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Mayor addresses Itron, emergency room closure during state of the city address – Owenton News-Herald

Editors note: The following is a transcription of Owenton Mayor David Milkweed Wotiers annual state of the city address given at the Owen County Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting June 27. Wotier opened the address by recognizing city council members Bob Osborne, Larry Dale Perry, Jimmy Marston, Milford Sipple, Adam Gaines and Joan Kincaid, as well as Owenton Fire Chief J.O. Powers, city clerk Laura Aldridge, treasurer Anita Sipple and the citys new grounds keeper and maintenance man, Jacob Harris. This portion of the address is omitted from the transcription due to space.

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It was last Oct. 11 that I stood here giving the state of the city address for last year. You might remember that I could not do it at the regularly scheduled time because of federal grand jury duty. But since that short time from Oct. 11 to the present time, theres been many challenges, there have been many struggles that have come down the pike, of which I will be speaking to and addressing in a few minutes.

First, let me say, as you enter the city limits you see the welcome sign with the caption that reads, Taking pride in our city. This has been our motto for several years, probably around 2000-2001 when we came up with that. But how do we take pride in our community? It looks nice, its a nice caption, its a nice motto but how do we really take pride in our community? I could probably spend the next hour or two talking and addressing that question because there are many ways to do that, but I believe one of the best, one of the most effective, one of the most vital qualities has to be a sense of community, a spirit of togetherness. We are a strong unity together, but alone we cant do very much. Alone we are in essence powerless. Together, we can make great things happen if we join forces with like-minded individuals, forming an alliance and sticking together we have a much greater chance of being heard. Together, Im convinced we can make great things happen. Together, we can make great things come together.

Lets spend a few minutes looking at two of the most challenging situations to hit our community, at least in the 29 years that I have been a part of this community.

Everywhere I go theres somebody asking, What are we gonna do without our largest employer? Whats the answer? Losing 450-plus employees by the end of the year will affect us as a city, as a county and as a community in many adverse ways. Itron has been a very vital part of the economic growth of this county for the past 30-plus years. But understandably, technology since that time has changed enormously.

I understand the changes that had to be made. And I want to take the time and the opportunity to thank Itron for being such a vital, powerful influencer part of our community. Their presence in our town where they operated under the name of Itron or Schlumberger or whatever the name might have been, their presence in our community has played a very vital part. They will be missed, however, as true and as sad as it is about them leaving, this does not mean that Owenton cannot or Owenton will not be able to draw in another industry.

Let me assure you this, your elected officials, including our (Owen County Judge-Executive Casey Ellis), his magistrates, my council members and other elected officials, along with many other community leaders, are actively and aggressively moving to make things happen. Can I stand here this morning and guarantee you that well have something in there by Jan. 1 of next year when Itron moves out? I cannot exactly tell you that. I do think that well be able to get something in there, and the stronger we work together, and together is the key word, Im convinced we can make things happen. It will be a tedious and tenacious job, but Im convinced working together our dreams will come true.

Now the second greatest challenge facing our community is the closing of our local emergency department. I spent 11 years on staff at our local hospital. It is a place that is very near and dear to me, and Im convinced that the emergency department has saved many, many lives. Ive been there, Ive been right there with the patients as they were brought in. Ive been there with the families in life threatening situations when it appeared death was imminent. But because of trained medical professionals that knew what they were doing and were on the top of their game, they were able to walk away with a sense of joy, and the tears turned to tears of joy. Ive been there many times, Ive witnessed that. Did we save every life that came through the ER? No, but theres been a lot.

Weve been fortunate to have the emergency department as long as we have. The faade of medical care all across our country is changing. Its changing dramatically. Many communities of our size and similar demographics have not been able to withstand the test of time as long as we have. So I am grateful for that.

Having said all of that, the closing of the emergency department did not come as a surprise to me. Sixteen months ago there was a lot of talk about that, and after many talks, meetings and conversations with John Mitchell and many other St. Elizabeth team members I began to see the handwriting on the wall and seeing whats coming down the pike with healthcare all across our country. I truly believe that they tried every way they could to make this work. Im grateful to St. Elizabeth for giving us a chance.

