Category Archives: health care

Contaminated Devices Putting Open-Heart Surgery Patients at Risk

CDC encourages hospitals to take action, advises patients to seek care if ill 

diagram of heater cooler deviceThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning healthcare providers and patients about the potential risk of infection from certain devices used during open heart (open-chest) surgery.

doctors in operating roomPatients who have had open heart surgery should seek medical care if they are experiencing symptoms associated with infections, such as night sweats, muscle aches, weight loss, fatigue, or unexplained fever. This advice follows new information indicating that some LivaNova PLC (formerly Sorin Group Deutschland GmbH) Stöckert 3T heater-cooler devices, used during many of these surgeries, might have been contaminated during manufacturing, which could put patients at risk for life-threatening infections.

View additional information here:


Statement by DHMC CEO on Psychiatric Services

dr.weinsteinStatement by Dr. James N. Weinstein, CEO and President, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, concerning the contract to provide clinical and administrative psychiatric services to the State of New Hampshire:

“I have heard loud and clear the concerns expressed by the Governor, the Commissioner of Health and Human Services, and the Executive Council about our recent announcement of potential layoffs at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and their effect on the care we deliver at New Hampshire Hospital today and have promised to deliver under the terms of the newly awarded state contract.

“Let me be equally clear and emphatic: there is absolutely no connection between the employment actions we are taking at DHMC and our Clinics and our work at New Hampshire Hospital, the Sununu Youth Services Center, the GlencliffHome for the Elderly, and every other service area in the contract. Our commitment is strong and steadfast. The workforce reductions being contemplated will not affect our performance under this contract. We have worked diligently to fully staff all service areas under the contract and there will be no layoffs in those areas.  To the contrary, we continue to recruit and build our efforts to address mental health issues across New Hampshire, including leading the initiative to build an integrated delivery network for behavioral health for the region.

“I look forward to working in partnership with the State, not just to provide the highest quality care under our contract, but to ensure that we are meeting the health needs of all the citizens we serve together.”

Opiate Laws Have Little Effect on Disabled

dartmouth instituteLebanon, NH (June 22, 2016) — A new study by researchers from The Dartmouth Institute of Health Policy and Clinical Practice and UCLA School of Law found state laws aimed at curbing prescription opioid abuse have had no measurable effect on opioid use by a vulnerable population with high rates of use.

Responding to a fourfold rise in death rates between 2006 and 2012, states collectively enacted 81 laws restricting prescribing and dispensing of prescription opioids. Jill Horwitz, PhD, JD, said “states hoped passing a range of laws might help.  So they are enacting small fixes — forbidding patients from “doctor-shopping,” and requiring doctors to use tamper-resistant prescription forms. They are also implementing major efforts such as prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) — online databases that allow law enforcement and clinicians to monitor prescriptions.”

The researchers analyzed the effects of these laws on prescription opioid use in a national population of 2.2 million disabled Medicare beneficiaries ages 21 to 64.  Their analysis revealed no significant association between state laws and hazardous prescribing patterns, such as, very high daily opioid doses (equal to 120 mg or more of morphine) and rate of nonfatal overdose. States introducing multiple laws (three or more from 2006-2012) experienced lower growth in the population receiving opioids chronically, or from multiple prescribers, but the impact was small and not statistically significant.

“We studied a particularly vulnerable population, disabled Medicare beneficiaries. They have higher rates of opioid use, poverty and complex medical conditions compared to the general U.S. population,” said Dartmouth Institute Professor Ellen Meara, PhD, the study’s lead author. “Because of their high rate of death from prescription opioid overdose, they could have benefited from effective regulation.” *(In 2008, death rates from prescription opioid overdose in the study sample were nearly 10 times the U.S. rate: 46.6 versus 4.8 per 100,000.) Continue reading

New London Hospital Trustees Vote to Close Clough Extended Care Center

New London HospitalNew London, NH – New London Hospital Trustees have voted unanimously to begin the process of closing the William P. Clough Extended Care Center. This decision has come after a lengthy review over nearly two years of both current operations and a variety of alternative future operating scenarios, including potential partnerships with Dartmouth-Hitchcock and other entities. Dartmouth-Hitchcock leadership has been kept apprised throughout New London Hospital’s process of deliberating the future of the Clough Center, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health (the Hospital’s parent company) has approved the New London Hospital Board’s decision. Continue reading

Valley Regional to Offer Services at Newport Health Center

newport health centerNew London Hospital and Valley Regional Healthcare of Claremont are strengthening their commitment to accessibility of -quality patient care in Newport NH. The construction of the Newport Health Center is scheduled to open in October. The Health Center includes space that is leased to Valley Regional Healthcare for several of its primary care providers.

