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Phoebe institutes 'Nap Time,' reviews readmissions data

As part of an effort to help new mothers get some sleep, officials at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital have launched a “Nap Time” initiative on the maternity floor from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. on a daily basis. Hospital officials say the program, which started in early September, has so far been well received.

As part of an effort to help new mothers get some sleep, officials at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital have launched a “Nap Time” initiative on the maternity floor from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. on a daily basis. Hospital officials say the program, which started in early September, has so far been well received.

ALBANY, Ga. -- Everyone needs a little extra shut-eye now and again, but the need seems especially great with a new baby in the house.

To accommodate new mothers, the maternity floor at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital has kicked off a “Nap Time” campaign allowing for an afternoon rest period for mothers and infants to get some sleep at the same time.

Since early September, the fifth-floor unit has had its lights turned down on a daily basis between 2 p.m.-4 p.m., and officials say they are endeavoring to keep the distractions during that time in that part of the hospital to a minimum.

“With a newborn, it is hard for mothers to get used to taking naps at the same time (as their babies),” said Tracy Morgan, vice president of women’s and children’s services at Phoebe. “We are trying to give them the opportunity to do that.”

Overall, Morgan said the initiative has been well-received. The only complaints that have come so far, she said, are from visitors who have been turned away.

“We ask patients if they are expecting visitors, and we will ask if they want (the visitors) to wait,” Morgan said. “Most say they want them to wait.”

At a board meeting on Wednesday, Phoebe officials also addressed how the hospital fares when it comes to a new readmission policy recently set forth by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Starting this week, Medicare was expected to begin fining hospitals that have too many patients readmitted within 30 days of discharge due to complications. For the first year, the penalty is capped at 1 percent of a hospital’s Medicare payments.

For now, hospitals are only being measured on three medical conditions: heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia.

Results for the initial reporting period — expected to be available publicly on the “Hospital Compare” website later this month, and already available to individual hospitals — shows data running from July 2008 through June 2011 indicating that Phoebe has a lower readmission rate in all three areas compared to the national average.

“We are doing better on these measurements because we know readmission rates are strongly linked to the care you provide,” Dr. Doug Patten, chief medical officer at Phoebe, said in a statement. “We are focused on the care provided while a patient is in the hospital, but just as focused on what happens once they get home. The care plan starts on admission and ultimately may include networking with other providers and agencies once the patient leaves, all to ensure the best coordinated care.”

The available data show that the expected readmission rate for heart attacks at Phoebe is 17.5 percent, with the national readmission rate at 19.2 percent. For heart failure, Phoebe’s expected readmission rate is 23.5 percent, while the national rate is 24.6 percent.

For pneumonia cases at the hospital, the expected readmission rate is 18.1 percent, below the national rate of 18.5 percent.

Hospital officials also announced that Chuck Porth, who had been serving as director of clinic operations with Phoebe Physician Group — a position which carried the primary duty of management of the cardiology and cardiovascular practices — since April 2011, has been named the vice president of cardiac services for the hospital.

Porth has been in his current position for three weeks, Phoebe officials say.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.