You might have heard me say this before, but way back during that transition, when we were switching over from New Horizons Medical Center to St. Elizabeth Owen, I begged them not to close our emergency room, because I have seen what has happened. Other people that live in this community jumped on that bandwagon too and begged them, Dont close this emergency room. They gave it a 16-month trial, and it just did not work, so I can understand as you can, a business that is not profitable cannot progress forward, and thats exactly what was happening here. All attempts thus far, and Ill underscore the words thus far, to bring in another emergency department or urgent care has proven to be futile. However, we pledge to do everything we can to bring the best healthcare possible to our community.

Triad is now a big part of our community. (Melody Stafford), you are a big plus for Triad. I think Triad has done good and Ive worked with them sort of on a secondary level in the past, but you being here I think is the best thing that could happen for Triad. Youre well known, youre well leveled, youre well respected, and thats in your favor and its in our favor. Then when I think of people like Kevin Callihan with Air Methods, making their service available to us, and weve got some others that could be here, were gonna be leaning on them a little bit more. Weve been in conversations together, we have the extended hours at the clinic, plus we have Triad here. Then Jim Ziege with physical therapy, having his presence here in our community helps aid and support and the strengthening of healthcare here in our community.

Theres a lot of things I could say about the police department and all the issues were dealing with. I do think we have a very, very good police department. Their lives are at risk every day, and one of my biggest fears, one of my strongest prayers is support, Gods blessings upon them, as well as all of our emergency responders. We live in a crazy world out there. One part of me says Im glad to tell you that our drug arrests in the city are down from last year, but on the flip side of that, the overdose rates on drugs are up. As a city, we cannot afford to continue to buy Narcan at the current price. We just cannot continue paying what were paying for it for the Narcan. Right now were down to one dose for each cruiser. Its very expensive, and all of that could be used in one day or night. There are a lot of things that Im not at liberty to talk about, but just know that it is a major factor.

I spoke with a prosecuting attorney here a few weeks ago that congratulated me. I said, OK, whats that about? He said of the three counties that he serves, Owen County has the least number of people on their dockets. The other two have surpassed us even with drug arrests. I dont know what that says. Im glad that were down, but its still an issue that were trying to tackle and it will not be resolved any time quickly.

On a brighter side and in closing, let me add that were gradually picking up speed with our Lower Thomas Lake project and the family fun part that we hope to put in there.

Nathan Clark, its been great knowing you over the years and working with you. Now we got the opportunity to work with you a lot closer. I cannot say enough good about Kentucky American Water. We would not be where we are today as a city, as a county with the quantity and quality of water that they have provided and its hard for me not to ring their bell when Im around them. If youve been down to the Lower Thomas Lake, they have spent thousands of dollars down there restoring that, and were getting ready to get it back here. We sold it to them, and they spent thousands of dollars on it, and now theyre giving it back to us. Im excited about the possibilities; theres a lot of potential down there. Some of you have seen the pictures, those pictures have been around for a year. We first had Strand Engineering to develop those for us and do this assessment, its been over a year ago, but weve had other issues to deal with, particularly with industry and healthcare. Were still finalizing some things with Kentucky American, but it looks like now well be able to do that real soon.

In talking with and meeting with Mike Stafford two months ago on council breakfast meeting, we went and met down at the lake. He, in turn, is working with other people at Owen Electric and they are investigating a possibility of making an investment into the community as a community project there. More information is forthcoming on that, but I did talk with Mike.

Let me say this — I have a great love for Owenton and Owen County. I have invested a lot of my life a lot of time, a lot of resources into this county, and I want to help it. I want to see it move forward. Weve got some negative things going on, but lets accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. We can do that only by working together. There is strength in unity. When more than one person comes together to unite for a common good we are able to complete the task at hand. We know what our task is, lets come together, move together, I believe now is the right time to move forward together for the cause of the good.

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Mayor addresses Itron, emergency room closure during state of the city address – Owenton News-Herald

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ER access shouldn’t be dictated by insurers – Columbia Missourian

Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield (BCBS), recently notified Missouri plan participants that non-urgent emergency room visits would no longer be covered. This policy is a clear violation of the national prudent layperson standard, which is codified in federal law.

The prudent layperson standard requires insurance coverage be based on a patients symptoms, not their final diagnosis. Anyone seeking emergency care suffering from symptoms that appear to be an emergency should not be denied coverage if the final diagnosis does not turn out to be an emergency.

