Monthly Archives: July 2016

Medical Industry Struggling With a Shortage of Hospice Workers

A growing number of Americans are reaching the age where they require end-of-life care. Unfortunately, however, few medical professionals are going into the hospice care field.

Just two years ago, in 2014, approximately 58.9% of hospice patients received care at their own homes. Yet doctors just aren’t entering this subcategory of the medical field, and it’s partly because of the emotional toll it takes on everyone involved.

“I do think it’s a calling to do this kind of work,” said Dr. Jennifer Davis, medical director for Hospice of Davidson County. “You have to have a lot of compassion, communication skills and excellent skills to keep patients comfortable. There simply [are] not enough physicians that specialize in hospice and palliative medicine.”

According to MyFox8, Davis believes that if more and more medical residents are trained in hospice care, it might encourage more doctors to specialize in that field.

“Hopefully new doctors such as myself can rise to that occasion,” said Dr. Tony Nguyen, a resident at Wake Forest School of Medicine currently working in hospice care. “For those who don’t choose that specialty, at least they can get exposed to it so they can help those patients make informed decisions.”

The shortage of doctors entering this specific field isn’t the only issue for the hospice industry. Mix96 reports that a shortage of nurses working in hospice is causing problems as well.

“In the last year or so we have begun to see the effects of the national shortage in nurses on our own recruitment,” said Sue Varvel, Director of Nursing and Clinical Services at Rennie Grove Hospice Care. “We decided we must make a bold move to ensure we are prepared to meet future demand for our services.”

Rennie Grove began a new program, The Preceptorship Program, aimed at recruiting Newly Qualified Nurses to spend at least a year in hospice treatment.

E. coli Outbreak Infects at Least 50 at Carbon Live Fire in Chicago

Young woman physician with stethoscope prescribing treatmentApproximately 48 million people in the United States are hospitalized for food poisoning every year, and 2016 is no exception.

An E. coli outbreak at Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill has affected at least 50 people in the Chicago area, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). At least 14 people who ate at the restaurant have been hospitalized.

Health officials urge anyone who ate at the restaurant and develops symptoms of an E.coli infection to seek medical attention. Common symptoms include abdominal cramping and diarrhea that can be bloody.

Those who need to see a doctor should also mention exposure to shiga toxin producing E. coli (STEC), according to the CDPH.

A lawsuit has since been filed in connection with the E. coli outbreak. Attorneys from the national food safety law firm Pritzker-Olsen, who have been contacted by five of the 50 who became ill after eating at the restaurant, filed suit on behalf of Maria Terese Loparco, on July 8.

On June 25, Loparco ate two chicken tacos and two steak tacos from Carbon, according to the case. By June 30, she was experiencing gastrointestinal pain and flu-like symptoms, which had worsened to include bloody diarrhea. By the end of the day on June 30, the “diarrhea was pure blood,” according to her complaint.

Loparco was rushed to the Urgent Care center attached to Ingalls Family Care Center and later transferred by emergency vehicle to Ingalls Memorial Hospital.

“Based on what we know now, the Chicago Department of Public Health is closing in on the precise cause of this massive outbreak,” said Brendan Flaherty, the food safety lawyer representing Loparco.

Loparco is among at least 14 people who were hospitalized for E. coli infections after eating food from the restaurant.

“This is a serious condition that is treatable,” said CDPH Commissioner Julie Morita, M.D. “Anyone who believes they may be symptomatic and ate at this restaurant should see their medical provider immediately.”

A food source has not yet been identified. Other E. coli outbreaks have been linked to under-cooked beef, unpasteurized milk, and unwashed, raw produce. Those most at risk of developing an E. coli infection are younger children, seniors, and those with compromised immune systems.

Franciscan St. James Hospital Breaks Ground on $137 Million Expansion Project

Franciscan St. James Health broke ground on its new patient pavilion and emergency department expansion on May 31. The expansion will happen at its Olympia Fields campus.

With a deadline to be completed in 2018, the new construction is part of a $137 million investment. The Chicago Tribune reports that the investment will help Franciscan St. James in its efforts to reduce the total cost of care, enhance operational efficiency, improve quality and improve performance across its system of care.engineering equipment

In March, the plan for reconstruction was approved by the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board. It will consolidate inpatient services at the hospital’s Olympia Fields campus as well as enhance outpatient services in Chicago Heights. As a result, the hospital will be better able to provide healthcare to local residents.

Considering that an average of two clinics open each day and 15,000 urgent care centers are expected to open by 2019, Chicago residents could greatly benefit from improvements such as this. Soon enough, more Americans will have access to healthcare than ever before.

“Our challenge is to keep pace with all of the ongoing, drastic changes in healthcare and healthcare delivery, and to keep providing high quality services,” said Sister Jane Marie Klein, chairperson of the board, Franciscan Alliance, Inc.

In order to accommodate the coming changes, the Olympia Fields campus will be doubled in size and include additional private inpatient rooms, expanded parking, and improved public transportation access. The Chicago Heights Franciscan ExpressCare will also be expanded and offer 24/7 urgent care access to city residents.

The hospital will continue to be a teaching hospital by expanding its primary care network.

“We will select the best and brightest of these physicians we helped to train to expand our primary care network,” said Franciscan St. James President and CEO Arnie Kimmel. “So when our plan is fully implemented, Franciscan St. James will offer the optimum system of care with the facilities, locations and services to promote greater health and wellness in the entire area.”

Gov. Rauner Stirs Up Debate Over Workers’ Compensation in Illinois

Doctor holding patient 's elbow for rehab weight trainingWorkers’ compensation laws and regulations have been an integral part of the American society for many years. They provide security and peace of mind, especially for workers in inherently dangerous environments, such as coal miners and factory workers. According to Inthesetimes.com, the state of Illinois could be facing some drastic changes to the policies currently in place, if Gov. Bruce Rauner is successful in the changes he’s pushing for.

One of the changes Rauner would like to see made is narrowing the scope of workers’ compensation coverage for employers by not including the “work histories” of employees. Traditionally, employers have assumed responsibility for the physical problems employees developed over years of toiling in manual and hard labor. Rauner wants to change this to require that a specific workplace injury account for at least 50% of a workers’ compensation claim.

In other words, it’s Rauner’s belief that this type of coverage is intended only for traumatic injuries, not those that come as the result of long-term, repetitive acts related to work, but that are also likely enhanced through day-to-day living. He believes this is the equivalent to asking employers to “pick up the tab” on non-workplace injuries.

While this may be true in some instances, opponents of his proposed changes argue that what he’s really trying to do is reshape and overhaul the workers’ compensation standards that have been on the books for years. According to the National Academy of Social Insurance, workers’ compensation pays 100% of medical costs for injured workers from the day of injury, and cash benefits for lost work time after a three- to seven-day waiting period.

“What the governor is proposing is to take a lot of cases that have been compensable for the last 50 years and to throw them out,” said John Burton, a veteran workers’ compensation industry expert.

Despite all the rhetoric, both sides appear to have good intentions, just different ways of viewing the world. Rauner argues that changing the laws will help promote business and the economy in general. He claims the current policies and associated high costs are helping to drive businesses out of Illinois. Proponents on the other side say that the type of changes Rauner is pushing for would be a big step back for the working person.

Whose side are you on? Sound off in the comments section below.