CDC’s revised Zika Interim Response Plan (July) states: ”Neither vaccines nor proven clinical treatments are expected to be available to treat or prevent virus infections before local transmission begins within CONUS or Hawaii.”; “Scientific understanding of Zika virus continues to evolve, and new characteristics of the virus and how it is spread may arise.” (A)
“CDC director Tom Frieden has said that the mosquitoes carrying Zika in Miami could be developing resistance. Researchers can project what Zika infection rates will look like in multiple scenarios, but not what will happen if Zika is evolving at the DNA level or if its vectors multiply beyond sex and mosquitoes, both of which are real possibilities.” (B)
The New Jersey and New York Departments of Health Zika pages focus on community awareness, default to CDC, then stop at the door to the hospital ER. (C)
So we are not dealing with Zika “evidenced based medicine” but “best practices” aggregated and amended from Swine Flu, Ebola, Dengue, and other mosquito transmitted viruses.
Examples of some recent news reports make it clear that Zika parameters are changing so quickly, that only medical school affiliated teaching hospitals should be caring for Zika patients.
- “Zika virus infection during pregnancy may be related to a severe birth defect called arthrogryposis, whereby the joints – particularly those in the arms or legs – are deformed. This is the finding of a new study published in The BMJ.” “Researchers focused on seven babies whose mothers were infected with Zika while pregnant. Six of the seven developed microcephaly— the most widely publicized birth defect from Zika— but six also had trouble swallowing, six had clubfoot, five had eye abnormalities, and two needed breathing and feeding tubes.” (D)
- “NEW ORLEANS — Officials at the front lines of fighting the Zika virus are warning residents that mosquitos that carry the disease are already here.” (E)
- “Texas reported its first Zika-related death Tuesday after a baby girl whose mother traveled to El Salvador while pregnant died shortly after birth in a suburban Houston hospital. The girl, who died a few weeks ago, had microcephaly linked to the Zika virus….” (F)
- “In an effort to detect any local transmission of the Zika virus, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said on Tuesday that it had expanded the guidelines on who should be tested for the disease to include anyone with its most-common symptoms.” (G)
- “Amid news of a Zika outbreak in the Miami area, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (FDA-CVM) has cleared the experimental release of genetically modified (GMO) mosquitoes in the Florida Keys to help combat the virus. “ (H)
- “Suncoast Blood Bank announces they are testing all donated blood for the Zika virus. Effective immediately the blood bank will test all donors for the virus.” They say this is a proactive measure to protect the community blood supply.” (I)
- “I got Zika. The US health care system had no idea what to do with me. How do you spell Zika?”I stood at the front desk of a major Washington, DC, hospital last month. I had a head-to-toe rash that developed after I’d returned from the Dominican Republic, where Zika is much more common than it is stateside. The friend I’d traveled with was showing symptoms of the virus. I’d come to the emergency room to find out if I had it too.This was not a question I wanted to hear from the man who was checking me in.But ignorance of what Zika is, and uncertainty about how to deal with it, was common in my quest to get diagnosed — even from parts of the medical community that I expected would know what to do.” (J)
- “On Thursday, scientists described two cases in which the semen of men who contracted Zika in Haiti early this year continued to test positive for the virus, even though it has been six months since they were infected.The semen of one tested positive 188 days after he first experienced symptoms of the illness. Testing on day 181 came back positive for the other man. Both men are still being followed. Previously, the longest period in which evidence of virus was seen in the semen of a Zika-infected man was 93 days.” (K)
- “Until this week, there had been no reported cases of birth defects related to Zika in Canada.Public health officials are releasing no other information about the fetus, including whether or not he or she is alive. It represents the second confirmed case of maternal-to-fetal transmission of the Zika virus in Canada.” (L)
- “U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez can add a personal motivation to his efforts to get Congress to approve federal funding to combat the spread of the Zika virus. Menendez said this week his daughter is five months’ pregnant in Miami with his first grandchild.”(M)
- “Beyond Zika: How Congress Is Flirting With Medical Disaster. The dysfunctional response to the Zika virus lays bare a system that is increasingly ill-equipped to respond to outbreaks.” (N)
- “While the Zika virus has its moment, few people are discussing the problems underlying the worldwide increase in emerging infectious diseases.” (O)
- “Zika fits into the category of unforeseen emerging threats that migrate into new environments where they suddenly pose major hazards to unprepared populations — think severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) or Ebola, for instance. These required “urgent mobilization to protect and manage the introduction of these alien, and dangerous, pathogens,”….(P)
Soooooo……if you are concerned that you may have been exposed to Zika, until there are national protocols in place, bypass your community hospital ER, and go to the nearest medical school affiliated teaching hospital.
