Mount Sinai Appoints a President

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The New York Sun

Mount Sinai Hospital has tapped its chief operating officer, Wayne Keathley, to be president following the resignation of Dr. Burton Drayer. Dr. Drayer, who was named president of the hospital in 2003, announced his intention to step down several weeks ago in order to focus on his roles as chairman of Mount Sinai’s department of radiology and chairman of the board of the Radiological Society of North America.

Since 2003, Mr. Keathley has served as chief operating officer and executive vice president at Mount Sinai Hospital, part of Mount Sinai Medical Center, along with the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Hospital officials said Mr. Keathley helped to direct a financial turnaround at the medical center in recent years.

“Wayne has energized our business development efforts,” the president and chief executive officer of Mount Sinai Medical Center, Dr. Kenneth Davis, said in a statement announcing the appointment.

Mr. Keathley will assume the post September 1.

Colored Bands Describe Risky Medical Conditions

Patients at one of the city’s public hospitals are being outfitted with color-coded wristbands that let staff members know about risky medical conditions, including allergies.

Metropolitan Hospital Center, part of the city’s Health and Hospitals Corp., rolled out the initiative, called the “Colors of Safety,” as a safety measure. The bands are available in three colors, with each indicating a specific medical condition: Red bands signal allergies, yellow bands warn of a patient’s risk for falling, and purple bands alert hospital staff of the patient’s decision not to be resuscitated.

The initiative, developed with the Greater New York Hospital Association, is part of a national effort to reduce mistakes in hospitals. Eleven other states have similar programs, including California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado, and Arizona.

Doctors Want Insurance Discussed at Special Session

New York doctors are pushing legislators to address the state’s medical malpractice insurance problem during a special legislative session tomorrow, with the Medical Society of the State of New York urging its members to contact their legislators.

Last month, the state’s insurance superintendent, Eric Dinallo, announced he would postpone an expected increase in insurance rates that would have taken effect July 1. But last year, Mr. Dinallo imposed a 14% rate increase that doctors have criticized as unaffordable.

In a statement, the group’s president, Dr. Michael Rosenberg, said it would be appropriate for lawmakers to consider the medical malpractice insurance problem during a special legislative session focused on addressing the state’s budget deficit.

“No health care cost control efforts can hope to succeed unless they address the cancerous medical liability system that is taking billions of dollars away from our health care delivery system,” Dr. Rosenberg said.

N.Y. Needs Thousands More Primary Care Doctors

New York needs 3,434 additional primary care physicians to ensure that state residents have access to primary care, a new study has found.

The study, done by researchers at the National Association of Community Health Centers, the Robert Graham Center, and George Washington University, is based on a plan by a coalition of community health centers to reach 30 million patients who have inadequate or no access to primary care physicians. The plan ultimately seeks to reach 69 million patients.

To meet the 2015 goal, New York needs 1,834 more primary care providers, the study found.

“Too often the debate is just about expanding health insurance,” the chief executive officer of the Community Health Care Association of New York State, Elizabeth Swain, said in a statement. “If every American alive today had health insurance, millions still wouldn’t be able to access” primary care.

Paterson Signs Law Banning Mandatory Overtime for Nurses

Governor Paterson signed legislation banning mandatory overtime for nurses in hospitals to help reduce nurse fatigue and prevent medical errors.

The new law, which takes effect July 1, 2009, does not cap the hours that nurses can work but does prevent health care facilities from requiring nurses to work more than their regularly scheduled hours.

Exceptions can be made if a nurse volunteers to work overtime; when no alternative staffing is available; when a nurse is engaged in an ongoing medical procedure, and in a disaster or emergency.

In a statement, the New York State Nurses Association praised the law, for which it had lobbied. “This is a landmark measure for both patients and nurses,” the union’s chief executive officer and a registered nurse, Tina Gerardi, said.

The New York Sun

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