HHS launches first national ad campaign

Promoting its Hospital Compare web site, the Department of Health and Human Services launched its first ever national advertising campaign, kicking it off in 58 major newspapers on May 21. The campaign cost $1.9 million.

The ads, placed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, provide scores on two of the 26 quality and patient satisfaction measures highlighted on the web site for a sample of hospitals in the newspapers' community.

The tag line for the ads invites consumers to, "compare the quality of your local hospitals" and provides information for the following measures:

  • percentage of patients at each hospital who always received help when they requested it, as reported by the patients themselves;
  • percentage of patients at each hospital who were given antibiotics one hour prior to surgery, as reported by hospitals;
  • the state average for each of these two measures.

Which states get good grades for kids' health?

A report released by the Commonwealth Fund ranked hospitals in 50 U.S. states and Washington, DC, on the value of the health care they provided to children. Iowa and Vermont came in at the top; Oklahoma and Florida fared the worst.

Hospitals were judged on: health care access, quality, cost, equity, and the potential for kids to lead long and healthy lives. Also rated were rates of insurance coverage, vaccinations and preventive visits to doctors, among other things.

States in the top quartile were Iowa, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Kentucky, Kansas, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Nebraska.

AHA honors four hospitals for volunteer programs

The American Hospital Association (AHA) honored four hospital volunteer programs with the Hospital Awards for Volunteer Excellence (HAVE).

Winners fall into four categories: community service programs, in-service hospital volunteer programs, fund-raising programs, and the positive impact their contributions have had. The winners are: community service programs, VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Tacoma, WA; in-service hospital volunteer programs, Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage; fund-raising programs, Mercy Medical in Daphne, AL; and community outreach and/or collaboration, Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City.

$300M RWJ grant to help states tackle health care

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJ) has granted $300 million to improve the quality of health care in multiple communities across the United States, as the foundation released a report on the disparities in health care depending on race and where patients live. The grant is also intended to provide models for national health care reform.

In the research performed in conjunction between RWJ and the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, five measures of care were analyzed. Significant differences, based on where patients lived and their race, were found in whether patients lost a leg to amputation, due to a complication of peripheral vascular disease and diabetes. The report also looked at disparities in relieving basic recommended care.

Communities awarded grant money include: Cincinnati; Cleveland; Detroit; Humboldt County, CA; Kansas City, MO; Maine; Memphis; Minnesota; Seattle; South Central Pennsylvania; Western Michigan; Western New York; Willamette Valley, OR; and Wisconsin.