December 18, 2009
Supply chain ‘hall of fame’ welcomes 3 to Board
Three prominent healthcare supply chain executives from nationally recognized healthcare provider organizations joined the Board of
Directors of Bellwether League Inc., the supply chain “hall of fame.” The three newest members of Bellwether League Inc.’s Board are Vance
B. Moore, president, Resource Optimization & Innovation, a division of the Sisters of Mercy Health System, Chesterfield, MO; James R.
Francis, chair, supply chain management, and chief supply chain officer, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN; and Jean M. Sargent, director, supply
chain, USC Health Sciences, Los Angeles, CA.
Moore expressed his appreciation of and enthusiasm for the talent and history behind Bellwether League Inc. and said he looked forward to
helping the organization grow in the future.
“I am big supporter of Bellwether League Inc.’s mission because when I migrated into the healthcare industry it was difficult for me to identify
true healthcare supply chain mentors – past or present,” Moore said. “Bellwether League Inc. shines a bright light on true pioneers and
innovators of the healthcare supply chain and provides both recognition of the brave and direction for those aspiring to their path.”
Moore joined ROi in April 2002 after 17 years in the healthcare industry working with such companies as Baxter International, Allegiance
Healthcare Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and the healthcare division of UPS Logistics Group. His career has included operational and sales
roles in healthcare manufacturing, distribution, consulting, third-party logistics and currently provider operations. At ROi, Moore leads supply
chain management organization that handles group contracting, clinical and operational consulting, pharmaceutical repackaging, custom
procedure tray manufacturing, print operations and distribution and transportation management.
“Healthcare supply chain is often a thankless career,” Moore continued. “Success is often defined by the elimination of problems before
anyone knows of a problem. Bellwether League Inc. provides a method to recognize the body of work by true leaders that consistently
executed acts of heroism often out of the limelight. It is great that we finally have an organization that has authentic appreciation for true
leaders in this arena.”
James R. Francis joined Mayo Clinic in June 1999 as the senior executive who spearheads the organization’s overall supply chain
management strategic direction. He also directs Mayo Clinic’s more than $1.8 billion expense stream for supplies, purchased services and
capital medical equipment, as well as $40 million in annual operating expenses.
“The time for leadership in healthcare supply chain management has never been greater, given current economic challenges and potential
healthcare reform,” Francis said. “Bellwether League Inc. recognizes such pioneers for their leadership and work that has contributed greatly
to the advancement of supply chain management in healthcare. I am honored to have been selected to serve on the Board of Directors of
the Bellwether League Inc. and look forward to contributing to the fine work of this group in recognizing such contributions.”
Prior to Mayo Clinic, Francis spent six years as the vice president of material services at BJC HealthCare, St. Louis. Before that he served in
a variety of roles with increasing responsibilities at St. Louis-based Christian Health Services starting in 1984. Before CHS became part of
BJC, he was vice president of corporate services for the company.
With more than three decades of experience in central service/sterile processing and distribution and supply chain management, Sargent
currently serves as director of supply chain at University of Southern California (USC) Health Sciences.
Jean Sargent also is a past president of the Association for Healthcare Resource and Materials Management (AHRMM) of the American
Hospital Association (AHA), a long-time editorial advisory board member of Healthcare Purchasing News and is active in two other
organizations working to advance excellence and improve patient care and safety through the healthcare supply chain: Strategic
Marketplace Initiative (SMI), a consortium of healthcare business executives united to reengineer supply chain operations and the GS1
Healthcare US initiative, a group striving to accelerate the adoption and implementation of uniform standards and practices by all trading
partners in the supply chain to reduce inefficiencies, errors and costs, and improve patient safety.
“I am honored to be elected to Bellwether League Inc.’s Board of Directors,” Sargent said. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to
collaborate with such a prestigious group of individuals committed to recognizing those who have led the way in healthcare supply chain.”
For more information, to become a corporate or individual sponsor or to nominate honoree candidates visit Bellwether League Inc.’s Web
site at www.bellwetherleague.org.
