Search
Close this search box.

Monday, May 27, 2024

Search

The Wrap: Hospital Safety, CDC Ends Covid Reporting, Insurance Rates Soar  

wrap file photo current!.jpg

By Herald Staff

Get ‘The Wrap,’ our take on the news of the week, in your inbox every Tuesday. Sign up at https://bit.ly/HeraldNewsletters.

April 29-May 5

Hospital Safety

A health center that is soon to be a big part of Cape May County’s health care environment stumbled this spring when it came to the industry-leading Leapfrog patient safety grade. Cooper University Health Center’s spring 2024 safety grade dropped to a C from an A grade in spring 2023. Thirty of New Jersey’s 67 rated hospitals scored an A grade, lifting the state to third place nationally behind only Virginia and first-place Utah.

Twice a year, the Leapfrog Group assigns safety grades to U.S. general hospitals. The grade is a composite score that is made up of over 30 evidence-based measures of patient safety. Areas of patient safety measures include preventing infections, problems with surgery, safety problems like falls and injuries or blood clots, and standards to prevent errors like safe medication administration.

“Protecting patients from preventable harm is the cornerstone of the Leapfrog Group’s mission,” Leah Binder, CEO and president of the Leapfrog Group, said.

The Cooper University System, which should be closing a merger with Cape Regional Health System in early June, was not among the A grades as it had been one year prior. Across 32 measures of patient safety, Cooper received eight below-average designations, 12 meeting average hospital scores, and 12 above-average designations.

Cape Regional received an overall B score for the fourth year in a row. The hospital was rated on 30 measures with scores above average on 13, below average on 9 and at average hospital scores with the final eight.

Overall grades for other area hospitals were a B grade for each of the two hospitals of AtlantiCare, mainland and city campuses, with Shore Medical Center in Somers Point also receiving a B grade.

CDC Ends Covid Reporting

Starting May 1, hospitals no longer have to report respiratory disorder admissions and other indicators of system stress to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is the end of a Covid-era mandate. The sunset of this requirement comes as Covid hospitalizations are at the lowest levels since the start of the pandemic.

As the pandemic increasingly seems like an experience from our distant rather than recent past, it is sometimes difficult to recall that it was responsible for 6.9 million hospitalizations and almost 1.2 million associated deaths, according to CDC data.

In March, a state commissioned independent review was critical of the state’s handling of the pandemic which killed 33,000 New Jerseyans and sickened 3 million. The report commended much of the state’s response to the crisis but also concluded that “no level of effort could overcome an inadequate health-care infrastructure and scarcity of basic needed supplies.”

As the pandemic continues to fade in our minds, its economic and social impacts are very much still a part of our lives. Inflation, the impact on property values, the learning deficits in our schools and more live on as challenges from the Covid era.

Insurance Rates Soar

Soaring premiums for home and auto insurance policies show no signs of abating. Insurance companies and their government oversight agencies say that huge losses from climate change have caused the industry to increase premiums and even pull back from offering insurance in some markets.

In New Jersey Allstate entered 2024 with approved 17% auto rate increases that many drivers are only now seeing as their policies come up for renewal.

Persistent inflation has added to the push for higher rates with the rising cost to insurers for repairing or replacing cars or homes. The overall impact is higher prices, fewer choices and less coverage.

The Wall Street Journal reports that “U.S. property-casualty insurers, who issue home and auto policies, racked up $32.2 billion in net underwriting losses in the first nine months of 2023, $7.6 billion worse than in the same period a year earlier.”

Insurance rates have significantly outpaced inflation with federal government data showing an overall 19.2% increase in the 12 months through November 2023, six times the overall rate of inflation for the same period. Add to this picture the fact that the price of federal flood insurance is also on the rise.

As consumers seek to lessen the burden, some have reduced their coverage but even there they hit new challenges. In New Jersey the state recently raised the level of what the state considers minimum legal car insurance levels.

There is no sign on the horizon that the push for higher rates will ebb anytime soon. Annual policy renewal dates may increasingly be points of pain for consumers who need to fit the soaring premiums into tight household budgets.