EMERGENCY ROOMS are not all created equal! (Q)
Stop the name games! University hospitals and regional medical centers should live up to their billing. (R)
(C) http://www.nj.gov/health/cd/zika/ https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/zika_virus/
Many of you might be familiar with my advocacy for designating Zika Regional Referral Centers. If not see links below.
We don’t know what we don’t know” – The challenge to emergency preparedness….. https://doctordidyouwashyourhands.com/2016/04/we-dont-know-what-we-dont-know-about-zika-1-the-challenge-to-emergency-preparedness/
Former hospital prez says: Designate local Zika centers now. “Medical experts do not know if, or where, or how much, or on what trajectory the Zika virus may spread across the United States.” https://doctordidyouwashyourhands.com/2016/06/former-hospital-prez-says-designate-local-zika-centers-now-medical-experts-do-not-know-if-or-where-or-how-much-or-on-what-trajectory-the-zika-virus-may-spread-across-the-united-states/
Suspending a chicken over your bed could protect against Zika virus and malaria (A) https://doctordidyouwashyourhands.com/2016/07/suspending-a-chicken-over-your-bed-could-protect-against-zika-virus-and-malaria-a/
Zika “panic” – IS YOUR HOME TOWN READY FOR ZIKA?
Note: This blog shares general information about understanding and navigating the health care system. For specific medical advice about your own problems, issues and options talk to your personal physician.
Remember when a hospital was just a hospital, and its reputation spoke for itself? Now we have a plethora of self named healthcare institutions such as clinics, community hospitals, institutes, medical centers, national hospitals, specialty hospitals, and teaching hospitals.
My home state of New Jersey, for example, started with one children’s hospital in Newark, followed by a few more designated under state Health Department competitive certificate-of-need guidelines, followed by a few politically designated by the Legislature, followed by a bunch of sound-alikes such as a “children’s medical center” mischievously bypassing the fact that “children’s hospital” is a legislatively restricted name.
For the most part these appellations are used to define the hospital to its community and publicly compare it most positively to other nearby competitors. However, more and more hospitals are now calling themselves regional medical centers and university hospitals. These are very robust terms, sometimes used interchangeably or together, and imply characteristics such as comprehensive critical-care services, cardiac surgery/interventional cardiology, comprehensive stroke care, an academic environment, the latest cutting-edge technology, and a full-time cadre of 24/7 on-site superspecialist physicians, including intensivists.
And the not-so-subliminal message is that when you are very sick or injured you should bypass your local hospital.
The reality is that in New Jersey a hospital can call itself whatever it wants—there is no name regulation or oversight by state authorities. A few years ago Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital challenged and lost, when St. Peter’s Hospital added “University” to its name. Since then a number of other hospitals have added “University” as well, and more will follow. Certainly this phenomenon is not limited to New Jersey.
The Association of American Medical Colleges states: “Teaching hospitals are providers of primary care and routine patient services, as well as centers for experimental, innovative and technically sophisticated services. Many of the advances started in the research laboratories of medical schools are incorporated into patient care through clinical research programs at teaching hospitals.”
