June 2011
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June 2011 posts

Pharmacologic Treatment of Nystagmus in Multiple Sclerosis

At least half of all people with multiple sclerosis (MS) are expected to have nystagmus at some point during the course of their illness. Nystagmus results from demyelination that involves the brainstem or cerebellar eye movement pathways. While it may be asymptomatic, it often causes blurred vision or oscillopsia. The extent of the visual disturbance is directly related to the velocity of the slow phase of the nystagmus.

In MS patients with chronic nystagmus, the most common form is an acquired pendular nystagmus (APN), which is almost always accompanied by optic atrophy, and often by internuclear ophthalmoplegia (INO).

Numerous treatment trials have demonstrated the efficacy of pharmacologic treatment of chronic symptomatic nystagmus. Treatment should be considered in individuals in whom blurred vision or oscillopsia is severe enough to warrant the potential risk of medication side effects. As a general rule, drugs used to treat nystagmus are titrated slowly upwards from a low dose to either efficacy or tolerance.

The two most effective medications for APN in MS are....

Which Swedish/Edmonds Baby is Your Favorite?

Babies are born nearly everyday at Swedish/Edmonds – in fact we had our 60,000th baby born just a few weeks ago. It was quite a milestone in our hospital’s 47-year history. So it’s always an exciting time at our Childbirth Center. Now we have two new reasons to celebrate. Our Childbirth Center is newly redesigned with new flooring, furniture and lighting, and we have a new tour at the hospital – the Have a Happy Birth Day tour. The tour helps women who are newly pregnant or who are considering becoming pregnant learn all about birthing options available at Swedish/Edmonds.

With a new tour and a new look, we’ve invited four of our precious Swedish/Edmonds patients and their parents to celebrate with us. You’ve probably seen their adorable photos on the Have a Happy Birth Day billboards along Highway 99 in Edmonds, Highway 527 in Mill Creek and along the Mukilteo Speedway. There’s nothing like a 14-foot baby to get your attention!

All of our newborns are favorites at Swedish/Edmonds, but we’re wondering which one is your favorite? Which of the four baby billboard photos below makes you smile or maybe inspires you to Have a Happy Birth Day?

Swedish Participates in CorPath PRECISE Clinical Trial and Becomes First on the West Coast to Perform a Robotic-Assisted Coronary Angioplasty

Which car seat should I get?

Picking out a car seat is one of the most daunting chores when having a baby. I can tell you the least important aspect of which car seat to buy is the color. The baby doesn’t care what color, and in a crash it won’t matter.

When expectant parents find out I’m a car seat technician, the most common question is “Which seat should I buy?” I will not deny that car seat technicians all have their favorites. There are some car seats that are easier to install than others, but I am always apprehensive to name a specific seat. There is not one seat that fits every situation. (The examples I have in this post are just examples, not endorsements or recommendations.)

Ease-of-use is a huge selling point. It can mean that parents are more likely to use it properly.

For newborns, there are two ways to go. You can start a baby in either an infant-only/rear-facing only car seat with a carry handle, or you can start them out in a convertible that typically stays in the car and will eventually turn forward-facing.

The features to look for in a car seat for an infant (either type) are:

Swedish Releases Groundbreaking Stroke Study in Journal of Neurosurgery

Issue 7 - Swedish Responds to SEIU Proposal

 Shared Commitment to Patient Safety and Quality is a Common Theme

On Tuesday, June 7, Swedish responded to many SEIU proposals. A number of the proposals were aimed at bringing the RN, Service and Tech contracts into closer alignment. In addition, there were more substantive proposals from the Union around sick time and breaks, which will continue to be discussed at future sessions as we work toward finding a fair and balanced outcome for all who rely on Swedish – our patients, employees and community.

Some of the topics addressed during today’s bargaining session included:

  • Meal and rest periods
  • Rest between shifts
  • Department openings and transfers
  • Annual leave / annual leave scheduling
  • Sick time

Both Swedish and the Union have proposals regarding preceptors and the low census fund on the bargaining table.

Seeking Opportunities to Narrow the Gap
Swedish is working on its economic proposal, and it is our expectation that the discussion on economics will most likely occur at the next full bargaining session on June 21. The Union’s economic proposal, as presented, adds a significant increase to our labor costs. Swedish is still analyzing the impact of the staffing ratios proposed by the union but anticipates that the staffing proposal will also result in additional and substantial increases in labor costs.


The economics are particularly challenging. Swedish needs to reduce operating expenses by $200 million over the next three years and has asked for SEIU to partner with us on determining where we can reduce their fair share of expenses. Swedish is not proposing base wage cuts, and is committed to remaining a leader in wages and benefits. However, we need to narrow the gap between what Swedish offers in terms of pay and benefits and what other hospitals offer so that we can remain financially stable while still providing leading wages and benefits.

Swedish Spends $75 Million More on Wages and Benefits than Other Area Hospitals

The chart below was created from data submitted by area hospitals to the Washington Department of Health (DOH). Each year, DOH gathers information that compares the percentage of all expenses that are utilized for employee wages and benefits. While there are some differences in terms of what is included in the data from each hospital (i.e. some hospitals, like Virginia Mason, employ all of their physicians, thus increasing their percentage), the average percentage spent on wages and benefits at other local independent hospitals is substantially less than Swedish.

Issue 6 - Swedish Looking for a Fair and Balanced Outcome, Despite Uncertainties in the “New Normal” of Healthcare

Swedish answers questions from the Union, clears-up rumors about data and reiterates commitment to remaining a leader in wages and benefits

On Thursday, June 2, Swedish and SEIU resumed bargaining. Swedish answered questions raised by the Union in its May 25 presentation. In general, there were questions about what SEIU 1199NW is calling the “Three I’s,” Issaquah, Investments and Investors, and how these impacts can be factored into Swedish’s presentation. Swedish responded to SEIU’s questions about the “Three I’s,” which we have clarified below:

ISSAQUAH

SEIU: Issaquah will have better patient mix than First Hill, and could positively impact Swedish’s margin, so it should be included in the financial data.

Swedish: Although we hope that the patient mix and volumes will be better at Issaquah as compared to our other facilities, the payor mix is still unknown. We also anticipate that Issaquah volumes may initially negatively impact volumes at our other hospitals. It takes time for new facilities to generate revenue. Both Redmond and Mill Creek are still several months away from the breakeven point but this was expected and planned for.

INVESTMENTS

SEIU: Swedish’s investments should be considered as part of the margin discussion, to provide a truer picture of Swedish’s financial situation.

Swedish: Swedish and SEIU have a philosophical difference on this issue. Swedish does not believe that we should be tapping into our investments, which is the same as our savings account, to cover monthly operating expenses. Our savings are critical to our financial standing, which is one of the most important things rating agencies look at when assessing our financial health. We are dedicated to being fiscally responsible stewards for the organization, and as such, we are committed to maintaining our savings.

INVESTORS
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