An annual review of the health care provider in August resulted in a 98-page report of state and federal violations and a threat to the organization's Medicare certification, which would affect nearly 50 percent of VNH's patients.
Among the government's findings:
* In more than half of the cases reviewed, staff had failed to alert physicians to changes in patients' conditions, including fluctuating blood pressure and pulse rates, pressure sores, and weight loss.
* Nurses had repeatedly missed prescribed visits or performed multiple visits that were not prescribed.
* Clinical records were not in compliance with federal law. None of the records reviewed had a written summary to the physician, and half of the records reviewed did not contain current patient-care plans.
* Patients and family members were not educated or counseled on nutrition (including special diets), wound care and dressing changes, infection prevention, and medication (including side effects).
Since the report was issued (and in some cases, shortly before), VNH has replaced nearly all of its top administrators, instituted a formal plan for improved operations, and performed internal audits on most of its records.
Wayne Moon, who is handling the case for the federal Health Care Financing Administration, says that, based on VNH's response, the government would not pull Medicare financing from VNH, but would inspect at least once more before issuing a clean bill of health.
The Legend of Oracle?
'Tis the season for traditional holiday stories -- A Christmas Carol, It's a Wonderful Life ... "The Oracle Christmas Party Dates."
Seems that, back in 1994, a well-intentioned Oracle employee wanted to bring her friends to the company Christmas party. And what better way than to fix them up with a few otherwise stag computer nerds from the home office in Redwood Shores? What followed was an in-house e-mail advertisement that made its way to virtually every corner of the company -- buyers, contract writers, support salesmen, technical staff, and account executives in several regions and divisions. In the two years since, the message has moved along the information superhighway. It is the e-mail that wouldn't die.
"This is the perfect chance to meet some of the most desirable women in the Bay Area in a comfortable and classy environment," the message says. "You would not have to deal with those nervous, anxious, twitching fits which often occur when you are around good-looking women because you would be in the comfort of you [sic] own work atmosphere."
It goes on to describe six apparently available dates:
(Bachelorette No. 1) "She is 5'9 Anglo-Saxon with long blond hair, stunning eyes and delicious long legs."
(Bachelorette No. 3) "She is beautiful. A lot of you know her and she will probably be the first to go, so respond quickly."
(Bachelorette No. 4) "She is the type of woman you would want to be with on a deserted island, put it that way."
Needless to say, topping the Oracle Executive Christmas List each year is the wish that the now-famous Christmas party message would disappear.
Meanwhile, the company's official statement: "We have no comment. We're taking this one with a grain of salt.