I believe a university hospital/regional medical center should have most of the following characteristics typical to “major league” hospitals:
■ First and foremost, it should have a written affiliation agreement with a medical school that includes the rotation of medical students to the hospital for required third year clinical rotations in internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry and surgery.
■ The hospital should have full-time chairmen in the core clinical departments (e.g., medicine, pediatrics, surgery) selected by a joint hospital-medical school search committee, and not as a reward for seniority or admitting a lot of patients.
■There should be at least three physician residency-training programs under the supervision of the medical school.
■ All physicians teaching students and residents should qualify for faculty appointments at the affiliated medical school.
■ A dean’s committee composed of senior medical and administrative staff from the hospital and school should meet regularly to jointly set strategic priorities and evaluate program efficacy and performance.
■ The hospital’s medical staff bylaws should mandate automatic removal from the staff of any physician who does not achieve board certification after a given period of time, such as five years.
■ The hospital should have at least three state-designated critical-care services such as trauma center, regional perinatal center (high-risk obstetrics), stroke center, children’s hospital or cardiac surgery. There should be full-time intensivists in all ICUs.
■The hospital should be a member of all major statewide multihospital clinical-care quality projects such as the New Jersey Hospital Association’s ICU and pressure-ulcer collaboratives. It should participate in clinical trials that the medical school has undertaken, and be a training site for students in nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy and other health professions.
■It should have a full-time chief medical officer, a senior physician preferably with a master’s degree earned through the American College of Physician Executives (or equivalent) and a chief nursing officer with an appropriate doctoral degree.
■Finally, the hospital’s board, administration and medical staff must have a demonstrable unwavering “safety net” commitment to the medically underserved.
These steps are, of course, easier said than done, so here are some initial steps for the states to consider:
State hospital associations should set up task forces to develop a policy and strategy to make sure hospital names are educational to the public, not exaggerations of capability.
A state could pass a law or the health department could promulgate regulations defining the requirements to be designated a university hospital or regional medical center. These designations should be subject to periodic state review.
Obtaining the appropriate and best hospital care should not be complicated by creative and clever hospital marketing but by easily understandable evidenced-based standards and metrics—and names.
* By Jonathan M. Metsch, Dr.P.H., August 18, 2008 • Modern Healthcare
My first experience with hospital administrative titles was in 1967 as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force assigned to Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center in San Antonio. The Hospital Commander was a physician Brigadier General. That was the only title/ rank that mattered.
Returning to NYC in 1972 a typical hospital had a President & CEO, EVP & COO, and an SVP & CFO.
I was taught that President was a title and CEO was a function, nonetheless over time many hospital leaders started referring to their title as CEO, a trend that continues.
On a rapid trajectory we have seen hospitals become regional hospital systems focusing on becoming integrated health care delivery systems, to mega systems focusing on geographic reach, to super-size systems which have started or taken over medical schools, functioning almost like insurance companies and investment banks.
And with that an explosion of C-Level titles.
But I digress.
So now we have, for example (curated from hospital web sites. Really!)….. Chief Medical Officer, Chief Information Officer, Chief Revenue Officer, Chief Affiliation Officer, Chief Learning Officer, Chief Experience Officer, Chief Managed Care and Business Development Officer, Chief Quality Officer, Chief Development Officer, Chief Public Relations Officer, Chief Procurement Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer, Chief Legal Officer, Chief Corporate Compliance Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Chief Administrative Officer, Chief Nurse Executive, Chief Academic Officer, Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Information Officer, Chief Population Health Officer, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Chief Risk Officer, Chief Investment Officer, Chief Medical Information Officer, Chief Clinical Integration Network Development Officer, Chief Technology Officer, Chief IT Officer, Chief Sustainability Officer.
