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Catholic Health World

OCTOBER 1, 2014  |  VOLUME 30, NUMBER 17

Hospitals form a front line against prescription opiate abuse

Hospital administrators

My pain medication was stolen.

I left my pill bottle in another city.

My doctor is on vacation.

Your honor, I have a valid prescription for oxycodone.

Medical professionals who deal with patients pitching for pain-relieving narcotics hear the first three stories all the time. The fourth scenario, uttered by a defendant in the drug court in Racine, Wis., helped to inspire the staff at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare – All Saints hospital in Racine to create an opiate-education program for all of its personnel who can prescribe narcotics.

"The best actors are patients who are trying to scam you," said Dr. David Galbis-Reig, head of the hospital's Opiate Stewardship Committee. "Our goal is to create sound guidelines and alternative treatments so that we aren't overprescribing these medications, or under-prescribing them."

The hospital instituted a mandatory three-session program for all of its prescribers, including staff doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Galbis-Reig said All Saints is encouraging all doctors in its service region to attend them as well.

Abuse of narcotic painkillers is well-documented. So is death by overdose — a threefold increase from 1990 to 2008, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In that same time, the number of opiate prescriptions written increased tenfold.

Senator giving interview
St. Elizabeth's to build replacement hospital in O'Fallon, Ill.

St. Elizabeth's Hospital of Belleville, Ill., plans to build a $300 million, five-story replacement hospital and ambulatory care center in O'Fallon, Ill., which is 7 miles from its current location.

Gathering at cafe
Café offers monthly respite for memory loss patients, caregivers

When caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease, it can be challenging to find a social activity that provides a relaxing opportunity to interact with others without the risk of embarrassment or stigma.

Saint Joseph Mercy Health System in southeast Michigan, part of CHE Trinity Health, provides an option for an afternoon out with its free Joe's Memory Arts Café, which welcomes individuals with dementia and their caregivers each month for a light meal, companionship and an activity focused on art or music.

Dignity Health establishes system-wide foundation to expand programs' impact

Child using enhanced inhaler


It is common for even the largest health systems in the U.S. to concentrate fund-raising and fund-giving activities almost entirely at a local level. This approach has individual hospital foundations building relationships with local givers, securing donations and bequests and hosting fund-raising galas, charity golf games, celebrity appearances and the like.

And this model can be very effective for raising money for building campaigns and new equipment, service expansion and community-focused programs. But it is generally not an effective way to create a reliable income stream for long-lasting initiatives with the potential to impact large populations of people across a big health care system.

Chaplain with nurse
Ministry Health Care provides pastoral education to fill pipeline for chaplaincy jobs


In a rural area where it had been difficult to recruit qualified chaplains, Ministry Health Care in central and northern Wisconsin created its own solution by starting a clinical pastoral education program based out of Ministry Saint Clare's Hospital in Weston.

Hospital executive speaking

Hospital Sisters system acquires Oconto Falls, Wis., hospital

Hospital Sisters Health System of Springfield, Ill., has acquired the Community Memorial Hospital critical access hospital in Oconto Falls, Wis., and has renamed it HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital.

Medical student explains a map

Medical residents and Guatemalan medical students trade places


When two U.S. medical residents traveled in the spring to Santo Tomas in Guatemala, as trailblazers for the new Providence Health & Services Educational Exchange, they learned just how difficult it can be to reach rural populations with health care services.

To get to their base in the small mountain-top town in southwestern Guatemala, the residents flew into Guatemala City, drove three hours on the highway then three hours on mountain roads.

Keeping Up


Peter Banko to senior vice president and group executive officer of the east/southeast division of Englewood, Colo.-based Catholic Health Initiatives and CHI chief integration officer, from president and chief executive of CHI St. Vincent in Little Rock, Ark.

Bill Calhoun to president of St. Elizabeth Hospital, Appleton, Wis., from president of Mercy Medical Center of Oshkosh, Wis., and regional vice president for the Eastern Region of Milwaukee's Ministry Health Care. Calhoun replaces Travis Andersen, who now is president and chief executive of Milwaukee's Columbia St. Mary's.

Jeffrey Dempsey to president and chief operating officer for Mercy St. Charles Hospital of Oregon, Ohio, from vice president of operations for Mercy St. Charles.

Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital draws on God as 'loving support' following shooting


On July 24, Richard Plotts, a psychiatric patient, pulled a gun during his afternoon appointment at a wellness center on the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital campus in Darby, Pa. He shot and killed his caseworker, Theresa Hunt, 53, and wounded his psychiatrist, Dr. Lee Silverman. Silverman returned fire with his own gun, hitting Plotts who was then subdued by a doctor and another caseworker in a hallway. Both Silverman and Plotts survived. Silverman has returned to work and Plotts is being held without bail on multiple charges including murder.

Grant to fund the Hoffman Breast Center at Saint Francis

Saint Francis Hospital & Medical Center in Hartford, Conn., will name its breast health center on Oct. 23 in honor of the Maximilian E. & Marion O. Hoffman Foundation, which has awarded a $1.5 million grant to benefit the center. The grant will be paid over four years.

Sr. Ettling helped empower the poor

Sr. Dorothy "Dot" Ettling, a leader and professor remembered for a legacy of promoting human dignity, died on Sept. 12 at age 74.

Postretirement life includes hospital turnaround 2,700 miles from home


As he prepared to leave his post as chief operating officer of Cincinnati-based Catholic Health Partners at the end of 2010, A. David Jimenez wasn't sure what to call the next phase of his life.

Sylvania Franciscan Health to join CHI

Catholic Health Initiatives and Sylvania Franciscan Health signed a definitive agreement announced Sept. 10 for Toledo, Ohio-based Sylvania Franciscan Health to join Englewood, Colo.-based CHI.

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