Around the nation: Cities band together to negotiate with hospitals

Bite-sized hospital and health industry news

  • Maryland: Surgeons from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine plan to perform the first-ever penis transplant in the United States within the year on a soldier who was injured in Afghanistan. The surgical team believes that the transplanted organ will be able to function within months. Between 2001 and 2013, more than 1,300 men in military service have suffered genital injuries, which often aren't discussed due to embarrassment and stigma. There is only one documented example of a successful penis surgery—in South Africa last year—and Hopkins doctors will perform up to 60 transplants before deciding whether to consider the surgery a standard treatment (Grady, New York Times, 12/6).

  • Massachusetts: Partners HealthCare CEO and President David Torchiana recently defended concurrent surgeries, which have come under scrutiny after a feature article in the Boston Globe. According to Torchiana, the practice likely saved lives after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing when the trauma center "opened up rooms and did a bunch of surgeries simultaneously." Concurrent surgeries are common at teaching hospitals, he says, and important for surgical residents' training (Bartlett, "Health Care Inc.," Boston Business Journal, 12/4).

  • Texas: Dozens of North Texas municipalities, representing about 40,000 employees, are requesting that hospitals submit bids to cover the cost of city employee health care indexed to federally controlled Medicare prices. Dallas is spending $129 million this year on health costs, according to officials, which are inflating roughly 10% every year. Baylor Scott & White, one of the organizations named, has said it is open to a conversation, but will not submit a bid. Other hospitals have not yet responded to the request (Landers, Dallas Morning News, 12/6).

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