If you have an Anthem BCBS health insurance plan in Missouri, be aware that nearly 2,000 diagnoses,which Anthem BCBS considers to be non-urgent, would not be covered if you visit the emergency room. Some of these diagnoses are symptoms of medical emergencies. For example:

Anthem BCBS plans to enforce this policy in Missouri this summer.

Missouri participants need to fight for their right to have access to emergency care as protected by the “prudent layperson” standard.

If you are worried that you might have an emergency, you should be able to seek emergency care without wondering if your insurance will cover your ER visit. The vast majority of patients in the emergency department seek care appropriately and often should have come to the ER sooner.

Dr. Jonathan Heidt is president of the Missouri College of Emergency Physicians.

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Who pays when someone without insurance shows up in the ER? – USA TODAY

Right now, GOP senators are trying to gather enough votes to pass their Obamacare replacement plan, but even fellow Republicans are having a time a hard time accepting the health care bill. USA TODAY

An ambulance arrives at a hospital emergency room.(Photo: PhotoDisc)

WASHINGTON If an uninsured patient shows up in the emergency room, who pays? The hospital? Taxpayers? The patient? Other patients?

The question is important as Republicans debate health care legislation that could result in more than 20 million fewer Americans having health insurance in ten years.If that happens, some people will go without care. Others will show up at hospitals, but wont be able to pay their bills.

The year the Affordable Care Act passed, hospitals provided about $40 billion in “uncompensated care” that is, care they were not paid for.That was nearly 6% of their total 2010 expenses.

A 1985 federal law requires emergency departments to stabilize and treat anyone entering their doors, regardless of their ability to pay.

But that doesnt mean the uninsured can get treated for any ailment.

Theres lots of medical care we want to consume thats not an emergency, said health care economist Craig Garthwaite, an associate professor and director of the health care program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

It also doesnt mean that hospitals wont try to bill someone without insurance. And the bill they send will be higher than for an insured patient because theres no carrier to negotiate lower prices.

As a result, the uninsured are more likely to be contacted by collection agencies, as they face problems paying both medical and non-medical bills. One study, published in 2016 by the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that someone who goes into the hospital without insurance doubles her chances of filing for bankruptcy over the next four years.

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For the bills that go unpaid, hospitals can try to compensate by charging other patients more. But that doesnt happen as much as many people including policymakers — think.

The authors of the ACA believed thatincreasing insurance coverage through Medicaid and subsidies for private insurance would lessen the cost-shifting that leads to higher insurance premiums. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts also mentioned that benefit in the 2011 decision he authored upholding the laws constitutionality. But researchers havent been ableto document much of a cost shift.

Studying the effects of expanding Medicaid in Michigan where more than 600,000 gained coverage researchers at the University of Michigan havefound no evidence that the expansion affected insurance premiums. They did, however, document that hospitals uncompensated care costs dropped dramatically by nearly 50%.

Conversely, when Tennessee and Missouri had large-scale Medicaid cuts in 2005, the amount of care hospitals provided for free suddenly increased. In a 2015 study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Garthwaite and his co-authors estimated every uninsured person costs local hospitals $900 in uncompensated care costs each year.

This is not a trivial thing for a hospital to deal with, Garthwaite said. While hospitals average 7% profit margins, uncompensated care costs can be more than 5% of revenue.

Hospitals do get help with the unpaid bills from taxpayers.

The majority of hospitals are non-profits and are exempt from federal, state and local taxes if they provide a community benefit, such as charitable care. Hospitals also receive federal funding to offset some of the costs of treating the poor.

The ACA scaled back those payments in anticipation that hospitals’ uncompensated care costs would go down. The GOP proposals to overhaul the ACA would reinstate the payments, while making changes to Medicaid and private insurance subsidies that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates would result in more than 20 million fewer people having insurance by 2026.

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The return of extra federal payments to hospitals for uncompensatedcare wouldnt be enough to offset the unpaid bills, according to an analysis by the Commonwealth Fund. The study examined the Medicaid changes included in the bill that passed the House in May, and co-author Melinda Abrams said the effects of the Senates pending proposal would be at least as great.

Hospitals operating margins in all states would decline. And hospitals in most of the 31 states which expanded Medicaid under the ACA would have negative operating margins by 2026, according to the analysis.

Ultimately, you have to cut services, fire people, or both, Abrams said. It is shifting the burden of the cost. What is currently shared between the federal government and state governments will be shifted largely to the states. And the burden will be felt by the providers, the patients, the community and the taxpayer.

