All BlueCross Campuses to Go Tobacco-Free Jan. 1 Health Insurance Company to Model Healthy Lifestyle for its Members
CHATTANOOGA — As a commitment to the health and well-being of its employees and customers, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee will implement a tobacco-free policy at all of its properties across the state effective Jan. 1, 2009.
As part of that policy, use of all tobacco products by both employees and tenants will be prohibited within or on the grounds of a BlueCross owned property. Properties impacted by the new policy include those located in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Jackson, Johnson City, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville.
In 2007, BlueCross began offering smoking cessation programs and other educational materials to its employees as a way to ensure a smooth transition to the new policy. Since that time the percentage of employees identifying themselves as tobacco users has dropped and company officials anticipate that number to further decrease.
According to a 2007 survey by the Tennessee Department of Health, one-quarter of Tennessee adults smoke cigarettes. It is the most preventable cause of death in the United States, causing 438,000 deaths annually.
Anderson Receives American College of Physicians Award
CHATTANOOGA — Mark D. Anderson, MD, FACP
, infectious disease specialist and Vice Chief Medical Officer/Chief Quality Officer for Memorial Health Care System, has received the 2008 Volunteer and Community Service Award from the Tennessee Chapter of the American College of Physicians. Anderson was recognized for his exceptional humanitarian efforts and dedication to patients.
The American College of physicians, founded in 1915, is the nation's largest medical specialty organization. Membership comprises 126,000 internal medicine physicians and medical students.
Anderson graduated from the University of Mississippi (Magna Cum Laude) in 1982 and Tulane University School of Medicine in 1986. He served as resident, fellow and clinical instructor at the Naval Hospital in San Diego, CA, after serving as Medical Officer on the USS VANCOUVER from 1989-91. In 1995, Anderson joined the staff of Memorial Health Care System in Chattanooga, where he currently serves as Vice-Chief Medical Officer/Chief Quality Officer. Along with his very busy private practice in infectious diseases, he is also a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the UT College of Medicine, Chattanooga Unit.
Anderson is president of two boards in Chattanooga: The Arts and Education Council in Chattanooga which hosts the Conference on Southern Literature and Culturefest, and The Internal Medicine Education Foundation at UT School of Medicine, Chattanooga Unit.
Erlanger Health System Named One of the Nation's Top Cardiovascular Hospitals by Thomson Reuter's
CHATTANOOGA — Erlanger Health System has been named one of the nation's top 100 Top Hospitals® for cardiovascular care by the Healthcare business of Thomson Reuters.
The annual study - 2008 Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals®: Cardiovascular Benchmarks for Success – examined the performance of 970 hospitals by analyzing clinical outcomes for patients diagnosed with heart failure and heart attacks and for those who received coronary bypass surgery and angioplasties. The 2008 winners were announced on November 17 in Modern Healthcare magazine.
The study, in its tenth year, found that the 100 Top Hospitals cardiovascular award winners, as a group, performed 63 percent more bypass surgeries and 42 percent more angioplasties than peer hospitals. This may suggest that performance by bypass surgery is increasingly performed in centers of excellence.
While the average mortality rate for cardiovascular patients is very low (3.4 percent), the mortality rate for bypass surgery was 26 percent lower in the 100 Top Hospitals cardiovascular winners. The award-winning hospitals demonstrated higher performance on the evidence-based core measures published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and cost $1,542 less per case, on average.
The 100 Top Hospitals study focused on short-term, acute care, non-federal U.S. hospitals that treat a broad spectrum of cardiology patients. Thomson Reuters researchers analyzed 2006 and 2007 Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) data, 2007 Medicare cost reports, and data from other sources. They scored hospitals in key performance areas: risk-adjusted medical mortality, risk-adjusted surgical mortality, risk-adjusted complications, core measures score, percentage of coronary bypass patients with internal mammary artery use, procedure volume, severity-adjusted average length of stay, and wage- and severity-adjusted average cost.
The measures were calculated for three classes of hospitals with the following number of winners in each:
- Teaching with cardiovascular residency programs, 30 winners
- Teaching without cardiovascular residency programs, 40 winners
- Community, 30 winners
Justiniano Joins Parkridge Medical Staff
RINGGOLD,GA — Jose Justiniano, MD, has joined the medical staff of Parkridge Medical Center. Justiniano is a family practice physician at Parkridge Medical Associates of North Georgia, located at 128 Battlefield Crossing Court in Ringgold, Georgia.
