Stories about: health care reform at children’s hospitals

Home visits for asthma: a win for both patients and payers

Marquis and his mother (middle) received educational home visits from Children’s nurse manager Massiel Ortiz

The journal Pediatrics released a study from Children’s Hospital Boston that shows a preventative approach to treating asthma can keep kids out of the Emergency Department (ED) and save money on health care spending.

The study is based on data collected by Children’s Community Asthma Initiative (CAI), which has been working closely with low-income residents of Boston with asthma since 2005. By sending nurse practitioners and community health workers into the homes of families whose children are frequently hospitalized for asthma, Children’s staff was able to identify asthma triggers in the families’ homes and offer education on avoiding them.

For example, a mother who cleans every inch or her home but then places the broom and duster back in the closet could still be exposing her child to asthma inducing mites. Trained CAI staffers, many of whom have asthma themselves, teach participants the proper way to clean a house to fully remove dust and other potential asthma triggers like pest droppings and mold. The program also provides special coverings for bedding and vacuum cleaners with specific, asthma fighting filters, free of charge.

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The lessons health care can learn from Steve Jobs

By Clement Bottino, MD, Fellow in General Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Boston’s Primary Care Center

Steve Jobs Memorial outside an Apple store. Image flickr/Ron Cogswell

Like many people across the country, I was sad to hear about the passing of Steve Jobs.

I grew up with the technology Mr. Jobs created. My 5th grade final science project entitled “The Moray Eel” was typed on an Apple II computer. My college soundtrack was powered by a first generation iPod and nowadays I keep in touch with my sister who lives in Spain using face-time on my iPad.

The technology Steve Jobs created radically changed how we interact with computers, the way we listen to music, even the way we communicate with each other. Mr. Jobs was an innovator on a grand scale; some say a Thomas Edison or Henry Ford for our time.

Before Mr. Jobs, computers were big, clunky machines. There was no mouse, no desktop, just a solitary green cursor on the lower corner of an empty black screen. You needed to be an expert in the field to use one.

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Children's Hospital Boston visits Washington D.C.

Children’s Hospital Boston employees and families got home from Washington D.C. last night, having just finished participating in Family Advocacy Day. Family Advocacy Day is an annual, national event sponsored by the National Association of Children’s Hospitals that enables children’s hospital patients and their families to make their voices heard to leaders on Capitol Hill.  This year Children’s Family Advocacy Day team consisted of Children’s president and COO Sandra Fenwick, Dennis Rosen, MD, Joshua Greenberg, vice president of Government Relations, Amy DeLong, Manger of Government Relations and Children’s families from Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire. While in D.C. they meet with senators, state representatives and even a few “military officials” left over from the Reagan administration.

Stars Wars characters were on hand for FAD 2011 because child actor Max Page (who played a young Darth Vader in a recent Super Bowl commercial and also is a patient at Children's Hospital Los Angeles) delivered a speech.

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Globe article on the cost of care at Children's

MandellA Boston Globe article this morning brought the cost of care here at Children’s Hospital Boston into question, saying, among other things, that “Children’s charges the highest fees for both outpatient and inpatient care.” It’s based on data by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (HPHC) that we don’t feel accurately reflects the care that we provide.

While the writer, Liz Kowalczyk, did say that because about 30 percent of our patients are on Medicaid, we have to “make up the lost revenue from private insurers,” I don’t think she went far enough in explaining why our costs tend to be higher than other hospitals in the state.

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