“We are living in the age of flattening org structures with the hope of making organizations more fair and efficient, yet employees still want to feel important (like they are progressing up the chain). This is the environment where title wackiness is allowed and encouraged to happen.” (A)
“The snag is that the familiar problems of monetary inflation apply to job-title inflation as well. The benefits of giving people a fancy new title are usually short-lived. The harm is long-lasting. People become cynical about their monikers (particularly when they are given in lieu of pay rises).” (B)
“What began with a C-suite of corporate leaders has morphed into a full-fledged assault on traditional chains of command, with a seemingly endless cascade of increasingly specialized, yet amorphous, positions in an unwieldy hodgepodge of matrixed responsibilities. It’s title inflation at its worst and often counterproductive to effective management.” (C)
C-Level titles have become so pervasive in some mega-systems it is unrealistic that they all report to the CEO or COO. So to reflect the operating TO it is likely a new top-tier-title strata will be necessary to explain who is really in charge and has final authority. Starting with something like Deputy CEO which will later become First Deputy CEO and later Senior First Deputy CEO – then similar clarifiers throughout the C-Suite.
Skipping a level up we already see major hospital systems with numerous Presidents presiding over different types of entities (e.g., hospitals, insurance companies, physician practices, imaging & urgi and surgi centers) and again, at some point differentiators will need to be added.
The key to the future might be the designation of a “Chief Corporate Title Tracking Officer”, unless the rumored so-called “C-Level Title Non- Proliferation Treaty” being advanced by some major academic medical centers becomes a reality.
And of course I am guilty too…using four academic titles…Clinical Professor, Preventive Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; Adjunct Professor, Ziklin School of Business, Baruch College, C.U.N.Y.; Adjunct Professor, Rutgers School of Public Health; & Adjunct Professor, Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration.
Former hospital prez says: Designate local Zika centers now
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The following is an editorial submitted by Dr. Jonathan M. Metsch, a health educator and the former CEO of Jersey City Medical Center who is also a Hoboken resident
Medical experts do not know if, or where, or how much, or on what trajectory the Zika virus may spread across the United States. Nor do they know how else Zika might spread besides by certain types of mosquitos and by some types of sexual activity. However, the risks to pregnant women are well documented.
In fact, on Tuesday, a Honduran woman with the Zika virus gave birth at Hackensack University Medical Center to a baby girl with birth defects, and one of her doctors said they appear to be caused by the mosquito-borne virus, according to a story in the New York Times.
Of the more than 500 Zika cases so far in the U.S., all involved people infected in outbreak areas in South America, Central America, or the Caribbean, or people who had sex with infected travelers, the Times reported. The story noted that mosquitoes aren’t yet spreading Zika in the continental U.S., but experts predict small outbreaks are possible as mosquito season heats up.
Yes, it’s true that Zika is different from Ebola. But there are lessons to be learned from the 2014 Ebola scare relevant to planning for Zika. For example, Zika should not be considered treatable at any or every hospital.
According to the federal Center for Disease Control (CDC), “There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat (the) Zika virus.”
One might argue that any hospital can take care of a Zika patient. But since there is no treatment, there’s an elevated risk for microcephaly – a birth defect that leaves babies with malformed heads and brains – and serious possible sequela such as Guillain–Barré syndrome, and since we cannot predict the trajectory or volume of a Zika surge, patients should initially be aggregated to develop evidenced-based care protocols.
The federal government should immediately develop guidelines for Zika regional referral centers (ZRRC)s, followed quickly by the designation of ZRRCs.
If there is no surge as mosquito season spreads across the county and if the severity of index cases is minimal, where to admit Zika patients can be reconsidered. But it would be better to start with robust, focused preparation and adapt to the situation as it actually emerges.
Meeting the virus head-on
In 2014, I suggested several anchor principles for Ebola preparedness in New Jersey, as hospitals of all sizes and scope “marketed” their Ebola readiness, only to learn that it took well over 20/ 25 full time staff to care for one Ebola patient (and 50 in Dallas!).