Pressure from hospitals was often a factor in states decisions to expand Medicaid under the ACA. In some states, such as Indiana, hospitals even agreed to a pay new taxes in exchange for the additional federal revenue from Medicaid patients. Most of the recent decline in hospitals uncompensated care costs has been in states which expanded Medicaid.

And hospitals are among those fighting hard against GOP efforts to phase out the expansion and cap overall Medicaid payments to states.

If these proposed cuts take place, devastation would occur for local rural economies due to hospitals closing and patients incurring huge amounts of debt, Trampas Hutches, CEO of Melissa Memorial Hospital in Holyoke, Colo., said at one of the many events organized by the American Hospital Association and other health care providers in opposition to the GOP bills.

One reason Medicaid has been harder to cut than other safety-net programs such as welfare cash payments is that a large part of the spending is a transfer to health care providers, Garthwaite argues. Thats particularly true for hospitals which are essentially insurers of last resort when there are large coverage gaps.

When policymakers decide not to provide health insurance for a portion of the population that otherwise could not afford insurance,” Garthwaite and his colleagues wrote in their 2015 analysis, “hospitals ultimately bear the cost of that decision,

As President Donald Trump continues to push his agenda of repealing and replacing Obamacare, Americans are not on his side about this. Susana Victoria Perez (@susana_vp) has more. Buzz60

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Avoid a 4th of July emergency room trip – KRISTV.com | Continuous … – KRIS Corpus Christi News

CORPUS CHRISTI –

For many Americans, the 4th of July is a day of patriotism, family celebration, barbecue, and, of course, fireworks. However, each year the fun ends with a trip to the emergency room for those who aren’t careful.

Last year fireworks accidents sent more than 11,000 Americans to emergency rooms.

The 4thof July holiday has earned a reputation as the most dangerous holiday in the U.S. Jennifer Carr, theTrauma Program Managerat the Corpus Christi Medical Center says 4th of July related activities and fireworks bring a lot of people into the ER.

It is actually more common than you think. We see a lot of injuries with adults, and we also see injuries with children. We see injuries due to fireworks. We see burns to faces, hands, and eyes due to fireworks,said Corpus Christi Medical Center Trauma Program Manager Jennifer Carr.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The injuries skyrocket around this time of year. More than 230 people on average end up in the ER with fireworks-related injuries every day in the month around July 4th.

If somebody gets injured from a firework, you definitely want to get them to the closest emergency department. Call 911, especially if it is an injury to the face or eye. Typically a burn such as a sunburn is a first-degree burn. Anything that is more than a first-degree burn needs to beevaluated by a physician. Anything that causes the skin to open up or not stay intact anymore needs to be evaluated. Burns can scar and require lots of treatments infollow-up phases, said Carr.

Even with seemingly harmless sparklers, parents should use great caution and think twice before handing them to children.

Take it seriously. Realize that fireworks can cause injuries, and always have adult supervision even with sparklers. Children need to be supervised. Sparklers can reach a temperature of 2000 degrees, and so we see lots of injuries of children with fireworks. A lot of those is because of lack of adult supervision, said Carr.

Before use:

During use:

After use:

While following these tips will help, sometime injuries happen. The most common areas of the body that are injured tend to be the hands, fingers, eyes, head and face, mostly with burns. If your child gets inured, considering the following:

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Emergency rooms and urgent cares expect busy holiday week – KY3

Branson, Mo. — Many emergency rooms and urgent cares in the Ozarks are all hands on deck this holiday weekend.

But even with the extra staffing, some medical centers are backed up

With it being a busy weekend, CoxHealth in Branson said they are at capacity.

The hospital has all of its backup staff working in the ER to treat a lot of patients coming in.

At noon today, the ER waiting room was so crowded it was standing room only and its Urgent care, next door, was also backed up with a two-hour wait time.

Tourists and locals celebrating independence day have flooded the Branson area and with this being the most popular holiday for fireworks, many of the patients are coming in with burns.

“The injuries we see a lot this time of year are injuries to the hands,” CoxHealth, Branson, Communications Coordinator Brandei Clifton said. “A lot of folks even though fireworks don’t always work the way they’re supposed to, so you’ll see a lot, you’ve might even done this yourself holding roaming candles in your hands we’ve had folks hold the artileryshell canisters in their hand and if they malfunction that’s a pretty severe burn right there,” CoxHealth, Branson, Communications Coordinator Brandei Clifton said.

