Michigan Hospitals Face Rising Costs; Doctor Urges Culture Changes To Increase Safety

Hospitals in Michigan are losing money, according to a report expected to be released today by the Michigan Health & Hospital Association. The Detroit Free Press reports that the losses are leading to "layoffs, hiring freezes and elimination of some services." The report blames "troubling economic times in Michigan" as well as "stalled state and federal health reforms," for the large financial losses. Peter Schonfeld, senior vice president of the association says: "The report concludes that state and federal regulators 'need to resolve the state budget crisis and pursue health care reform without cutting Medicaid and Medicare funding to hospitals.' Any further cuts will hurt not only uninsured people and Medicaid recipients, but hospitals that provide care while reforms are stalled" (Anstett, 3/1). 

USA Today reports on changes hospitals could make to save money and improve care. Peter Pronovost, a Johns Hopkins professor and author of the new book, Safe Patients, Smart Hospitals, is one proponent for reform of hospital culture. "A program he developed saved 1,500 lives and $75 million in Michigan over 18 months, he says, by preventing 'central line' infections." Pronovost is now "working with hospitals in every state to implement his program, with funding from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality" (Szabo, 2/28).

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