Thursday, March 31, 2005
UTexas, Lockheed teaming up for LANL race?
POGO is hearing rumors that Lockheed Martin will be teaming up with the University of Texas System to compete for management of Los Alamos National Laboratory. You may remember that Lockheed bowed out of the competition citing costs last summer, but re-entered the competition as reported yesterday. UT backed out this January. Now it looks like they've been talking behind closed doors.
MORE: A reader posted this quote from a UT System statement released in response to LockMart rejoining the race:
"The UT System welcomes further discussions and dialogue about ways to build on our contribution to the science and security of our nation at the national laboratories, consistent with our core competencies of research and education," the UT system said in a prepared statement."
POGO couldn't find the full statement on the UT System site, but reader IH hooked us up. We've posted it after the jump...
Lockheed Martin's Reentry in to Bid for Los Alamos National Laboratory Contract
The University of Texas System recently learned that Lockheed Martin has announced its interest in submitting a proposal for the management and operations contract for Los Alamos National Laboratory. Lockheed Martin's record as manager of Sandia National Laboratories is outstanding and has appropriately received widespread praise.
The University of Texas System has several partnerships with Lockheed Martin including a recent agreement between us and Sandia National Laboratories that will be signed in early April in Washington, D.C. That agreement provides that UT System will be responsible for assessing the quality of unclassified science and engineering research, collaborate on research projects, and cooperate on joint educational initiatives. We view this agreement between UT System and Sandia as a model of university/industrial partnerships with a national laboratory.
The UT System welcomes further discussions and dialogue about ways to build on our contribution to the science and security of our nation at the national laboratories, consistent with our core competencies of research and education.
Dynes, Foley: do not worry, you will not be missed.
Oh, and thanks for Nanos.
While being self insured is a short term win the lack of cost containment is a long term disaster. LANL management never seems to figure that out. Perhaps because all of LANL management thinking is short term?
In any event, I am sick to death of UHC and look forward to a better health plan. Perhaps LoveLace?
Friday, March 25, 2005
State Rips Lovelace Hospital
By Jackie Jadrnak
Journal Staff Writer
The Albuquerque Regional Medical Center lacks an effective system to assure quality of care to its patients, according to the state Department of Health.
Complaints of problems in patient care aren't getting any action to prevent them from reoccurring, according to a report released this week. Nurse staffing is so weak that each of 17 doctors interviewed said the situation is putting patients at risk, the report said.
"Patient safety is more than at-risk; it's actually been compromised," said Katrina Hotrum, director of the Division for Health Improvement.
"It's pretty bad," she said of the findings. "I don't think I've seen anything this egregious."
Dr. William Mitchell, chief medical officer for the hospital, issued a written statement saying federal officials had found no threat to patient safety.
"We have already developed and implemented a plan to correct these issues— each and every one of them," according to his statement.
"We want to assure our patients that every physician, nurse and hospital employee at Albuquerque Regional Medical Center is committed to delivering the quality care our patients deserve," his statement says.
Part of the Lovelace Sandia Health System, the medical center is owned by Nashville, Tenn.-based Ardent Health Services, which has 34 hospitals in 13 states.
The state Department of Health inspects hospitals to assure they meet state and federal standards. It reports its findings to the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, which determines what further action will be taken.
In response to complaints from a health-care professional about the medical center, the state initiated an investigation that ended March 2. CMS responded to its findings by calling for a full investigation of all aspects of medical care at the medical center at 601 Dr. Martin Luther King NE.
Hotrum said CMS officials haven't decided whether federal or state inspectors will handle that investigation, nor have they decided if only that hospital or all hospitals in the Lovelace Sandia system will be investigated.
Depending on the result of that investigation, CMS officials would decide what, if any, action should be taken, Hotrum said. CMS could impose fines, or even cut off all federal funding to the hospital.
Of 17 physicians on the hospital staff interviewed by state inspectors, according to the state report, 16 said they had brought significant patient care issues to the attention of hospital committees or officials designated to handle them. All 16 said that nothing was done to improve quality of care as a result and that none had gotten any response from the hospital administration.
Some continuing problems that were identified included inadequate numbers of case managers and continuing problems with mislabeling of pathology specimens. The latter problem refers to blood, urine, tissue or similar samples taken from patients to tell how well different bodily systems are functioning or what disease may be present.
The report also noted that the hospital's Healthcare Quality Committee reviewed nine serious events that occurred from June 23 through Oct. 9, including:
# A patient who developed an infection requiring six weeks of intravenous antibiotics because he or she was operated on with surgical instruments that had not been sterilized;
# A patient who needed surgery to remove a sponge left from an earlier surgery;
# A wrong type of blood given to a patient;
# Blood transfusions given to a patient whose religion did not allow such transfusions;
# Two delays in starting resuscitation efforts on patients who were found unresponsive. One died; and
# A patient who died two days after being transferred to the medical center for a hip fracture. That person was found to have high potassium levels, which can disrupt a heart's rhythm.
After discussing the events, the committee did not recommend any further action.
Hotrum said she does not know if problems at the medical center are related at all to its purchase by Ardent. That organization bought out St. Joseph Healthcare in 2002 and the Lovelace Health System in 2003.
The state's routine inspection of the hospital completed April 27, 2004, didn't cite any deficiencies.
The Albuquerque Regional Medical Center had previously been St. Joseph Hospital. The most recent review by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations was conducted in 2001 and 2002, with accreditation with conditions of improvement given in 2001 and full accreditation in 2002, according to information posted on the commission's Web site.