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Congressional Panel Tours FedEx, Port of Memphis

A Congressional panel visited Memphis this week in an effort to find ways to improve U.S. freight transportation.

The bipartisan panel toured FedEx facilities and the Port of Memphis, in addition to meeting with representatives of the region’s freight transportation community. The freight panel is a special panel of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

“Transportation accounts for up to 10 percent of a product’s total cost, so bottlenecks and limitations in our transportation system can significantly drive up the cost of everything we buy,” said Rep. John Duncan (R-Tenn.), who chairs the freight panel. “By coming to Memphis, an important hub for U.S. freight transportation, the panel was able to see firsthand how efficiencies can be replicated and where challenges continue to exist throughout our national transportation system.”

Chamber Launches Campaign to Welcome Southwest

The Greater Memphis Chamber is launching a campaign, #MEMLUV: Rewards4Rewards, to welcome Southwest Airlines and to encourage Memphis residents to enroll in the airline’s Southwest Rapid Rewards program.

Like many air carriers, Southwest carefully measures local enrollment in its frequent flier program, Rapid Rewards, as a gauge of local demand. The company also measures customers who use its Rapid Rewards Premier Card from New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The Greater Memphis Chamber, along with the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Mid-South Air Service aims to sign up at least 50,000 new area Rapid Rewards members by Nov. 30.

“By establishing this base of supporters, Southwest will know our commitment level to support them is solid,” said John W. Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber. “Even more importantly, it will allow Mid-Southerners to have the opportunity to see the impact that this airline will have on the region.”

Six locals will win round-trip tickets with Southwest at the end of the campaign in November. The winners for the #MEMLUV campaign will be announced at the Chamber’s Annual Chairman’s Luncheon in December.

 

Birthrights Examines Soaring Cesarean Section Deliveries

The story, Birthrights, in the June 14 edition of The Memphis News examines the complex reasons behind soaring cesarean rates both in Memphis and across the nation.

Data provided by the Tennessee Department of Health showed that the largest Memphis area delivery hospitals had total cesarean rates that hovered around 40 percent in 2011.

Hospital 2011 Number of Cesarean   Births 2011 Total Cesarean Rate 2006 No. of Cesarean   Births 2006 Total Cesarean Rate
Baptist  Memorial Hospital for Women 1,997 39.4 1,994 38.8
Methodist  LeBonheur Germantown Hospital 1,666 41.1 1,667 40.5
Regional Medical Center at Memphis 1,195 31.6 1,426 28.6
Saint Francis Hospital in Bartlett 323 41.3 290 37.9
Saint Francis Hospital in Memphis 479 27.5 478 29.1

From 1998 to 2008, total U.S.cesarean delivery rates climbed by 50 percent, gaining from 22 percent to 33 percent of all births in just a decade, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics show.

As I reported on the story, and interviewed local Memphis physicians, patients, and national experts, I was left with a mountain of data and interviews that pointed to the complex and multifaceted reasons for soaring cesareans.

In Memphis, one clear theme came through: the need to practice defensive medicine to avoid medical liability lawsuits. Despite that pressure and an increasing number of babies delivered by cesarean section, experts overwhelmingly said birth outcomes have not improved for either mothers or their babies.

Most local hospitals said they are working to decrease cesarean deliveries in first time, low-risk mothers with babies in a head down position — especially in situations where physician practice patterns play a role. But local physicians said encouraging vaginal births after a prior cesarean section remains a challenge because most malpractice insurance providers discourage the practice.

Celeste Milton, associated project director in The Center for Performance Measurement in the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission, the accrediting body for hospitals, recommended a white paper authored by researchers from the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative. Milton told me The Joint Commission is encouraging hospitals to take a look at the paper.

The CMQCC white paper also was instrumental in the development of a set measures known as the perinatal core. Citing concerns that cesareans do not improve infant or maternal outcomes, The Joint Commission will begin requiring accredited hospitals that deliver at least 1,100 babies or more per year to begin reporting on a set of measures known as the perinatal core:

  • Decreasing the early elective birth rate before 39 weeks
  • Decreasing the cesarean rate in first-time mothers with a single baby who is head down at term,
  • Increasing the use of steroids for babies who are born pre-term
  • Reducing acquired bloodstream infections in newborns
  •  Increasing the exclusive breast-feeding rates during hospitalization.

That data will be used to establish a baseline so that hospitals can compare their rates to that of their peers and encourage physicians to examine practice patterns that may encourage cesarean deliveries in low risk mothers.

Let us know what you think: jbacker@memphisdailynews.com

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Concerts at Shelby Farms Park

Shelby Farms Park will be hosting a 2013 Summer Concert Series beginning with a performance on June 15 by Hope Clayburn’s Soul Scrimmage.

The shows also will feature children’s activities, shopping with local artisans and vendors and a food truck rodeo.

Here’s the series lineup:

June 15: Hope Clayburn’s Soul Scrimmage

June 22: Trey Jewell Band

June 29: The Rhythm Rockets

July 4: The Ceremonial Navy Band of the Mid-South

Time: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Admission: $5 per person/free for children under age 12 and park members

Southern Airways Express Begins Booking Flights

Memphis-based Southern Airways Express said it has received final approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation to begin operations.

The airline’s website, iFlySouthern.com, also is now available for booking flights from Memphis to Destin, Fla., Panama City, Fla. and Gulf Shores, Ala. Later this month, Southern Airways Express also will add service from Memphis to New Orleans.

“We expect our summer 2013 schedule to be in full swing by June 26th, in time for family vacations and Independence Day travel,” said Stan Little, CEO and Chairman of Southern Airways Express.

The airline, which is backed by local investors who have chosen to remain anonymous, will help fill nonstop service gaps left by major carriers, Little said. Fares on all flights will range from $129 to $249 each way.

 

 

Dansette

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