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Responses to the Holy Spirit-Geisinger news

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Earlier this week, Holy Spirit Health System and Geisinger Health System announced they're working toward an affiliation.

The story's here, in case you missed it.

Here's what some local health care entities had to say about the news.

• Michael A. Young, president & CEO of PinnacleHealth System

"The local area benefits when health care consumers have choices among high quality hospitals and doctors. The rising cost of health care has led many small and mid-size hospitals to seek a variety of arrangements with larger, better capitalized partners. These associations are part of an ongoing trend. Due to antitrust rules, we could not make an offer to affiliate with Holy Spirit. We wish them the best."

PinnacleHealth entered partnership negotiations with Huntingdon-based J.C. Blair Health System in May.

• William M. Mulligan, vice president of strategic planning and marketing at Good Samaritan Health System

"In this era of health care reform, it has become increasingly apparent that small and mid-size hospitals will need to find partners to address the complex challenges of managing population health. Most health care organizations are evaluating their best options to achieve the size and scale of operations needed to manage these new expectations under health reform. We wish Holy Spirit and Geisinger well as they move forward in developing their new relationship."

Good Samaritan announced in June that it is seeking a strategic alliance.

• Joe Butera, Capital BlueCross spokesman

"As the leading health insurer in Central Pennsylvania, Capital BlueCross values our close working relationship with Holy Spirit Health System. Throughout its five decades as a ministry of the Sisters of Christian Charity, Holy Spirit Health System has been a valued partner. While we do not generally comment on proposed transactions of other entities, we trust that the proposed affiliation with Geisinger Health System that was announced yesterday will be reviewed by the appropriate parties in the normal course of the transaction process.

"Capital BlueCross has always valued its partnerships with key provider organizations like Holy Spirit Hospital and Geisinger Health System, and we will continue to work closely with both organizations for the benefit of our members. Ultimately, our goals remain the same — to improve quality and service, and reduce costs on behalf of our customers. We look forward to continuing our leading edge work in the area of accountable care arrangements wherever possible, advancing our work with our providers to drive improvement in, and access to, the delivery of quality care."

• • •

The good news on wrong-site surgeries is that they continue to decrease in Pennsylvania.

The bad news is — well, let me quote some parts of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority report.

• The patient was marked with an L on the right side and an R on the left side.

• Wrong knee was marked by the surgeon in the holding room. Patient was asked which knee and if it was marked, and the patient stated the wrong knee had been marked. The preceding is an additional report in the database of the patient not telling the physician that the mark was in an incorrect location.

• Another patient's consent form had been mislabeled with this patient's identification label.

• The OR [operating room] nurse aide brought the right chart but the wrong patient to the OR holding area.

• Bixenstine et al. reported that 9.5 percent of surgical specimens were labeled incorrectly with patient identifiers and that 23.8 percent were labeled incorrectly regarding laterality.

• The PPSA has calculated that wrong-site surgery occurred once for every 63,603 OR procedures in Pennsylvania in 2010-2011, the last academic year for which statistics were available.

• • •

On a similar note, PPSA looked at 324 events related to electronic health record software defaults between June 19, 2004, and Feb. 15, 2013. Of those, only four resulted in temporary harm to the patient. Not too bad.

But then there's this: The three most commonly reported sources of those errors were failure to change a default value (128), failure to complete information, causing the system to insert information into blank parameters (16), and user-entered values overwritten by the system (19).

• • •

Some local libraries took part in A Summer "Reid" by perusing and discussing "The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care," by T.R. Reid.

If you'd like to make reading the book a fall project, a discussion guide from Aligning Forces for Quality – South Central PA is available — and consider checking out the related documentary, "The Good News in American Medicine."

Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@cpbj.com

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