Swine flu means killer winter influenza may not come
Seasonal flu, which annually kills 30,000 Americans 65 and over, may not appear in the U.S. for the first time in more than 40 years,
crowded out by the swine flu pandemic and mass vaccination campaigns. Seasonal strains are almost nonexistent in reports from countries
where swine flu, or H1N1, has taken hold. In the U.S. and Europe, 99 percent of influenza cases tested last week were H1N1, according to
government reports. Seasonal versions of virus that usually arrive in December and peak in February may not emerge at all, said Marc
Lipsitch, a flu tracker at the Harvard School of Public Health, in Boston.
One of the seasonal strains most likely to appear this year, known as type B, was responsible for 7 of 478 positive cases in a testing sample
for the week ended Dec. 5, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A second form, H3N2, hasn’t been spotted at
all. Neither seasonal strain emerged after H1N1 struck in the Southern Hemisphere, where the winter flu season ended in September,
according to the World Health Organization in Geneva.
Swine flu infection rates decreased in each of the last six weeks, the Atlanta-based CDC reported. That has spurred a debate among health
officials on whether the H1N1 pandemic is grinding to a halt, and whether that strain will be replaced by a surge of seasonal cases as the
Northern Hemisphere enters winter.
H1N1 infected 50 million people in the U.S. and killed an estimated 10,000 through Nov. 14 from the start of the pandemic in April, the CDC
reported last week. About 90 percent of swine flu deaths were among people younger than 65. With seasonal flu, the effects are reversed,
with more than 90 percent of annual deaths among those ages 65 or older, according to the CDC.
Influenza is notoriously difficult to predict, said Thomas Frieden, the CDC director, in a conference call today. A dozen scientists surveyed by
the CDC were split on the likelihood of a wave of new cases of either type of flu in January, when children return to school from winter
recess. Eight flu researchers surveyed by Bloomberg were similarly divided, though most agreed this year’s worst flu days are over. With
each week that goes by without seasonal flu, the possibility of widespread outbreaks diminishes, said Arnold Monto, professor of
epidemiology at University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor.
Scientists aren’t sure exactly how some flu strains can crowd out others, said William Schaffner, chairman of the department of preventive
medicine at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, and an outside adviser to the CDC on vaccine policy. One theory involves the receptors
where flu viruses attach themselves to lung cells. When a person catches the flu, the virus infects almost all of the exposed lung cells and
occupies those receptors, Schaffner said in a Dec. 11 telephone interview. When a different virus comes along, it has nothing to attach to
and is “crowded out,” he said. Visit Bloomberg for the article.
MRSA leads to worse outcomes, staggering expenses for surgical patients
Post-surgical infections significantly increase the chance of hospital readmission and death and cost as much as $60,000 per patient,
according to Duke University Medical Center researchers who conducted the largest study of its kind to date.
"We conducted a multi-center study of multiple surgical procedure types among 659 patients to determine clinical and financial outcomes of
surgical site infections that are directly attributable to MRSA (methicillin-resistant Stapylococcus aureus)," said Deverick J. Anderson, MD,
MPH, an infectious diseases specialist at Duke University Medical Center and lead author of the study. "We found the impact of methicillin-
resistance on surgical patients is substantial and that preventing a single case of surgical site infection due to MRSA can potentially save
hospitals as much as $60,000."
Previously published research on surgical site infections provided conflicting conclusions. For the Duke study, researchers looked at the 90-
day postoperative period for patients over a five-year period in one tertiary care center and six community hospitals in the Duke Infection
Control Outreach Network (DICON). The researchers compared hospital readmission, mortality, length of hospital stay, and hospital charges
for patients in three groups. Some had surgical site infections due to MRSA, some were infected with methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus
aureus (MSSA), and some were uninfected.
The study evaluated deep-incision and organ/space infections, which are more severe than superficial infections at the site of incision. The
findings are published in PLoS ONE.
"We found that patients with surgical site infections due to MRSA were 35 times more likely to be readmitted and seven times more likely to
die within 90 days compared to uninfected surgical patients," Anderson said. "These patients also required more than three weeks of
additional hospitalization and accrued more than $60,000 in additional charges."
The researchers found most of the outcomes for MRSA compared to MSSA were worse, as anticipated; however one finding was surprising,
according to Anderson. "Our findings show that methicillin-resistance contributed to longer hospital stays and increased hospital charges but
did not increase the risk of mortality," he said.
