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Writing A News Release

Writing A News Release

The National Association of Trauma Specialists (NATS) plans to release details from a study on Tennessee hospitals and their shortages of emergency room specialists.
Please prepare a news release that will be sent to media outlets statewide on Oct. 26, 2011.

Formatting is critical when preparing a release, so please refer to the example in your textbook.

You will be the contact person, so please use your own name and contact information at the top of the release.

Here are the details of the study:

+ NATS conducted the study statewide in Tennessee in 2010. All hospitals provided responses for the study.

+The study was titled “The On-­‐Call Crisis: A Tennessee Assessment of the Costs of Providing On-­‐Call Specialist Coverage.”

+ Nearly half (47 percent) of Tennessee’s hospitals cannot provide on-­‐call specialist treatment around the clock to emergency patients despite paying substantial stipends.
+ study measured eight specialties: trauma surgery, general surgery, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, hand surgery, neurology, orthopedics and obstetrics

+ coverage shortages were evident in all specialties; the worst shortages were in neurosurgery and orthopedics

+ Shortages of specialists willing to take call in the emergency department are a statewide problem … 65 percent expressed difficulty in maintaining specialists on call for three or more specialties

+ Forty-­‐three percent of all hospitals provided some extra subsidy to at least one specialty (an average of $1,000 per shift) in an attempt to attract more consistent specialty coverage

+ Ninety percent of urban hospitals (Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Tri-­‐Cities) pay at least one group of specialists through stipends or guaranteed rates of pay

+ Thirteen percent of Tennessee hospitals have had their trauma designation downgraded since 2000, in part because of their shortages of on-­‐call specialists

+ factors why physicians are reluctant to take emergency calls include fear of malpractice lawsuits, growth of ambulatory surgery centers, and inadequate reimbursement (particularly for uninsured patients)

+ Possible direct quote from Dr. Terry Feelgood, chief executive officer at Covenant Health Systems in Knoxville:
“This study adds to a mounting body of evidence that the on-­‐call crisis is a serious threat to the integrity of our emergency care system and is the weak link in the chain-­‐of-­‐survival in many communities throughout our state.”

+ Possible direct quote from Dr. H. Arthur Hart, NATS executive director and one of the study’s authors:
“Shortages of specialists willing to take call in the emergency department are a nationwide problem and represent a major change in the way we provide emergency care. Many hospitals are paying substantial amounts to maintain their roster of on-­‐call specialists, and some hospitals have been forced to drop 24-­‐7 coverage for certain specialties. These changes affect everyone coming to the emergency department — regardless of whether you’re insured, or covered by Medicaid, Medicare or a private health plan.”

+ Possible direct quote from Dr. Derek Sheppard, president of the Tennessee Physicians Association:
“Emergency physicians provide the highest quality emergency care possible, but we can’t do everything. If the emergency department cannot find a specialist when it needs one, patient care is inevitably compromised.”

About NATS:
Doctors specializing in emergency medicine organized the National Association of Trauma Specialists in 1956 in Chicago. It is an association of more than 12,000
practicing and retired physicians who elected to specialize in the study and treatment of trauma as the primary cause of deaths among people injured in accidents.

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