Kaiser Health News

Patients rate hospitals in the Carolinas as good but not great. That's according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of the federal government's new star ratings based on patient surveys.

Medicare didn't give a single hospital in North Carolina or South Carolina the lowest rating (one star), and there weren't a lot of five-star hospitals, either.

Carolinas HealthCare System is eliminating its number two executive's job as part of cost-cutting measures. The Charlotte-based system announced Tuesday that Chief Operating Officer Joe Piemont will lose his job at the end of May.

pat mccrory
Governor's office

State lawmakers began digging into the details of Governor Pat McCrory’s budget today as did state agencies, lobbyists and, reporters too. McCrory plans to pay for raises for all state employees in part by cutting funds to the UNC system. But his budget includes plenty of other cuts and additions large and small. WFAE’s Lisa Miller joined Mark Rumsey to discuss some of them.

North Carolina health officials say they inadvertently disclosed the personal information of almost 49,000 children receiving Medicaid coverage.

The state Department of Health and Human Services said Friday night that nearly 49,000 Medicaid cards showing the children's names, Medicaid identification numbers, dates of birth and primary care physicians were mailed December 30th to the wrong people. Spokesman Ricky Diaz said officials were informed of the problem Thursday and provided public notice as quickly as possible. The department is investigating.

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control warned us about the spread of a deadly, antibiotic-resistant "nightmare bacteria." The strain called CRE has been on the rise for the past decade - tracked in at least 42 states, including North Carolina - and the CDC is urging hospitals to act now. In Charlotte, CRE has infected 18 patients since 2012; seven of them died. The threat has been compared to that of MRSA, a staph infection that has also shown resistance to antibiotics and is now considered a common hospital germ. We'll learn more about these rare but dangerous drug-resistant bacteria - what they are, how they spread, what makes them so strong and how our environment and use of antibiotics might be making them worse. We'll also talk with people on the front lines, dealing with these bacteria in hospitals about what they're doing to try and control them and what patients should know. The rise of superbugs and what to do about them, when Charlotte Talks.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates one out of every twenty patients winds up with an infection when they get treated in a hospital.  Those infections can be serious and even fatal.  For the first time, North Carolina has published hospital-acquired infection rates for most of the acute-care hospitals in the state.

The idea behind publishing these rates is that infections are preventable.  A patient shouldn’t get an infection from undergoing surgery or having an IV treatment, if the proper precautions are taken.