The data shows that patients with surgical site infections due to MRSA compared to MSSA on average required six more days of
hospitalization and incurred $24,000 in additional charges.
"For the seven hospitals we looked at, the total estimated cost resulting from surgical site infections due to MRSA was more than $19
million," Anderson said. "That's a staggering amount, which demonstrates an area of cost-saving potential for these institutions and other
The Duke study provides the first cost impact data tied to post-surgical MRSA infection in a large group of hospitals. "Given our estimated
cost of one MRSA case, we can conclude that a $60,000 intervention to prevent even one of these infections would be cost-effective for an
institution," Anderson said. "With this new financial data, greater emphasis should be placed on an effort to design and evaluate specific
preventative interventions." Visit Duke for the article.
Advisers on vaccines often have conflicts, report says
A new report finds that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did a poor job of screening medical experts for financial conflicts
when it hired them to advise the agency on vaccine safety, officials said Thursday. Most of the experts who served on advisory panels in
2007 to evaluate vaccines for flu and cervical cancer had potential conflicts that were never resolved, the report said. Some were legally
barred from considering the issues but did so anyway.
In the report, expected to be released Friday, Daniel R. Levinson, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services,
found that the centers failed nearly every time to ensure that the experts adequately filled out forms confirming they were not being paid by
companies with an interest in their decisions. The report found that 64 percent of the advisers had potential conflicts of interest that were
never identified or were left unresolved by the centers. Thirteen percent failed to have an appropriate conflicts form on file at the agency at
all, which should have barred their participation in the meetings entirely, Levinson found. And 3 percent voted on matters that ethics officers
had already barred them from considering.
The inspector general recommended that the centers do a far better job of screening. In a reply, the agency’s new director, Dr. Thomas R.
Frieden, agreed. “Since the period covered in this review, CDC has strengthened the financial disclosures and conflict-of-interest process by
instituting improved business processes and realigning responsibilities and oversight,” Dr. Frieden wrote.
As numerous medicines have been pulled from the market in recent years, worries have grown that experts may be recommending medical
products — even ones they know to be unsafe — in part because manufacturers are paying them. As a result, government agencies,
medical societies and medical journals have become increasingly insistent that experts disclose potential conflicts. And while the experts
invariably insist that they have done so, government audits routinely find large gaps between these disclosures and the experts’ actual
income from consulting.
Congress tightened the rules on outside consulting after similar conflicts were found among members of advisory panels to the Food and
Drug Administration. But little attention has been paid to the potential conflicts of advisers to the CDC, even though that agency’s committees
have significant influence over what vaccines are sold in the United States, what tests are performed to detect cancer and how coal miners
Most of the advisers identified by Levinson had either a job or a grant from a company or other entity whose interests were affected by the
committees’ discussions, and a considerable number also owned stock in such companies, the report said. Visit the New York Times for the
Philips Respironics homecare ventilator receives air travel clearance
Royal Philips Electronics has announced that the Trilogy100 portable homecare ventilator has been certified for use by patients traveling
aboard commercial airlines taking off or landing within the United States. The Trilogy100 life-support ventilator passed Section 21, Emissions
of RF Energy in accordance with RTCA/DO-160F testing required of electronic devices intended for in-flight use. The certification is
compliant with the Air Carriers Access Act and the Department of Transportation's Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel
policy. The Trilogy100 ventilator passed the electronic emissions test while operating both on internal and external power sources.
Patients traveling with Trilogy100 may be required by their airlines to produce evidence of RTCA/DO-160F certification and to comply with
other requirements for traveling with medical devices such as Trilogy100. An electronic version of the Trilogy100 certification is available on
the product website at www.philips.com/trilogy100. Go to the link, Air Travel Certification. Patients should check with their airlines regarding
the certification and other policies before attempting to fly with the Trilogy100 ventilator.
Developed to meet the needs of a wide range of patients, the Trilogy100 life-support ventilator offers both volume- and pressure-control
ventilation for adult and pediatric use (> 11 lb) with features intended to help caregivers and clinicians administer patient care in the home
and alternative care settings such as skilled nursing facilities. The ventilator includes detachable, internal, and external power options. The
detachable battery is small and light (approx. 1 lb), can power the ventilator for up to three hours, and can be quickly changed while the
device is operational.
