A health industry report published Thursday suggests federal programs that tie hospital quality scores to Medicare reimbursements are giving St. Louis hospitals a reason to improve.
Seventeen St. Louis area hospitals received bonus payments this year from Medicare thanks to programs in the Affordable Care Act that reward hospitals for providing a high quality of care. At the same time, 25 were penalized for low scores, high readmission rates or failing to improve between 2011 and 2012.
With the clear, warm weather of summer, more St. Louisans of all ages are taking to the streets and the sidewalks on foot and by bike. The city has plans in the works to make walking, biking and running easier, from Complete Streets to separated bike lanes.
“I think overall we have great facilities in St. Louis and there has been a lot of improvement in the five years that I’ve lived here,” said Aaron Hipp, assistant professor of social work at Washington University in St. Louis. His research evaluates how built communities affect the activity and health of those who use them.
Randa Herman of Marion, Ill., always knew something was wrong. Her menstrual period came late and wasn’t regular. She had extra hair growth where there wasn’t supposed to be any, and acne after adolescence.
Eventually, Herman discovered her troubles were caused by Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and found her way to Dr. Valerie Ratts' office at Washington University’s School of Medicine.
With this winter’s prolific snowfalls, slippery streets and biting cold aren’t the only dangers to be concerned about. According to cardiologist Andrew Kates, people should also think twice about shoveling snow if they aren’t accustomed to exercise. That’s because shoveling snow can cause heart attacks.
When Reggie Rideout's daughter Maya was born seven years ago, she weighed just 1 lb. 15 oz.
"I was aiming for a St. Patrick's baby and ended up with a Christmas baby," said Rideout. Her daughter was born at 27 weeks. “I was just so unprepared. And I’m a planner....All of a sudden, not only are you not pregnant anymore, but your baby is very sick.”
Despite Maya's tough start, she is doing well now. "She's a first-grader. She's healthy and intelligent. You would never look at her and know she was born actually a little over three months early," said Rideout.
A disproportionate number of African Americans in St. Louis live in poverty and lack a high school education. African-American St. Louisans also have a higher death rate than white St. Louisans. According to a multi-disciplinary study currently under way in St. Louis, there is a connection between the two trends.