Hospitals starting to listen — dramatic downturn in hospital-acquired illness

The rate of hospital-acquired conditions has dropped by 17% over a 4-year period…The rate of HACs dropped from 145 per 1,000 discharges in 2010 to 121 per 1,000 discharges in 2014, according to the report, which was issued by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Over a 4-year period starting in 2011, “a cumulative total of 2.1 million fewer HACs were experienced by hospital patients … relative to the number of HACs that would have occurred if rates had remained steady at the 2010 level,” the report noted. “Approximately 87,000 fewer patients died in the hospital as a result of the reduction in HACs, and approximately $19.8 billion in health care costs were saved from 2010 to 2014.”

These results represent real people who did not die or suffer infections or harm in the hospital,” said Patrick Conway, MD, chief medical officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in a conference call with reporters. “The data continue to show … that we are on our way to achieving the results in improving the quality of care in the hospital setting while investing our health dollars more wisely…”

Several factors account for the decreases, AHRQ director Richard Kronick said, “for example, the widespread implementation and improved use of electronic health records at hospitals, the Partnership for Patients effort was launched … and Medicare payment reforms were implemented.”

“Progress was also made possible by investments made…in … producing evidence about how to make care safer, investing in tools and training to catalyze improvement, and investing in data and measures to be able to track change,” he said…

…Overall, the officials were pleased with the results. “As a practicing physician in the hospital setting, this work in improving patient safety is one of, if not the most important, thing we could do for patients,” said Conway. “Patients want to avoid infections and adverse harm events, and we need to have health system that’s as safe as possible for all patients.”

Kronick agreed. “Having been involved in this business for much longer than I care to remember … To see the progress here — 87,000 fewer people dying over the last 4 years than would have died if the 2010 rates remained in place — is very heartwarming for me.”

Say “amen”.

Obama Administration policy on illegal immigrants Is challenged by Rahm Emanuel

Just weeks after the Supreme Court largely reaffirmed the Obama administration’s immigration enforcement powers in its legal battle with Arizona, federal officials are facing a new, politically tricky clash with local authorities over immigration, this time in Chicago.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he would propose an ordinance that would bar police officers from turning over illegal immigrants to federal agents if the immigrants do not have serious criminal convictions or outstanding criminal warrants.

In contrast to the Obama administration’s long-running confrontation with officials in Arizona, who are mostly Republicans, the latest challenge to the president’s immigration policies comes from Mr. Emanuel, his former chief of staff, and from other Democratic allies in President Obama’s hometown.

“If you have no criminal record, being part of a community is not a problem for you,” Mr. Emanuel said, speaking at a high school library in Little Village, a Latino neighborhood. “We want to welcome you to the city of Chicago.”

The mayor said the proposal was part of his goal to make Chicago the “most immigrant-friendly city in the country…”

Chicago is governed separately from Cook County. The city’s ordinance would give its police department more power to decide which immigrants to turn over to federal agents, but it would not curtail most cooperation as Cook County has done…

Mr. Emanuel did not pose his initiative as a challenge to Mr. Obama. Rather he laid blame on Congress for inaction on immigration. The City Council will consider the ordinance this month.

All these chickens are coming home to roost to pay for decades of diminished responsibility by liberals – coupled with several flavors of activist bigotry from conservatives in both parties.

Over the decades of diminished access to the United States – especially aimed at barring Hispanic immigrants from Mexico and Central America – I wonder how many undocumentados would have arrived here legally? Seems to me that a significant majority of those now here would have had little problem passing through the system if standards were kept to the designs of those who originally formulated our nation’s immigration policy.

Senate passes settlement for racist Agriculture Department practices – only eleven years late

Black farmers remind Congress for the umpteenth time to fund the settlement
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

The U.S. Senate approved a $1.15 billion measure Friday to fund a settlement initially reached between the Agriculture Department and minority farmers more than a decade ago.

The 1997 Pigford v. Glickman case against the U.S. Agriculture Department was settled out of court 11 years ago. Under a federal judge’s terms dating to 1999, qualified farmers could receive $50,000 each to settle claims of racial bias.

This is much long overdue justice for black farmers,” said John Boyd, founder and president of the National Black Farmers Association…

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called the settlements “a major milestone in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s efforts to turn the page on a sad chapter.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, also said the vote gives “long-suffering Americans … the closure that they deserve. The agreement that we reached shows what can happen when Democrats and Republicans come together to do the right thing,” he said.

Of course, Democrats and Republicans “came together” to support racist practices against non-white farmers for only a bit more than a century.

The measure will now have to be approved by the lame duck House before moving to Obama’s desk to be signed into law.

We hope so, anyway. Certainly there wouldn’t be much hope of achieving justice against bigotry when Republican control of the House arrives in the next Congress.

Feds hit Texas factory over racist practices

African-American workers at a Texas pipe factory endured a string of racial slurs and harassment and were targeted by their managers when they complained, federal investigators have determined.

Black employees at the Turner Industries plant in Paris, Texas, regularly “were subjected to unwelcome racial slurs, comments and intimidation, racial graffiti, nooses in the workplace and other symbols of discrimination,” the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported.

Black workers also were denied promotions and disciplined more harshly than whites, the agency concluded in a three-page letter in late March. Managers at the plant not only were aware of a “hostile environment,” they also targeted workers who complained and disciplined white employees who opposed the harassment, the EEOC found…

Lawyers for the seven Turner employees who went to the EEOC displayed photographs of the slurs, of hanging nooses and threatening notes left for employees at the Paris plant during a news conference…

Paris is about 110 miles northeast of Dallas. The Rev. Peter Johnson, a state civil rights leader, said the problems reported at the Turner plant reflect a “culture of discrimination” that lingers in East Texas.

East Texas is Mississippi 50 years ago…”

It never seems to end, does it?

Grassroots fools will never relent and cease their bigotry until the companies and corporations, churches and politicians that own their lives, run their towns, are forced to respect law and order. I wouldn’t expect common decency to follow along until a few generations have passed through this backwater of ignorance.

IMO members adopt the world’s first ship recycling convention

Members of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted the world’s first ship recycling convention at the end of a five-day diplomatic conference of the United Nations unit in Hong Kong.

The adoption of the International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships was “a new chapter in IMO’s history,” IMO Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos said at the signing ceremony.

The convention comprises a set of guidelines and legally binding rules governing the ship breaking industry to ensure that “ships, when recycled, do not pose any unnecessary risk to human health, the safety of workers in the industry or the environment.”

It was also expected to impact ship building practices worldwide.

This is incredibly overdue and will affect the lives [and deaths] of hundreds who work at ship-breaking around the world. It’s a particularly dangerous occupation with some places – like the South Asian coast – long used to get round safety regulations.

The IMO has previously issued a set of guidelines on ship recycling but there had been no legally binding convention on the ship breaking industry, which employs hundreds of thousands, particularly in the developing world.

While it creates many jobs, ship recycling also poses environmental and health challenges due to certain harmful substances typically used in ship building.

This will take a few years to work its way around the world. It will save hundreds of lives plus the environment and future generations in these exploited regions.