Category Archives: Hospitals

Young father’s unexpected death highlights the dangers of dental infections

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Vadim Anatoliyevich Kondratyuk and his daughters in an undated family photo before his death after complications from a dental infection.

Vadim Anatoliyevich Kondratyuk and his daughters in an undated family photo before his death after complications from a dental infection.

The recent story of a young California husband and father who died after suffering complications from a dental problem serves as a sad reminder of the important ties between oral health and overall health.

Vadim Anatoliyevich Kondratyuk, 26, a long-haul truck driver, was headed east to New York when he started feeling pain in the lower left side of his mouth.

“He pulled over in Oklahoma to see a dentist, who diagnosed an infection and prescribed antibiotics,” recounted health reporter Sammy Caiola in a Jan. 31 Sacramento Bee story. Continue reading

Will the hope and hype of predictive analytics pan out?

Rebecca Vesely

About Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely is AHCJ's topic leader on health information technology and a freelance writer. She has written about health IT since the late 1990s for a variety of publications.

Photo: jfcherry via Flickr

Photo: jfcherry via Flickr

Predictive analytics is an area of data science that is getting a lot of attention in health care.

Predictive analytics offers a tantalizing solution to problems plaguing resource-restrained hospitals. Namely, if providers can predict which patients will be readmitted within 30 days, or who will acquire an infection in the hospital, they can apply scarce resources to those high-risk patients and change the predicted outcome. This has the potential to improve quality outcomes and lower costs. Continue reading

The importance of addressing hospital-acquired superbug infections

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Phalinn Ooi via Flickr

Photo: Phalinn Ooi via Flickr

For three years, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have penalized hospitals when the institutions show unacceptably high rates of potentially avoidable complications, such as blood clots, bed sores, and infections, Jordan Rau reported last month for Kaiser Health News.

The federal agency this year added penalties for two hospital-acquired infections that result from germs resistant to antibiotics: methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (known as MRSA) and Clostridium difficile (C. diff). Continue reading

Looking below the surface of those ‘outrageous hospital bill’ stories

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: RikkisRefuge Other via Flickr

Photo: RikkisRefuge Other via Flickr

We may need a new hashtag to supplement #surprisemedbills. Perhaps #shockingmedbills would fit because some bills are just that.

Recent coverage about a new mom in Utah who was charged $39.35 just to hold her newborn is a good example. Continue reading

Reporter explores the secondary health problems of elderly during hospitalization

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in Kaiser Health News, The Atlantic.com, New America Media, AARP.com and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College in New York City, and co-produces HealthStyles for WBAI-FM/Pacifica Radio.

Photo: Heidi de Marco/KHNRon Schwarz, 79, who was hospitalized after falling in the shower, was featured in Anna Gorman’s series for Kaiser Health News on the risks that elderly patients can face when hospitalized.

Photo: Heidi de Marco/KHNRon Schwarz, 79, who was hospitalized after falling in the shower, was featured in Anna Gorman’s series for Kaiser Health News on the risks that elderly patients can face when hospitalized.

People go to the hospital to get better, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case with elderly adults, who can be at greater risk of getting discharged in worse condition than when admitted. This risk not only contributes to higher overall financial and physical health costs – longer hospital stays, time in rehab, worsening memory or fragility – but also threatens a senior’s ability to continue to live at home independently.

Kaiser Health News senior correspondent Anna Gorman looked into this problem – and what’s being done to address it – in her series, Diagnosis: Unprepared. Continue reading