Even the smallest of fireworks can end badly.

“Even a little firework can cause a big burn,” Clifton said. “Make sure your kiddos… it seems like common sense, but like I said, when you’re in the fun… of the moment you don’t always have safety on the mind, so make sure those kiddos have adult supervision if they’re out their shooting off those fireworks… Even a smoke bomb, if a little hand grabs a smoke bomb at the wrong place which they don’t always know to do, or a sparkler, you know want to grab the sparkly pretty part of it and there’s a bad injury to the hand right now, so take care of those little ones and take care of yourself.”

The medical staff reminds people to keep a bucket of water close by to put out any remaining firework flames, in order to protect accidentally stepping or holding anything that could burn you.

“When fireworks don’t perform as they’re supposed to you, get a dud every once in a while, a lot of the times folks will try to reset or relight a dud firework and when that happens, sometimes, it can light back up and an injury to the face can happen that way, and more injuries to the hands,” Clifton said. “So important when you have a dead firework just leave it alone and after about 20 minutes if it still hasn’t fired go ahead and throw it back in that bucket of water.”

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LA emergency rooms prepare for influx of July 4th fireworks injuries – LA Daily News

WEST HILLS >> The Fourth of July ushers in a season of legal and illegal fireworks that hurt thousands of people across the country each year.

So emergency rooms in the Los Angeles region are girding for a crush of patients burned by sparklers, rockets, firecrackers and more.

Our emergency room and the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital are ready to treat patients with fireworks-related injuries, said Elizabeth Reid, the hospitals emergency room director, in a statement. These injuries can range from simple burns to loss of fingers, other extremities and even death.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports an average of 200 people each day go to the emergency room with fireworks-related injuries in the month surrounding July Fourth.

RELATED STORY: Here are the July 4th events happening in and around LA

To reduce the chance of getting hurt, the Grossman Burn Center issued the following safety tips:

Obey the law. Lighting fireworks is prohibited in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Never make your own fireworks.

Legal fireworks labeled Safe and Sane can still cause injury. Read and follow all warnings and instructions.

Keep young children away from any firework activity. Young children should wear earmuffs to prevent any damage to the eardrum.

Animals have sensitive ears too and can be extremely frightened or stressed by fireworks. Keep pets indoors to reduce the risk that theyll run away or get injured.

Peter Grossman, medical director for The Grossman Burn Center, also suggests anyone who gets burned should seek emergency medical care when the burn is bigger than the palm of your hand.

Victims should also seek care when the burn is on the face, hands, feet or genitals, or when it is white, leathery or painless. In the case of a life-threatening injury, call 911.

People seem especially laid-back about sparklers but the tip of a sparkler can heat up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit posing serious burn risks and can easily catch ones clothes on fire, Grossman said. Burns can even occur after fireworks sparks and flames are gone.

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Fourth of July tales from the emergency room – ABC News – ABC News

Summer is in full force by the time Fourth of July weekend rolls around every year — and so are the opportunities to injure oneself.

Doctors who have worked in the emergency room during the holiday weekend told ABC News that they often see the same types of incidents every Independence Day, including sunburns, poison ivy rashes, underage drinking and fireworks injuries.

But that doesn’t mean they haven’t treated some out-of-the-ordinary cases as well.

Here are some Fourth of July tales from the emergency room:

Jamie Coleman, a trauma surgeon at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, said the bomb squad had to be called in for one of the “craziest” cases she’s ever seen, which happened on a Fourth of July weekend.

The incident involved fireworks that were the largest consumers in Indiana could buy without needing a license, Coleman said.

While the firework was being lit at a backyard party, one of the explosive mechanisms — a metal ball about four inches in diameter — misfired, Coleman said. Instead of launching the firework into the air, the metal ball came out of the side of the firework and became lodged inside the patient, she said.

Since the explosive did not detonate, it still had the potential to explode, and the bomb squad had to be present during the man’s emergency surgery to remove it, Coleman said.

“They’re there to protect it and ensure that it doesn’t go off once they’ve removed it, ensuring the safety of everyone in the operating room,” Coleman said of the bomb squad’s role.

