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Hospitals can save $10 million a year with safety measures

Single-bed patient rooms, wider bathroom doors, ubiquitous hand-hygiene facilities and other hospital design elements add to the costs of construction but can pay for themselves within a few years, according to a series of journal articles published in January. A package of evidence-based elements such as single rooms with bigger windows and ceiling-mounted patient lifts would add about $30 million to the cost of building a 300-bed, $320 million hospital. But the design could save an estimated $10 million a year by shortening lengths of stay and cutting workers' compensation costs, said the lead article of a set essays in the January/February Hastings Center Report ( The journal is published by The Hastings Center, a Garrison, N.Y.-based bioethics think tank. Many previous studies have concluded that adding safety measures to hospital design can help prevent patient falls, infections and worker injuries, the artic ...

Medicaid hospital stay rate grows faster than privately insured

The number of hospitalizations paid by Medicaid went up at a faster rate than those covered by private insurance, according to a statistical brief issued Jan. 19 by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. And that was before the full force of the recession had hit. Researchers analyzed data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project's Nationwide Inpatient Sample, which includes information on 95% of hospital discharges. Hospital stays among those with private insurance grew from 13.4 million in 1997 to 14.1 million in 2008, an increase of 5%. The numbers for patients on Medicaid went up by 30%, from 5.6 million to 7.4 million, and hospitalizations among the uninsured expanded 27%, from 1.7 million to 2.1 million. Patients on Medicaid tended to stay in the hospital longer than those on private insurance or without coverage. Medicaid patients had an average length of stay of 4.3 days. The privately insured and uninsured stayed an average of 3.8 days. The report did ...

Senate rejects health reform repeal

Washington -- The Senate, as expected, failed to adopt a House-passed repeal of the national health system reform law on Feb. 2 by a vote of 47-51. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, Ky.) offered the repeal as an amendment to a bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration. However, the repeal amendment did not receive the 60 votes required under Senate rules to overcome Democratic parliamentary objections based on the repeal's estimated budgetary impact. McConnell said the vote was a chance for Senate Democrats who supported the health reform law last year to reconsider their stance on it. "It's not every day that you can get a second chance on a big decision after you know all the facts." But no Democrats in the upper chamber voted in favor of repeal. Two Democrats were absent for the vote. However, the Senate voted 81-17 on a separate amendment, written by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D, Mich.), to undo a tax reporting mandate in the health reform statute that man ...