Contracting News March 2012

Bradley named president of Sutter Health
Effective February 27, 2012, David Bradley will be promoted to president of Sutter Health (Sacramento, CA), and his current position as CEO of Alta Bates Summit Medical Center (Berkeley, CA) and its three hospital campuses will be filled by Chuck Prosper, who is currently COO. In addition, Ed Berdick, currently East Bay regional president, will become SVP for shared services at Sutter. Patrick Fry continues as CEO of Sutter.

Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center announces layoffs and service cuts
Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center (Houma, LA) plans to lay off 80 of its 950 employees to absorb $2.9 million in mid-year budget cuts. In addition, the hospital announced plans to cut critical services, including its labor and delivery, nursery and neonatal-care services for premature babies, along with its number of available inpatient beds. The layoffs and service cuts are scheduled to take effect on March 5, 2012.

UHC expands Clinical Data Base/Resource Manager
UHC (Chicago, IL) expanded and refined the risk-adjusted models in its Clinical Data Base/Resource Manager™ (CDB/RM) to include 20 pediatric-specific risk models. It also added enhanced variables for secondary oncology diagnosis models. UHC data from more than 400,000 pediatric patient discharges are now modeled separately from the adult discharges. The enhanced oncology variables provide better insight into how specific types of cancer affect other disease conditions or how they impact mortality, length of stay, and costs. The three general cancer variables previously available have been expanded to more than 25 specific variable candidates. The new risk model changes will be applied to all cases starting with patients discharged from Q4 2008 forward, and UHC will continue to support the old risk models through Q4 2012 to allow completion of population trending studies. Expected values for the old models will be discontinued after Q3 2012 discharges are loaded. Risk models are free to CDB/RM subscribers under Measure Performance at

VA ready to consolidate EHR data centers
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) (Washington, DC) will begin transitioning the data centers that support its Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Articulation (VistA) EHR into data centers run by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) beginning in March 2012. The move will help support the development of a joint EHR system, making it the largest in the world, covering 15.7 million people. It is expected to take one year to complete. The consolidation is meant to reduce costs, improve efficiencies and maximize sustainability, and also free up space in at least 80 VA medical center computer rooms for repurposing, resulting in a greatly reduced operational IT footprint.

FDA approves leg lengthening system developed by orthopedic surgeons
The FDA (Silver Spring, MD) approved a new leg lengthening system co-developed by Sinai Hospital of Baltimore (Baltimore, MD) orthopedic surgeons and the International Center for Limb Lengthening (Baltimore, MD), called the PRECICE™ Limb Lengthening System, which offers a major advancement in limb lengthening surgery. The system, used to lengthen limbs that are short as a result of birth defects or trauma, consists of a telescopic titanium rod which is surgically implanted into either the femur or tibia. A miniature magnetic motor and gear box within the rod create the force needed to lengthen the rod. The power to drive the motor is provided by an external magnetic field generator that is held on the skin next to the leg several times a day for a few minutes. Bone and soft tissue regenerate when they are slowly pulled apart at a rate of approximately one mm per day. The new device can make the bone lengthening process more comfortable and predictable for patients.

Healthcare system leaders select winners of 2012 IDN Summit Supply Chain of Excellence Awards
Healthcare executives voted to select four category winners for the 2012 IDN Summit Supply Chain of Excellence Awards competition. The awards recognize best practices and innovative ideas from healthcare systems that have achieved critical supply chain efficiencies. The winners, one in each of three size categories as well as the new regional purchasing cooperative category, will be recognized at the 2012 Spring IDN Summit and Reverse Expo scheduled for April 23-25 in Orlando, Florida, where they will go on to compete for the opportunity to be named overall National Award Winner. This year’s category winners are St. Anthony’s Medical Center (St. Louis, MO), Johns Hopkins Health System (Baltimore, MD), Banner Health (Phoenix, AZ), and Upper Midwest Consolidated Services Center (Minneapolis, MN). To learn more, visit

Joint Commission unveils tool that targets wrong-site surgery
The Joint Commission (Oakbrook Terrace, IL) introduced a new tool that helps hospitals prevent the occurrence of wrong-site surgery in all phases of the surgery process. Developed by the Joint Commission’s quality-improvement segment, the Center for Transforming Healthcare, the Targeted Solutions Tool features several applications that help users identify safety risks, determine causes and develop strategies to address them. Working with hospitals and surgery centers, the center identified 29 potential causes of wrong-site surgery. Pilot sites that used the tool reduced their “number of surgical cases with risks” by 51 percent in the OR and by 46 percent in scheduling. The Targeted Solutions Tool is available to all Joint Commission-accredited hospitals. The next set of solutions, which will address hand-off communications, are expected launch in summer 2012.

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1 Comment on "Contracting News March 2012"

  1. A lot of Americans seem to have the mistaken and ueltrty silly notion that other nations have free health care. Nothing could be further from the truth, but some people don’t want the facts. The costs of health care are rolled into much higher income tax and extremely high sales tax, to the extent that Americans would refuse to pay it.

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