Happenings

Officials broke ground for the Tech Village project’s second phase at the Cape May County Airport, supported by a $3 million grant. The project aims to house tech businesses, create jobs, and drive economic growth, aligning with the county’s vision for a tech hub.

Stone Harbor Borough Council earmarked $375,000 for a stormwater utility feasibility study. In New Jersey, stormwater utilities, which assess fees based on property runoff, are not yet operational. The study will address concerns, involve the public, and allocate revenue to reduce runoff and support budgets, with utilities authorized to take on debt for projects under state law.

Xavier Figueroa Jr., 20, of Middle Township, was arrested on April 26 for manufacturing, distributing, and possessing child pornography. The investigation stemmed from a CyberTip. He was lodged in the Cape May County Correctional Facility, and authorities urge the public to report any related information.

A zebra foal was born at the Cape May County Zoo on April 22, just in time for Earth Day. Visitors can enjoy watching her play with her family and participate in a naming contest.

Avalon is transferring sand from mid-borough beaches to its eroded north end, aiding Army Corps beach fill work. The project, moving 55,000 cubic yards of sand from 9th to 16th streets, costs $350,000 and is contracted to Yannuzzi Group Inc. Completion is expected by June 1.

The state’s Department of Environmental Protection hosted a webinar on its Draft Extreme Heat Resilience Plan, addressing risks and adaptation strategies for rising temperatures in New Jersey, but challenges remain in engaging the public effectively.

Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano sees the Trump campaign rally as a chance to showcase the city. Preparations are underway, with the city receiving funds from the campaign, while CapeGOP formed a steering committee for the event.

A seminar hosted by local chambers aimed to clarify New Jersey’s liquor reform legislation, but confusion persists, even among state officials. The legislation introduces new license types, addresses inactive licenses, and allows for mall licenses, but implementation challenges remain.

The U.S. Department of Justice suggests reclassifying marijuana to Schedule III, recognizing its medical potential. Senate Democrats propose a bill for federal marijuana decriminalization, facing GOP opposition, while Cape May County municipalities tread cautiously on adult-use cannabis retail regulations.

Katherine Madden became North Wildwood’s first female police chief, fulfilling a lifelong goal. With a background in the force spanning years and multiple promotions, Madden emphasized teamwork, innovation, and the human element in policing in her inaugural speech.

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities launched the fourth round of offshore wind solicitations, aiming for 1,200 to 4,000 megawatts of capacity to meet Gov. Phil Murphy’s 11-gigawatt goal by 2040. This move underscores the state’s commitment to offshore wind’s economic and environmental benefits.

Sea Isle City embarks on its largest project yet with the groundbreaking of a 44,000-square-foot community center, featuring a gymnasium, elevated walking track, meeting spaces, and more. With an 18-month construction timeline, the center aims to become the heart of the city, catering to various recreational and community needs.

Jason Kelce, retired Eagles star, will host a fundraiser at the Ocean Drive in Sea Isle City for the Eagles Autism Foundation. Known for his drinking prowess, Kelce’s event is a popular gathering spot for fans and players alike.

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy’s dog, Miss Peaches, sparked a fundraising campaign for animal shelters, including Beacon Animal Rescue, with Portnoy pledging to cover the cost of the shelter’s septic system repair. Work is expected to be completed by June.

Spout Off of the Week

Cape May County – Seems like every nice neighborhood has one or two houses that get let go and start looking overgrown, dirty, unkempt etc. Don’t be that neighbor. Respect your home and neighbors and spruce it up. If you can’t do it, find someone to do it for you.

Read more spouts at spoutoff.capemaycountyherald.com. 

Spout Off

Stone Harbor – Is it ok to use curse words in another language as your profile name? φάτε σκατά has been showing up and as many of us NWW Greeks can tell you, that is an offensive profile name. Childish, and…

Read More

Lower Township – Now more open space will be destroyed along Fulling Mill Road for hundreds of new homes, which will inevitably raise our taxes while the developer gets richer. No piece of land is safe. More &…

Read More

Dennisville – W hy not have police, retired police or special trained traffic police. (Like Summer police in resorts) to man the lights along rt 47 in Dennis and Elizabethtown at peak weekend Traffic times during…

Read More

Most Read

Print Edition

Recommended Articles

Skip to content