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Improving Community Health

Hospitals have long been places people go when they are ill, going to have a baby, or to get a test.   

Not-for-profit hospitals, in order to keep that IRS status, have been required for the past few years to file a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) every three years, along with a plan to address health needs, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. 

Hospitals & Politics

Cartoons are appearing in newspapers depicting a very obese fellow happily smoking a cigar.  He is drawn to represent hospitals and the waste in Medicare.

Hospitals are viewed by many in the public as the bad guys, taking advantage of government programs and not giving enough in return.  Hospitals are also depicted as places where there are errors, leading to injuries to patients and sometimes death.  

Couple this with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's implementation and you have hospitals surrounded by politics.  Some states are refusing the federal government's offer of money for Medicaid expansion, causing more heartburn for hospitals who now pay for uninsured patients coming through the emergency department.

Yet we have dedicated physicians, nurses, techs, clerical workers and administrators working in hospitals and clinics daily to deal with flu patients and others with cardiovascular, orthopedic and a myriad of problems.  We have some of the best medical equipment in the world and the best drugs.

What we do not have is a national system that ties everything together under a single standard.  We do have the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services which keeps tab on the successes and failures of hospitals and other healthcare organizations.  But we still have hospitals within systems with significant variation in operation and care. 

What can we do?  Email us with your suggestions. 

Hospitals & Biotech

When we talk about health care, we usually think of hospitals, physicians, drug manufacturers, medical device manufacturers, and insurance companies.

But there are many others involved in the health care industry.  One of those that need to be more closely associated with hospitals are the biotech companies.  Biotechs are often small companies headed by an entrepreneur who has a patent that he or she is trying to commercialize.

Biotech companies are often associated with universities, including medical schools.  Professors or graduate students may start the company while maintaining their university positions.  Many universities encourage one foot in academia and the other foot in business.  The university benefits since they hold the patents that are developed.

Hospitals have long sought a university connection or, better yet, a connection with a medical school.  That gives the hospital more prestige as a research center and enables the hospital to be ranked by such groups as US News & World Report.

Hospitals need to have a direct connection with biotech entrepreneurs.  Entrepeneurs and hospitals can help identify the most pressing needs of the hospital and physicians -- with hospitals providing support to the biotech companies to create the process or product, get a patent, and then get the patent commercialized.  Get the basic science to the bedside -- the longtime goal of what is called translational research.  Hospitals need to help biotechs find the funding and industry support to get started on this task.