The graduatesBy William Q. HarmonThe St. Joseph Campus of the Stella Maris Polytechnic (SMP), a Catholic run tertiary institution in Monrovia, was last Friday a scene of jubilation when degrees in various academic disciplines were conferred on 452 students who had completed their prescribed courses.The excitement of parents, friends, family and students attending the convocation in the school’s huge, unfinished gymnasium was so intense that it spread outside to the crowds which jam packed the campus. The gym, which is still under construction, will be a state-of the art basketball court.Guest Speaker, the Chair of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority, Angelique WeeksShe described education as the foundation for everything, but said it must go along with the fear of God, patience, dedication and good work ethics. “This is the only way you are going to succeed in life,” she admonished the graduates.
Two business lobbying groups this week called on the Consumer Financial Protection Board to investigate the medical funding industry after a Reuters investigation revealed that private investors are funding operations for women who have sued makers of surgical implants. The American Tort Reform Association and DRI-The Voice of the Defense Bar told Reuters on Tuesday that medical funders take advantage of the people they claim to be helping. (Frankel and Dye, 8/26) Politico Pro: Analysis Casts Doubt On Lower Hospital Readmission Rates In other news – All but one of Connecticut’s acute-care hospitals will lose Medicare reimbursement in 2015-16 as a penalty for high readmissions of discharged patients, new federal data show. The penalties against 28 hospitals mean Connecticut has one of the highest percentages nationally – more than 90 percent — of hospitals facing Medicare reductions. Only the Hebrew Home and Hospital of West Hartford escaped penalties; the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is exempted from the federal program. (Chedekel, 8/26) The Wall Street Journal: Long Island Hospital Posts Doctor Ratings Reuters: U.S. Business Groups Call For Probe Of Medical Funding Industry Long Island Hospital Puts Quality Rankings Of Its Doctors Online Meanwhile, Politico Pro reports on a Health Affairs blog post that questions Medicare’s penalties for hospitals that have high readmission rates, while the Connecticut Mirror notes that almost all of the hospitals within the state took such a hit. Amid a Wild West of consumer-ratings sites, North Shore-LIJ Health System is one of only a few hospitals in the U.S. to take matters into its own hands. The Long Island-based hospital network began posting online ratings of its doctors this week, making it the first such organization in the metropolitan area to do so, hospital officials said. (Ramey, 8/26) The Connecticut Mirror: Almost All CT Hospitals Face Readmissions Penalties This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Hospitals are cheating to avoid the Obama administration’s new readmissions penalties, according to a new Health Affairs post — which the authors say casts doubt on achievements that CMS has been trumpeting for several years. Rather than drastically reducing the number of patients readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge, hospitals instead have been relabeling many of those patient visits as “observation stays” that don’t count toward readmission tallies, the authors argue. Others have been treated in emergency departments, which also excludes them from the count. (Mershon, 8/27)