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TN House Dems Warn of “Fiscal, Moral Disaster” At Years End

Press release from the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus; December 3, 2013:

28 Days until Fiscal and Moral Disaster

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In 28 days, Tennessee’s Republican leadership is poised to make the greatest fiscal, economic and moral blunder in decades. According to reports in the Tennessean, the Governor’s decision to put politics above policy is already resulting in layoffs and hiring freezes in hospitals across the state – a trend that will only worsen as the full impact of Governor Haslam’s decision goes into effect on January 1, 2014.

“The indifference shown by Governor Haslam and Tennessee’s Republican leaders is truly remarkable given the stakes,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner. “There has never been an easier way for the state of Tennessee to improve the lives of its citizens without having to spend a single dime in state funds for years to come.”

When the 2010 Affordable Care Act was passed, hospitals struck a bargain with the federal government that they would forgo money in the form of reimbursements in order to get more patients through the Medicaid expansion. When the Supreme Court left the decision to expand Medicaid up to the states, it created a fiscal disaster for hospitals in states with political leadership too focused on partisanship to put the needs of their people first.

“This Christmas, Governor Haslam has the opportunity to give thousands of working men and women in Tennessee the best gift possible – longer and healthier lives,” said Chairman Turner. “I understand it will be difficult to get the expansion passed in the legislature, but the Governor owes it to the people of our state to try. If he stands by and does nothing, the hospital closures, the jobs lost, and the premature and preventable deaths of Tennesseans will rest squarely on his shoulders.”

Governor Haslam has claimed to be working on a “Tennessee Plan” with the federal government, however, a waiver that would start the process of adopting the plan has not been requested by the Haslam administration. Said Chairman Turner, “Has Governor Haslam reached out to Tennessee’s Congressional delegation with his ‘plan’ in order to help get the approval of HHS? Does he even have a plan to present?”

“People across this state need to understand that if we do not expand Medicaid, their health care options and jobs may be at risk, even if they have private or employer based insurance,” said Chairman Turner. “How many people in our state must suffer so that the Republican leadership can please its Tea Party base?”

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Press Releases

TN Hospitals Doing Well Fighting Surgical Site, Bloodstream Infections

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Health; June 26, 2012: 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Health’s semi-annual report on healthcare associated infections released this week has good news for Tennessee hospitals and their patients. Surgical site and bloodstream infection rates are below the national baseline, providing evidence of progress made by hospitals to keep patients healthy.

“Healthcare associated infections have been among the top ten leading causes of death in the U.S. in the last decade and are a major public health concern” said TDH Commissioner John J. Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “As a physician, I appreciate the level of commitment from hospitals to continually improve processes and procedures to ensure patients don’t acquire or spread infections in a healthcare setting. I’m proud of what is happening in Tennessee and eager to see additional progress through our work with the Tennessee Hospital Association, the Tennessee Center for Patient Safety and other groups and organizations.”

The Tennessee Report on Healthcare-Associated Infections: January 1, 2008 — June 30, 2011, is the fifth review published by TDH since 2010. It presents standardized infection ratios for central line-associated bloodstream infections in intensive care units, long term acute care hospitals and specialty care areas, and for surgical site infections following coronary artery bypass graft and hip prosthesis procedures.

Data are collected using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Healthcare Surveillance Network case definitions. This is the first time hip prosthesis data has been reported publicly by TDH. Additionally, this is the first time TDH has used the SIR, which uses more sophisticated risk-adjustment methods than rates to monitor surgical site infections.

According to Marion Kainer, MD, MPH, director of the TDH Healthcare Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance Program, the recent report points out some impressive aggregate data about what is happening in Tennessee hospitals.

“The report shows infection ratios as much as 48 percent lower than the national baseline in some areas,” Kainer said. “We know the report is an important tool for us to identify what is working well and where we need to improve, and it gives us a perspective of how Tennessee hospitals compare with others across the nation.”

The full Tennessee Report on Healthcare-Associated Infections: January 1, 2008 — June 30, 2011 is available online at http://health.state.tn.us/Ceds/HAI/index.htm.

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. For more information about TDH services and programs, visit http://health.state.tn.us/.