Justiniano is a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He completed his residency in family practice at Wilson Memorial Regional Medical Center in Johnson City, New York. He completed his internship in internal medicine at Portsmouth Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia. He is board-certified in Family Practice by the American Board of Family Medicine and is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Memorial Foundation Board Member Receives Meritorious Service Award
CHATTANOOGA — The Tennessee Hospital Association (THA) honored 24 individuals and organizations at its 70th annual meeting in Nashville. Virginia Anne Sharber, former board chair and current board member of the Memorial Health Care System Foundation, was among those recognized by THA with a meritorious service award for governance. These awards recognize leadership and service by individuals in support of their hospitals and health systems.
Virginia Anne Sharber was recognized for being a role model for active community leadership and successful board development at Memorial Health Care System.
Free Online Health Record Launched for BlueCross Medicare Advantage MembersService Helps Seniors Improve Their Health, Increase Satisfaction with Care Experience
CHATTANOOGA — BlueCross BlueShield announces its new online resource designed to provide confidential, personalized attention to each Medicare Advantage beneficiary and allow them to better monitor and manages their care. The personal health manager and its features will be available free to all BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Medicare Advantage members effective January 2009.
Prescription refill reminders, care guides, health risk assessments, printable wallet-sized emergency room information, and drug interaction and symptom checkers are just some of the tools accessible via a secure member Web site.
Members decide which tools are helpful, what types of information and alerts they wish to receive and how involved they want to be. They can even allow the personal health manager to refer them to real people (case managers, disease managers and health consultants) who can help connect them with resources they need to improve their health.
Hutcheson Opens Family Care Office in Tennessee
FORT OGLETHORPE, GA — Officials at Hutcheson Medical Center announce the opening of a new family practice office in Ooltewah, TN. The new Hutcheson Family Care office opened Monday, November 17, 2008 at 1667 Ooltewah-Ringgold Road in the Bi-Lo Shopping Center, Suite 111.
"Recognizing the growth in the Ooltewah/Ringgold Road area," said Charles Stewart, president and CEO of Hutcheson, "we wanted to place a family practice physician here to serve the residents in Windstone, The Meadows and so many other new housing areas. This also represents Hutcheson's first location across the Tennessee state line."
"Dr. Eric Carter, board-certified in family practice, will be located at the clinic and we're in discussions for a second physician. This is an exciting time for Hutcheson," Stewart added.
Carter received his medical degree from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and completed his residency at the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon. He is board-certified in family medicine and has been with Hutcheson's Chickamauga Family Practice since 2001. He is an avid cyclist and speaks Japanese.
The new Family Care office is accepting new patients and appointments Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. However, walk-ins are accepted as well. Their phone number is 423-485-7900.
Erlanger Physician Appointed as Cancer Liaison to the
American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer
CHATTANOOGA — Amar Singh, MD, urologist with Academic Urology, recently received a three-year appointment as Cancer Liaison Physician for Erlanger's cancer program. Cancer Liaison Physicians are an integral part of cancer programs accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC).
Singh is among a national network of over 1,600 volunteer physicians who are responsible for providing leadership and direction to establish, maintain, and support their facilities' cancer program. Singh, who has a significant interest in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with malignant diseases, is a member of the multidisciplinary cancer committee at Erlanger.
Cancer Liaison Physicians are responsible for spearheading CoC initiatives within their cancer program; collaborating with local agencies, such as the American Cancer Society; and facilitating quality improvement initiatives utilizing data submitted to the CoC's National Cancer Database (NCDB). The CoC collects data from its approved cancer programs and provides tools back to these facilities to assist with the analysis of patterns of diagnosis and treatment.
The NCDB currently contains patient demographics, tumor characteristics, treatment, and outcomes information for over 21 million malignant cancers diagnosed and treated at hospital-cancer programs in the United States between 1985 and 2005. This data accounts for approximately two-thirds of newly diagnosed cancers in the U.S. each year. The Cancer Liaison Physician works with the cancer program staff to facilitate the submission, presentation, use and interpretation of NCDB data. Analyzing and sharing this data with the cancer committee can have a positive impact on cancer patient care at the facility.
To help over 1.3 million Americans diagnosed with cancer each year, Cancer Liaison Physicians at CoC-accredited programs also assist with programs participating in the Commission's Facility Information Profile System (FIPS). FIPS is a data-sharing activity between the CoC and the ACS, which provides the public with information about resources, services, and annual cancer caseload at CoC-accredited facilities. The data is shared with the public through the ACS National Cancer Information Center by calling 1-800-ACS-2345 or on the web at www.cancer.org.
The Commission on Cancer is a consortium of 42 professional organizations dedicated to improving the survival and quality of life for cancer patients. The Commission achieves its goal through standard-setting, cancer prevention, research, educational activities, as well as monitoring comprehensive quality care. Its membership includes national organizations representing the full spectrum of cancer care and Fellows of the American College of Surgeons.