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•The home healthcare and hospice programs created from the merger of similar programs at Waukesha Memorial Hospital and Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital, both in Hartland, WI, are moving to a new location, still in Hartland. ProHealth Home Care and the Rolland Nelson Crossroads Hospice will open a new office, located between the two hospitals.
•Home Care Medical (Milwaukee) has achieved its fourth three-year accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (Oakbrook Terrace, IL).
•A nurse shortage in Idaho, caused by an increasing demand for services, is forcing some hospitals and clinics to pay overtime and delay elective surgeries. Home health agencies, insurance companies, schools, and large corporations have begun hiring full-time staff nurses, reported the Associated Press, which adds to the constant demand for nurses in traditional settings. To address the problem, a program of the Idaho Commission on Nursing and Nursing Education called Now Colleagues in Caring and Idaho State University has begun a $50,000 program to study staffing problems. The research has found that the greatest shortages are in rural areas and in specialty medical areas that require additional training.
•Athol Memorial Hospital in Athol, MA, as of July 31, will no longer offer home health services, reported the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. The hospital told the Telegram & Gazette that because of the severe financial crisis it is facing, its Athol Memorial Home Health & Hospice (AMHH) subsidiary will no longer offer home care services. Two weeks ago, the hospital sent letters to 125 patients who had been receiving services through the organization, notifying them that the services will be terminated. Services offered by the organization, said Cynthia Roche, director of AMHH, will be available through the Gardner Visiting Nursing Association.
•Ephrata Medical Equipment in Pennsylvania recently received accreditation from the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Ephrata was also voted the best home medical equipment company in Lancaster County by Senior News.
•Presbyterian Medical Services (Santa Fe, NM) has merged with Hospice and Home Health Services of Lincoln County (Ruidoso, NM). The merger was completed last month. Presbyterian, which provides medical, dental, and human service programs to underserved communities in New Mexico, is not an affiliate of Presbyterian Health Care, which manages Lincoln County Medical Center.
•A 21-year-old home health aide received a sentence of five years probation after she admitted to shoving a 76-year-old Alzheimer’s patient at the Culverton Home for Adults in Buffalo, NY. The judge also ordered that Shanika Moore not work in nursing homes or day care centers. When she shoved the man, he fell to the floor breaking his pelvis and ribs. She was the first person in the state to be prosecuted under "Kathy’s Law," which was enacted when a Rochester, NY, nursing home aide raped a comatose patient, who later gave birth and then died.
•The Frontier Group (Boston) filed for bankruptcy protection. A company spokeswoman told the Hartford Courant that Frontier will continue operations as it goes through a reorganization. Some employees are waiting for reimbursements for travel and other expenses, and the company will pay that money when authorized by the court.
• A coalition of healthcare providers is meeting July 30 in Gardner, MA, to discuss the impact of budget cuts in Medicare. A spokeswoman for the Gardner Area Inter-Agency Team, which represents more than 20 healthcare providers, said the cuts have harmed home healthcare services and long term nursing home care the most. Several patients have lost their eligibility for home visits because of the cuts, she said.
•A grant of $28,500 was awarded to the VNA Foundation (Barrington, RI) to offer help to home healthcare patients not reimbursed by insurance or government programs. The money, bestowed by the Barrington District Nursing Association Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation, will be used to finance home-based health services, including therapeutic nursing visits, home health aides, social workers, nutritionists, and practical nurses.
•Presbyterian Medical Services of Santa Fe (Ruidoso, NM) and Hospice and Home Health Services of Lincoln County (Ruidoso, NM) merged last month. Presbyterian offers medical, dental, and human service programs to underserved communities in New Mexico.
•Centura Home Health’s private-duty nurse program in Colorado Springs, CO, closed July 1, reported the Colorado Springs Business Journal. The Denver program closed in March. In June, Centura announced a $24 million loss for the first eight months of FY99. The company decided to close the private-duty programs because they were struggling. It is trying to transfer both patients and employees to other private-duty agencies so the same people will care for the same patients, reported the Journal.