As soon as the explosive device was removed from the man’s body, doctors “very carefully” handed it to the bomb squad, who then disposed of it safely, Coleman said.

“This stuff is so crazy sometimes — what we do and see,” Coleman said. “You just can’t even make it up.”

A couple of years ago, a Fourth of July prank lead to a trip to the emergency room for a group of teenagers in New York City, said Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital on the Upper East Side.

During a party, the teens adorned a cake — which was decorated festively for Independence Day — with sparklers. But, one of the sparklers was actually a firecracker, Glatter said.

After the blast, the group took an Uber to the emergency room, where they were treated for minor injuries such as facial abrasions and a ruptured eardrum, Glatter said.

When the teens arrived at the hospital, they were covered in cake and red, white and blue icing, because they didn’t think to stop and wipe it off before they left, Glatter said.

None of the teens suffered eye injuries, since they were already wearing goggles so they could spray champagne on each other, Glatter said. Eye injuries are typical in accidents involving firecrackers, Glatter said.

The blast effect from the firecracker was probably lessened since it was lit outdoors, Glatter said. Had it exploded inside, the pressure from the blast effect could have led to more serious injuries such as ruptured bowels or a collapsed lung, he said.

Last year, a teen about 14 years old had to be medically evacuated from northern Michigan to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grant Rapids after he fell into a campfire, said Erica Michiels, associate director for the hospital’s pediatric emergency department.

First responders had initially reported to doctors that the teen was “burned black” and sustained surface burns to more than 30 percent of his body, causing his family and emergency physicians to fear the worst, Michiels said.

When the boy arrived, “he had soot all the way up to his waist,” Michiels said. Hospital staff got him to the emergency room to wash him off and to better see the burns, but they weren’t there.

The teen merely had one burn the size of the palm of his hand near his ankle, Michiels said.

“The rest was just soot from falling into the fire,” she said.

The boy’s parents may have over-inflated the sense of danger because he was “screaming and yelling and floundering around” after he fell into the campfire, Michiels said.

“I think his anxiety was contagious and made everyone think … he must be really, really injured,” she said.

The boy’s family and the healthcare professionals looking after him were all “relieved” when they realized his injuries weren’t so serious, Michiels said, adding that the medical staff “learned a lesson” that day to not get too carried away before they have a full understanding of the patient’s injuries.

Michiels saw another incident last year in which parents panicked a bit too prematurely.

A “terrified” mother brought her infant into the emergency room the day after Independence Day because she thought the baby had contracted “some sort of horrible infection,” Michiels said.

The cause for concern: bright blue poop.

The mother brought doctors the baby’s diaper in a Ziploc bag, and when they opened it, the “sweet, fruity smell” was “overwhelming,” Michiels said.

The family had been at a picnic the day before, where someone had brought a big bowl of blueberries, which the baby had never had before, she said. The infant “loved” the fruit and ended up eating a handful.

“When babies eat fruit, it passes through their system fairly quickly,” Michiels said. “You wind up with this sweet-smelling, dark-colored poop.”

Michiels said parents should only be worried if poop is white, black or red.

“All other shades of poop are usually OK,” she said.

Fireworks are best left to professionals, Coleman said, adding that every year she amputates fingers due to fireworks accidents.

Even the most seemingly innocuous items, such as sparklers, are a cause for concern, Coleman said. Sparklers can reach up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, and physicians see sparkler burns almost every Fourth of July, Michiels said.

“Just the quickest touch to a child’s hand will give them a pretty significant burn,” Michiels said.

Glatter advised that people celebrating watch the amount of alcohol they imbibe, which, combined with setting fireworks off or swimming, could be a “perfect recipe for disaster,” he said.

Another safety concern to keep in mind is monitoring children near water at all times, Michiels said, adding that every Fourth of July, she tends to see at least one patient who has drowned.

During a pool party or beach outing, there are usually several adults around but not one particular person who is looking after the kids, she said.

“We often see a drowning event of a child where there were many, many adults right in the vicinity who could have rescued that child had they known the child was in trouble,” she said.

Michiels said a common misconception is that if you don’t hear anyone yelling for help, everything is fine.

“In truth, drowning is almost always a silent event,” she said. “You can’t hear someone calling for help because the person who is floundering is doing everything they can to get that breath in. They don’t have that extra energy to call out for help.”

