Contact us



Choose your currency

Choose your preferred language

News and Promotions

Quality improvements being seen at hospitals

American hospitals improved their performance on 25 evidence-based quality metrics in 2008, according to a report released in January by the Joint Commission. In fact, hospitals exceeded 90% compliance on 23 of the commission's 31 measures of heart attack, pneumonia, heart failure, asthma and surgical care. The commission, which accredits more than 3,000 hospitals and other health care organizations, has collected quality data since 2002. This is the fourth annual public report of results ( "It's not just the average that's getting better," said Joint Commission President Mark R. Chassin, MD, MPH. "It's important to note how many hospitals are achieving really high levels of performance. ... Hospitals have figured out, even with the increasing number of measures they have to work on, how to get close to consistent excellence on these measures of quality." The measures track performance in areas such as giving aspirin and beta-b ...

Teens' kidney function harmed by even low lead levels

Blood levels of lead below those considered elevated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still may negatively impact kidney function in otherwise healthy adolescents, says a study in the Jan. 11 Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore gathered data from 769 adolescents, ages 12 to 20, who participated in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1988 to 1994. Nearly all of the participants had blood lead levels below 10 ug/dl (the CDC's threshold for concern), with an average level of 1.5 ug/dl. Researchers found that higher lead levels, which were still below 10 ug/dl of blood, were consistently associated with a lower glomerular filtration rate. "There is a lot of accumulating evidence showing a role of lead [in kidney disease]. ... But I was a little surprised that we saw the association in a relatively small population of healthy kids," said Jeffrey Fadrowski, MD, a pediatric neph ...

Wisconsin high court to rule on liability fund raid

Wisconsin physicians earned another shot at overturning what they say was an illegal $200 million raid on the state's medical liability compensation fund to balance the state budget. The Wisconsin Supreme Court in January agreed to hear the Wisconsin Medical Society's lawsuit contesting 2007 legislation that transferred the money from the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund ( In accepting the case, the high court said in a statement that its decision "would have statewide impact." The case is not unique; doctors in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania have engaged in similar legal battles. As in some other states, Wisconsin physicians and other health care professionals contribute annually to a medical liability pool intended to keep insurance rates affordable and compensate injured patients. "There are no taxpayer dollars in the fund," said George M. Lange, MD, chair of the WMS' board of directors. Created in 19 ...