Hospitals

Until March of this year, Janet Prochazka was active and outspoken, living by herself and working as a special education tutor. Then a bad fall landed her in the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

Doctors cared for her wounds and treated her pneumonia. But Prochazka, who is 75, didn't sleep or eat well in the hospital, and became confused and agitated. Then she contracted a serious stomach infection.

The federal government released its first overall hospital quality rating on Wednesday, slapping average or below average scores on many of the nation's best-known hospitals while awarding top scores to many unheralded ones.

Where a hospital is located and who owns it make a big difference in how many of its doctors take meals, consulting and promotional payments from pharmaceutical and medical device companies, a ProPublica analysis shows.

A higher percentage of doctors affiliated with hospitals in the South have received such payments than doctors in other regions of the country, our analysis found. And a greater share of doctors at for-profit hospitals have taken them than at nonprofit and government facilities.

People who die in the hospital undergo more intense tests and procedures than those who die anywhere else.

An analysis by Arcadia Healthcare Solutions also shows that spending on people who die in a hospital is about seven times that on people who die at home.

At home, parents try to keep their children on a regular sleep schedule, with the evening bedtime transition marked by rituals like reading stories, flipping on night lights and getting tucked in with favorite stuffed animals.

But the difference between night and day blurs in hospitals, making it more difficult for young patients to rest when they need it the most.

When it's time for medical care, where do you go? The doctor's office? An urgent care clinic? Or the nearest hospital?

As many as 1 in 3 Americans sought care in an ER in the past two years, according to a recent poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. That relatively high frequency may be a matter of convenience, even though many in the poll also report frustration with the cost and quality of care they received in an ER.

More Rural Hospitals Are Closing Their Maternity Units

Feb 24, 2016

A few years ago, when a young woman delivered her baby at Alleghany Memorial Hospital in Sparta, N.C., it was in the middle of a Valentine's Day ice storm and the mountain roads out of town were impassable. The delivery was routine, but the baby girl had trouble breathing because her lungs weren't fully developed.

Dr. Maureen Murphy, the family physician who delivered her that night, stayed in touch with the neonatal intensive care unit at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, a 90-minute drive away, to consult on treatment for the infant.

SEIU Healthcare 1199NW

About 1,100 hospital workers went on a 24-hour strike Tuesday at Saint Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma and Saint Clare Hospital in Lakewood, saying they’re frustrated they haven’t yet been able to work out new contracts with their employer, CHI Franciscan.

istockphoto.com

Washington is one of the least religious states in the country, but when it comes to health care, it has some of the fastest growing religiously-affiliated hospitals, partly because so many hospitals are merging.

The trend has some communities worried about losing access to certain medical procedures—if they’re not allowed under church teachings. 

If you’ve been to an emergency room in Washington in recent months, you're probably in a new database.

The goal is to treat more injuries and illnesses outside the emergency department, in a simpler setting, which should save money, curb drug abuse and also benefit patients.

Washington's hospitals and doctors have agreed to enter some basic information about their emergency patients into a computer system. Once you hit your fifth emergency visit per year, the hospital will assign a case manager to look at your records.

Thousands of people are still dying unnecessarily in America's hospitals, according to a new set of quality ratings.  That’s despite a decade of attention to preventing errors. 

More than 20,000 hospital deaths should have been prevented, just among Medicare patients (people over the age of 65), according to a report from Health Grades Inc. of Denver.

Hospitals in Washington as a group are about average in terms of their error rates.

Photo Courtsey of Good Samaritan

New emergency rooms keep opening around western Washington. It's part of a trend.

On Thursday (Feb. 17th), Swedish Medical Centers will open a free-standing Emergency Department in Mill Creek, between Seattle and Everett. And, on the same day, MultiCare opens a new medical tower at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup -- which has the busiest ER in Pierce County. 

It turns out, the busiest ER’s in Washington are mostly outside the biggest cities.

King County's major medical centers continue jockeying for position in the emerging new health-care world. 

U.W. Medicine and Valley Medical Center proposed this week what they call a "strategic alliance." Valley wants to retain its name, although the news release says Valley would become "part of U.W. Medicine."

Earlier this year, U.W. Medicine took over running Northwest Hospital (in north Seattle), without actually owning the hospital. 

Surgery at U.W. Medical Center
Keith Seinfeld / KPLU

If you ever need elective surgery, more websites keep appearing to help you pick the safest hospital.  Now, you can compare all the hospitals in Washington based on their infection rates following some common surgeries. 

AP

Following three high-profile cases involving its patients, Seattle Children's Hospital has been given a passing report card of "no deficiencies" by the  state Department of Health, according to the Associated Press.  Inquiries  of nurses and other health care providers involved in the cases are still ongoing.

The Associated Press reports: