierce battle over Spitzer's efforts to reform state health care. The fight already has included television commercials and mass mailings. Next week, 1199/SEIU has called for a midweek rally in front of Spitzer's Manhattan office to protest his plan to cut more than $1 billion from Medicaid. The union has gone so far as to accuse the governor of being in league with the Bush White House to cripple the city's health care system. The macho bombast from both sides, however, has obscured the real issues at stake. Public health advocates, for example, applaud the governor's health plan. "We love this budget," said Denise Soffel, coordinator of Medicaid Matters, a health consumer group. "For the first time, we're seeing a budget with no cuts in Medicaid benefits, no reductions in eligibility and no new co-pays." Instead of "demonizing Medicaid" as a burden, Soffel said, Spitzer wants to expand basic health insurance to 400,000 children and nearly 1 million adults who already qualify for Medicaid but have been prevented from getting coverage by bureaucratic red tape. "He sees Medicaid as helping solve the crisis in health insurance," said Judy Wessler, director of the Commission on the Public Health, another advocacy group. But to pay for that expanded coverage, Spitzer wants to cut some Medicaid subsidies to the big medical centers and nursing homes and to reduce reimbursements for prescription drugs. Those giant Continue Reading