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Newman Regional Health emergency room expansion begins – Emporia Gazette

One turn of a shovel and it was official.

Ground was broken at Newman Regional Health Wednesday, signifying the beginning of its $14.4 million emergency room expansion project.

I want to thank you all for coming out today for the groundbreaking, Bob Wright, Newman Regional Health chief operating officer said. I was looking at the statistics today and, since 2013, our emergency room volume is up 22 percent, which helps explain why this project is so important to our community. We are doubling the number of rooms in our ER and tripling the square footage. We are co-locating express care and our critical decision unit on the same floor of the ER for better access to patients to our diagnostic equipment and their caregivers.

The expansion will increase the size of the emergency room tremendously. The current ER consists of 5,000 square feet with the expansion providing an additional 10,000 square feet. Wright said the expansion will benefit hospital staff and patients.

Just the space is a huge benefit, Wright said. The current rooms are so small we cant get the staff we need in a room. Sometimes you need three staff members in a room and they are too small for three people.

The emergency room will have a centralized nursing station and 19 total rooms the current ER has 10 small rooms. The 19 rooms include three trauma rooms, four fast track rooms and 12 regular examination rooms. The rooms are arranged around the central nursing station, which provides a clear line of sight to all patient rooms, which increases patient and staff safety.

Harold Blits, vice president of facilities at Newman Regional Health, said the emergency room expansion will benefit the community.

Its not so much how its going to benefit the staff. The big benefit is to the community, Blits said. If you have ever been a patient in the ER you know how tight it is, how loud it is, the lack of privacy.

The expansion will also include a waiting room, three exam rooms and a procedure room for express care. As patients enter they will self-determine if they need to be seen in express care or the emergency room. If they begin treatment in express care but the severity level is too high, they will be transferred to the emergency room.

A room for pre- and post-patients using the cath lab is included as well as room for an infusion station for those patients who come to the hospital for IV medications. Two safety rooms, observation rooms, a sexual assault nurse exam room and office space are also included. Staff will have access to a break room, staff bathrooms and locker rooms.

With Wednesdays groundbreaking, Bilts and Wright anticipate the expanded emergency room to open in December of 2019.

We anticipate being open 18 months from today, Bilts said.

I believe the next 18 months will go very quickly and we will be here soon cutting a ribbon, Wright said.

How patients benefit

^ Decrease in wait time

Wait times are expected to decrease with the additional space.

The space allows the ability to turn the patients quicker, Wright said. Waiting times will go down because we can get them in a room quicker. We can lose 20 minutes to an hour while people are in the waiting room and we havent even got them in a room yet.

^ Increased safety

Safety is always a top priority for patients and staff. The new emergency room is designed with safety in mind.

This space is designed for safety, Bilts said. Good line of sight to all patient rooms and a central nursing station.

^ Privacy

Each room in the new emergency room has a private bathroom to increase patient privacy.

Now we have two little bathrooms in the middle of a hallway and you are wandering out there exposed, Bilts said. Every room will have a restroom and there is just so much more privacy.

^ Space for family

The larger room sizes not only accommodate medical equipment and staff but also allow space for family to remain in the room with the patient. Each room will have a sleeper sofa for family members to rest while waiting.

Currently there is no room for family in our ER right now, Bilts said. If the doctor and nurse have to come in, the family member has to stand in the corner and basically hope they dont take up a spot more than 18 inches by 18 inches. Now the rooms will be plenty big enough for family to be there with the patient.

***************** Second Info Box *******************

By the numbers

^ $14.4 million is budgeted for the emergency room expansion

^ 19 total rooms in the emergency room three trauma rooms, four fast track rooms, 12 regular exam rooms

^ 15,000 square feet in the new emergency room

^ 7-percent increase in the number of patients using the emergency room in 2017 over 2016

^ 22 years since the last emergency room renovation was completed in 1995

Read this article:
Newman Regional Health emergency room expansion begins – Emporia Gazette

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Thomas Memorial to crack down on emergency room admissions … – The Exponent Telegram (press release) (registration)

Beginning in July, officials at Thomas Memorial Hospital in South Charleston will be changing the rules for admission to try to discourage patients from going to the emergency room for non-emergencies.

We have a tremendous number of people who seek care in our emergency room on a regular basis, said Dan Lauffer, CEO of Thomas Health System. But he said many of them dont have to go to the emergency room, and many would be better served by going to a health clinic, urgent care center or to their regular doctor.