These recommendations included that every hospital that certified its Emergency Room as ready for Ebola be subject to at least three separate drills using a standardized form, and then be subject to random “secret shopper” inspections; that anyone with a confirmed or suspected Ebola diagnosis be immediately transferred to a regional center hospital designated by national standardized criteria which could demonstrate that it has sufficient nursing staff “volunteers” to care for a least five patients round the clock; and that isolation hospitals be readied for instant activation, whether a closed hospital prepared for Ebola now and standing by, or a “virtual” hospital ready-to-go in military fashion.
Also there was a need to minimize Ebola patients walking into an ER unannounced, and suggested a statewide 800 number be established so patients can call ahead and be transported by a prepared ambulance team and taken to a regional center.
Similar organizing principles are urgently need to be established for tiered Zika hospital preparedness. Here are some thoughts.
1. There should not be an automatic default to just designating Ebola Centers as ZRRCs, although there is likely to be significant overlap.
2. Zika Centers should be academic medical centers with respected, comprehensive infectious disease diagnostic/ treatment and research capabilities, and rigorous infection control programs. They should also offer robust, comprehensive perinatology, neonatology, and pediatric neurology services, with the most sophisticated imaging capabilities (and Zika-related “reading” expertise).
3. National leadership in clinical trials.
4. A track record of successful, large scale clinical Rapid Response.
5. Organizational wherewithal to address intensive resource absorption.
6. Start preliminary planning for Zika care out of the initial designated ZRRCs.
Zika protocols will be templates for are other mosquito borne diseases lurking on the horizon, such as Chikungunya, MERS, and Dengue.
– Jonathan M. Metsch, Dr.P.H.
Clinical Professor, Preventive Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Adjunct Professor, Management, Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College, C.U.N.Y.
Adjunct Professor, Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration & Rutgers School of Public Health
President & CEO, LibertyHealth/ Jersey City Medical Center (1989-2006)
When “googling” for hospital information we often wind up at hospital web sites.
Hospital web sites are marketing based so how does one find and aggregate key elements and then do comparative analysis?
You can use these web sites for this exercise, all hospitals I have been involved with
Jersey City Medical Center (I was President & CEO from 1989-2006) http://www.barnabashealth.org/Jersey-City-Medical-Center/About-Us.aspx
Mount Sinai Hospital (various positions at the medical school and medical center from 1979-1989, leaving as an SVP) http://www.mountsinai.org/?lastName=O
CarePoint Health/ Hoboken (I was on the Board of the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority for three years) https://www.carepointhealth.org/hoboken-university-medical-center#xDk1A
Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center (was part of LibertyHealth with Jersey City Medical Center) http://meadowlandshospital.org/
Ok, let’s get started:
Find ABOUT US. This is the picture painting how the hospital wants to be envisioned.
Find the MISSION STATEMENT, a formal summary of the aims and values of the hospital, as approved by the Board of Trustees and required for accreditation.
Compare ABOUT US and the MISSION STATEMENT. Are they clear and consistent?
Find ACCREDITATION. This gets trickier. A long list of certifications is not in of itself important. What is important is are they evidenced-based, completed by an arms-length review, and for a fixed period of time then must be renewed. You can google the agency and find the methodology used.
Find QUALITY. Again quality recognition awards should be evidenced-based, completed by an arms-length review, and for a fixed period of time then must be renewed. You can google the agency and find the methodology used.
Find AFFILIATIONS. A medical school affiliation is an excellent benchmark, however is it robust or ceremonial?
Go to LEADERSHIP/ BOARD OF TRUSTEES. Are Board member recognized community leaders?
And then go to
HOSPITAL COMPARE https://www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare/search.html At this MEDICARE site you can compare hospital performance metrics.
THE LEAPFROG GROUP http://www.leapfroggroup.org/compare-hospitals an independent organization where you can compare hospital quality metrics
AGENCY FOR HEALTHCARE RESEARCH AND QUALITY http://archive.ahrq.gov/consumer/qnt/qnthosp.htm “How can you choose the best quality hospital for the care you need?”
AVOID for-profit “hospital quality” web sites which sell marketing packages to hospitals which pay to be surveyed!