New London Hospital President and CEO Bruce P. King said they want all patients in Newport and beyond to receive the high quality, close-to-home care they need to stay healthy, regardless of who delivers that care.

Peter J. Wright, Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) and, President and CEO of Valley Regional Healthcare agrees. Wright said they look forward to partnering in providing care in the Newport Health Center. Noting the modern medical space will enhance the community and the care experience in the region.

Primary Care Physicians operated by Valley Regional on Main Street in Newport will continue to provide services at that location.

Re Vaccination Needed for Over 800 Children

apdAlice Peck Day (APD) Hospital is offering over 800 children free re vaccinations after a problem with refrigeration was discovered. Officials at APD said in a press release that they could not guarantee that all pediatric vaccines given from September 2, 2014, to October 23, 2015 are effective since the vaccines require constant refrigeration within a particular temperature range in order to maintain effectiveness. Hospital officials are offering to revaccinate affected patients at no charge. Further information, including answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs), is available at APD’s website ( or by calling a staff member dedicated to answering questions about this issue at (603) 442-5610. Appointments for revaccination can be scheduled by calling (603) 442-5602.


Violations Found at Mt. Ascutney Hospital

mt. ascutney hospitalalA State inspection at Mount Ascutney Hospital in Vermont revealed numerous lapses in patient care and record keeping practices.
According to the Valley News and Becker’s Hospital Review, the Dec. 9 inspection showed the hospital failed to take adequate measures to prevent a terminal cancer patient from falling six times in six weeks and did not document four of the falls.
The hospital also failed to determine the risks of a fall in a stroke patient and failed three times to document the need for restraints. A third patient incident in the report said the hospital did not put a care plan in place according to the wishes of the patient admitted in November who was treated for heart failure. Nothing in the care plan indicated the patient was transitioned receive only comfort measures during his final days.
Mt. Ascutney Hospital has made a plan for correction. Under the plan, the hospital has committed to beefing up care planning, assessments of patients’ fall risks, training and record keeping when falls occur or restraints are used.

Newport Approves Ambulance Cost Increase

Newport nh mapJust like other medical cost, ambulance costs are going up. That is for those using Newport Ambulance Service starting January 1, 2016. The Newport Select Board voted unanimously on Monday night to raise the cost charged to individuals by 28 percent for residents. Non-residents will see a 32 percent increase. Resident rates would be for anyone living in the town of Newport or with the towns of Goshen or Croydon who contract Newport’s services. There has not been an increase for the last three years and Medicare has been paying less for the service leaving a deficiency in the rates. The patients billing address will determine if they are charged as a resident or nonresident.

DHMC’S CEO Makes Becker’s 100 List

dr.weinsteinCongratulations to James Weinstein, DO CEO of Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon who was recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review 100 List. The list features 100 hospital and health care system presidents and CEOs who hold medical degrees. Leaders were selected for the list based on editorial judgment, discretion, and nominations.

Also on the list from NH are Richard Boehler, MD President and CEO of St. Joseph Healthcare in Nashua and Joseph Pepe, MD President and CEO of Catholic Medical Center Healthcare System in Manchester.

New Chief of Surgery Named for DHMC

wongDr. Sandra L. Wong has been named Surgery Chief at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine. Dr. Wong is the William W Coon Collegiate Professor of Surgical Oncology and an Associate Professor of Surgery. Wong also serves as the Associate Chair for Clinical Affairs for the Department of Surgery and as an Associate Chief of Staff for the University of Michigan Hospital. She will begin her position at DHMC on October 26, 2015.

Dr. Wong will oversee 13 specialty sections within the Department of Surgery at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. She will also be responsible for surgical care delivery across all Dartmouth-Hitchcock practice locations, regional affiliates and partner Accountable Care Organizations.