San Francisco mayor backs mandatory cell phone radiation labels
San Francisco’s Department of the Environment is currently considering a controversial proposal that would require all cell phone retailers to
label the devices with the level of radiation that they emit, according to a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom also backs the measure, despite the fact that the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC)
insistence that any cell phone legally sold in the U.S. is completely safe for use. If the measure passes, it would be the first of its kind in the
nation. "The information exists, but not at the point of sale," he said. "If we prevail, and I believe we will prevail, other cities will follow suit."
Though the FCC has already adopted limits for safe exposure to radiation from cell phones, calculated in units called a Specific Absorption
Rate, Newsom and others point to recent studies that have found increased rates of brain tumors and salivary gland tumors on the side of
the face where the user typically puts his/her cell phone. Unlike previous studies, these newly released studies look at cell phone use over
the long term by examining radiation effects of people using cell phones for more than 10 years.
Despite the recent studies, the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, a trade group that represents cell phone companies,
maintains that cell phones are safe. John Walls, vice president of public affairs for the trade group, released a statement reading in part,
"CTIA and the wireless industry have always been guided by science, and the views of impartial health organizations. The peer-reviewed
scientific evidence has overwhelmingly indicated that wireless devices do not pose a public health risk."
Earlier this year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a national nonprofit research and advocacy organization, conducted its own
study on radiation in cell phones. Based on the information it found, the organization believes that consumers have a right to know how much
radiation that their cell phone emits. On the EWG Web site, it's stated that “We at Environmental Working Group are still using our cell
phones, but we also believe that until scientists know much more about cell phone radiation, it’s smart for consumers to buy phones with the
Since the U.S. government doesn’t currently require that cell phone companies label their products’ radiation output, the EWG recently
created its own online guide to cell phone emissions, which covers more than 1,000 phones currently on the market by brands such as
Motorola and Samsung. The guide also includes the 10 best phones for low radiation emissions. Visit EWG for the guide.
The legislation that Mayor Newsom supports would require that cell phone retailers display the SAR level next to each phone in a font at
least as large as the price and provide information about what SAR values mean. The Department of Public Health would monitor stores'
compliance and could levy fines to those that don’t comply. The final measure, currently being discussed by the environmental department,
would need approval at the Board of Supervisors to become law. Visit MNN for the article.
Almost 60 million people went without coverage at some point, CDC says
Nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population — or almost 60 million — went without health insurance at some point since January 2008,
according to government estimates released Wednesday. The analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention comes as
Democratic senators wrestle to pass their version of health reform legislation before the end of the year to help make good on President
Barack Obama's top domestic goal of overhauling the nation's $2.5 trillion healthcare system.
Much of the focus so far has been on how to expand access to health insurance in a nation where coverage is closely tied to employment
but 10 percent of the work force in unemployed. More than 45 million people are uninsured. While the CDC's findings largely backed that
figure, they also found 58.4 million lacked coverage at some point in the year prior to the survey, while 31.9 million — or nearly 11 percent —
did not have insurance for more than a year.
Two-thirds of those who did not have coverage for at least part of the time were unemployed working-age adults. Those most likely to lack
health coverage were Hispanics, men and young adults ages 18 to 24, the CDC found.
At a time when much of the debate on the Senate bill has focused on its inclusion of a government-run "public option" insurance plan, the
CDC found 20 percent of children and adults age 64 or younger are already covered by government health programs.
One bright spot in the report: more children received health coverage, largely through the government. The number of children enrolled in
government health insurance programs also rose from 34.2 percent in 2008 to 37.4 percent in the first half of 2009, according to the study.
Overall, 8.2 percent of children still lack healthcare coverage, it found. Visit MSNBC for the story.
MedAssets awards agreement to Innovative Healthcare
MedAssets Supply Chain Systems has awarded a new agreement to Innovative Healthcare Corporation for medical gloves, cleansing body
wipes and SOX patient footwear. Innovative Healthcare Corporation has been providing high quality and cost effective healthcare products
for over twenty years, including a complete line of latex, nitrile, vinyl and new synthetic medical gloves, both exam and surgical, sterile and
non sterile. Additional products include cleansing body wipes, protective apparel, procedure and surgical masks and patient friendly SOX
footwear. Visit www.ihcsolutions.com for more information.