Scripps Tips – November 2010

A monthly list of story ideas for journalists

Blueprint for Health Systems’ Response to Health Care Reform Taking Shape in San Diego
Scripps Health recently implemented a new management model for its five hospital campuses and 20 outpatient centers that is drawing the attention of health providers nationwide. The move is designed to cut costs, improve patient care and preserve jobs at a time when the financial effects of health care reform are being felt faster than expected. Scripps’ new approach will identify and eliminate unnecessary costs in the way its facilities are run and how care is delivered across the entire Scripps system. A recent audit by Scripps identified approximately $150 million in unnecessary variation across its facilities, which could potentially translate into significant cost savings. To avoid layoffs, Scripps has a Career Resource Center (CRC) to help employees transition to new positions as needed within Scripps. Last year, the CRC achieved a 96 percent job placement rate for Scripps employees. Scripps’ new management model stands in stark contrast to other health providers, who often resort to mass layoffs and program cuts to reduce costs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there were 102 mass layoffs in U.S. health care in the first eight months of 2010 alone. To arrange an interview on how Scripps is reshaping itself in light of health care reform, please contact Steve Carpowich at carpowich.stephen@scrippshealth.org, or 858-678-7183.

Scripps-Led Research Study Could Eventually Spare Many Patients from Invasive Angiograms
A new research study led by the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) shows that a promising gene expression test may be useful in helping doctors sort out which patients are the best candidates for angiograms, and who can potentially be spared from the invasive diagnostic procedure. The study is significant, as more than 2 million U.S. patients undergo angiograms each year — yet approximately 60 percent of angiogram patients ultimately had no significant obstructions, according to a recent separate study. Published in The Annals of Internal Medicine, the Scripps study analyzed results from the gene expression tests of 526 patients nationwide, which showed that gene expression from white blood cells could provide information about blockages of the coronary arteries. “The findings may help our future ability to direct coronary angiography to the patients with real clinical need,” says STSI director and study principal investigator Dr. Eric Topol. To arrange an interview with Dr. Topol, contact Steve Carpowich at carpowich.stephen@scrippshealth.org, or 858-678-7183.

Kids’ Lemonade Stand Benefits Scripps Polster Breast Care Center
The Scripps Polster Center received an unexpected donation on Oct. 6 when four students from La Jolla Elementary School walked in and handed over a cashier’s check for $138. The funds were raised through the hard work of Abby and Max LeGrange, ages 10 and 6, in honor of their grandmother, Jane Gleason, who is battling terminal breast cancer. The kids teamed up with friends, Lily and Jackson Stratton, ages 10 and 6, to run a lemonade and cupcake stand on a street corner in Mission Bay. The kids plan on running another lemonade stand in the near future to raise even more funds for breast cancer awareness. For more information, contact Lisa Ohmstede at 858-626-7142 or at ohmstede.lisa@scrippshealth.org.

San Diego Day of Trauma: When Seconds Matter
From the scene of injury to the operating room and intensive care unit, the seconds, minutes and early hours of trauma care present challenges that require immediate and effective action. The 2010 annual San Diego Day of Trauma, hosted by Scripps Mercy Hospital on Nov. 5, will focus on early stabilization and management of severely injured trauma patients. Conference speakers will include specialists in the field of pre-hospital care, trauma and critical care from the country’s leading institutions. Dr. Michael Sise, medical director of trauma services at Scripps Mercy, is available to discuss new techniques and practices in the field of trauma care. To arrange an interview or to cover the event, please contact Kristin Reinhardt at 619-686-3787 or reinhardt.kristin@scrippshealth.org.

Sleep Tips for Daylight Savings
On Nov. 7, at 2 a.m., millions of Americans will roll their clocks back one hour for the return to standard time. Unfortunately, many people have difficulties adjusting to the time change. This is an important time to remember to plan ahead to make healthy sleep a priority and reduce incidents of daytime drowsiness, according to Dr. Bradley Schnierow, a Scripps Health sleep specialist. Dr. Schnierow is available to provide simple tips to help ease the adjustment to standard time. For more information, contact Lisa Ohmstede at 858-626-7142 or at ohmstede.lisa@scrippshealth.org.

Special Workshop Helps Cancer Patients Enjoy Holiday Cheer
Cancer treatment and prevention requires a nutrient rich diet that supports healing. On Nov. 9 at 6:30 p.m., Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine and Scripps Cancer Center will present a special workshop to discuss the role nutrition plays in cancer treatment as well as specific foods that can help reduce inflammation, a risk factor for cancer. The workshop will be led by registered dietitian Cathy Garvey, who will highlight the benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet and how it can optimize health and prevent chronic disease. A cooking demonstration featuring vegetarian holiday recipes will teach participants how to prepare food to enhance nutritional value. To arrange an interview or to cover the event at Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, please contact Kristin Reinhardt at 619-686-3787 or reinhardt.kristin@scrippshealth.org.

Despite Nov. 19 Mastectomy, Thanksgiving Will Bring Gratitude for Chula Vista Resident
Thanksgiving will be extra-special this year for 31-year-old Chula Vista breast cancer survivor Michelle Reyes. Though she’ll be recovering from a planned for Nov. 19 and a recent regimen of chemo and radiation, she says the experience has brought unexpected blessings to her life. Through adversity, she has developed a positive outlook on life that has benefitted her and many others around her. During the past two years, the Scripps Health employee has led a team that’s raised close to $10,000 for breast cancer causes while enduring her own treatments. She has also counseled several breast cancer patients, offering comfort, advice, perspective – and the sounding board that only a peer can offer. Michelle says her strong will was instilled by her parents and other survivors, who taught her the power of perseverance and positive thinking. This Thanksgiving, Michelle is grateful to have the opportunity to share her positive outlook with others. To arrange an interview with Michelle and others whose lives she’s touched, contact Steve Carpowich at carpowich.stephen@scrippshealth,org, or 858-678-7183.

Preparing for Surgery
According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 25 million surgical procedures are performed in the United States each year. No matter what the procedure might be, preparing for surgery can be an intimidating process for patients and their families. Scripps surgeons have advice for patients on how to get ready mentally and physically for surgery, what to expect post-surgery, steps you can take for a faster and fuller recovery, as well as information your physician and surgeon need to know before you are wheeled into the operating room. To arrange an interview with a Scripps surgeon, contact Kristin Reinhardt at 619-686-3787 or reinhardt.kristin@scrippshealth.org.