According to Lauffer, about 35,000 people a year visit Thomas Memorials emergency room. But between 30 and 40 percent of those patients arent really experiencing a medical emergency and would be better served by visiting a health clinic, urgent care or doctor.

Lauffer said patients at the emergency room who dont have real medical emergencies jam up the system and create longer wait times for everyone. So, during July and August the hospital will put into place new patient policies designed to discourage those without medical emergencies from going to the emergency room, and encourage them to seek other forms of care.

To begin with, Lauffer said those coming to the emergency room with non-medical emergencies will be asked to pay a co-pay before they will be seen. Thomas ER co-pays begin at $8 for Medicaid patients and go up from there based on a patients insurance coverage.

Lauffer said emergency room visits are about four times as expensive as other medical services, and wait times tend to be much longer before patients can see a doctor. Co-pays for emergency room visits also tend to be higher than co-pays at clinics, urgent care centers and doctors offices.

Visiting a doctor or a clinic before an emergency occurs is also better for a patients overall health, Lauffer said. Routine follow-up care with a doctor is better for your health than episodic visits to the emergency room, he said.

Regular medical care is also usually cheaper than relying on the emergency room, he said. Were also concerned about their financial health, Lauffer said.

In addition to being asked to pay co-pays up front, Lauffer said patients coming to the emergency room without a real emergency will be given a choice about how they would like to be seen. He said patients will be told they can go to Thomas nearby medical clinic and be seen in the order they arrived, or they can remain in the emergency room but be bumped toward the bottom of the list to be seen in the order of the severity of their injuries.

Thomas staff will be telling patients about the new rules during July and August.

Thomas said many patients are just so used to going to the emergency room for every medical issue they may have that they dont give it a second thought. He said education is the key to breaking the emergency room cycle.

If we dont communicate and educate, the cycle will never change, he said. Once patients are told there may be better, cheaper ways to seek health care than the emergency room, They will begin to understand that they dont have to come into the emergency room for every problem they present with.

Read more:
Thomas Memorial to crack down on emergency room admissions … – The Exponent Telegram (press release) (registration)

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Hospital Ends Agreement to Have Off-Duty Police in Emergency Room – KARK

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A footprint in town, means you have history to share.

CHI St. Vincent’s history dates back more than a century to 1888.

“We’re here to protect and take care of people,” says an emergency room staffer.

The Emergency Room employee, who asked we hide their identify, knows things change over time.

“Something’s got to be done to keep it safe. It could be anybody that something happens too,” the employee says.

The staffer says about two months ago, the hospital ended its agreement to keep an off-duty police officer in the Emergency Room.

“If something starts going down–we have to get to the appropriate phones, call 911 and wait for back up to get there,” the worker says.

St. Vincent officials say they have a full-time security team and the off-duty police officers were only working ‘a few hours overnight each night’.

The staffer says overnights are primetime for problems.

“A patient has charged an area of the desk where they could’ve gotten to the staff and they were said to be quite threatening and very abusive and even threatening to hurt staff,” the employee says.

St. Vincent Hospital officials provided a prepared statement:

“Our Environment of Care and Workplace Safety committees are made up of coworkers from multiple divisions, including Nursing and Security. Those committees are involved in re-evaluating our security protocols in order to maintain the highest level of safety possible and ensure we are allocating resources where needed most.

As part of an ongoing evaluation, we determined it would be more beneficial at this time to focus resources on how to improve security throughout the hospital. The off-duty police officers who were previously contracted by us were only located in the Emergency Department and only for a few hours overnight each night. So, we are in the process of implementing additional security measures for all of our departments on all of our campuses.

We continue to have an excellent relationship with law enforcement in every community we serve. Those partnerships, in addition to an active, full-time security team, help us ensure the safety of patients and coworkers.”

“Just keeping an eye out for what’s going on, who’s going where,” the staffer says.

While CHI St. Vincent has a full-time security team, the Emergency Room employee says the guards are not armed.

A Little Rock Police spokesperson says off-duty officers provide armed security in the Emergency Room at Baptist Health and Children’s Hospital. UAMS has its own separate police force.

See the article here:
Hospital Ends Agreement to Have Off-Duty Police in Emergency Room – KARK

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