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In Brief: MemorialCare To Start Up Health Plan; California Slashes Antibiotic Use

Nov 29, 2012

California Region

MemorialCare To Start Up Health Plan

Long Beach-based hospital operator MemorialCare Health System has submitted an application to the California Department of Managed Health Care to operate a new health plan for Medi-Cal managed care and for children with chronic health conditions.

The Seaside Health Plan will use as an operational foundation assets it acquired from Signal Hill-based Universal Care, which has recently rebranded itself to focus on enrollees with mental health issues.

“The new capabilities further our role in population health management, accountable care, medical homes, information technology, best practice medicine and other elements of health reform," said MemorialCare Chief Executive Officer Barry Arbuckle. “They expand our ability to further partner with health plans, employers, hospitals, physicians and providers to better serve patients and local communities.”

MemorialCare officials say a license approval from the DMHC could come as early as the spring of 2013.


California Slashes Antibiotic Usage

California has become one of the states with the lowest use of antibiotics, according to a new report from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy.

The report credits an initiative launched by the California Medical Association Foundation in 2000 as part of a nationwide initiative known as the Alliance Working for Antibiotic Resistance Education. According to data from UC Davis, prescriptions for antibiotics have dropped 17% since the initiative launched.

Since antibiotics were initially developed in the 1940s, bacterial resistance to them has grown, making it more difficult to treat diseases such as tuberculosis. Many clinicians prescribe them to treat viral infections, even though they have no effect and only serve to increase resistance disease-bearing bacteria.

Along with California, Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington have the lowest rate of antibiotic usage. The Appalachian states have the highest usage rate, at more than twice the rate of the western U.S.


Cedars-Sinai, Stanford Hospital Reduce Surgical Site Infections

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Stanford Hospital & Clinics have taken part in a nationwide initiative involving seven hospitals to reduce superficial colorectal surgical site infections.

The hospitals were able to reduce those kinds of infections by 32%. The average length of stays for those with infections were reduced from 15 to 13 days. By comparison, those patients with no infections were discharged after eight days. It is estimated that the reduction of infections saved the hospitals $3.2 million over a two-year period, according to data from the Joint Commission, which directed the initiative.

“Reducing surgical site infections is a very real challenge, but one that must be addressed if we want to make healthcare more reliable in terms of patient safety,” said Joint Commission President Mark R. Chassin, M.D. “These seven organizations are leading the way in finding specific solutions to the complex problem of surgical site infections.”

 

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