Health Notes

Associated Press | 4/15/2009, 5:19 a.m.

Although none of the deficiencies identified was the source of the infection cluster, the investigation revealed problems with organizational policies, training and infection control practices.

In an e-mail sent to Beth Israel staff, hospital officials said they took the findings in the report very seriously and promised to submit a plan to correct any deficiencies within days.

Partners HealthCare passes new limits on gifts

Doctors with the largest hospital and physician network in Massachusetts no longer will be allowed to accept gifts and meals from drug and device companies.

Partners HealthCare disclosed to staff last Thursday new tougher restrictions to counter industry’s influence over drugs and treatments.

Partners, which includes the Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s hospitals in Boston, will also prevent doctors from traveling the country as paid members of company “speakers bureaus.”

Dr. Peter Slavin, president of Massachusetts General Hospital and a member of the commission that developed the new policy, told the Boston Globe the network didn’t want doctors being used as “hired guns.”

The new policy will be begin by Oct. 1.

St. Elizabeth’s employees vote to join union

Employees at Boston’s St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center have voted to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Union leaders said last Thursday that employees approved a plan to join Local 1199 of SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. The union will represent more than 800 employees, including respiratory therapists, surgical and X-ray technicians, and dietary workers.

It’s the largest union victory at a Boston-area hospital in around two decades.
St. Elizabeth, the flagship of the Caritas Christi Health Care chain, is the first large Boston hospital to be organized by the SEIU.

Caritas Christi, which operates six community hospitals, reached an agreement with the union in January to allow union elections.

(Associated Press)