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Healthcare Update — 07-09-2010

Should same sex partner of malpractice victim be entitled to a $2.45 million judgment?

Man walks into Cleveland Clinic-affiliated emergency department and shoots himself in chest.

Think that’s bad? Daytona Beach man walks into hospital emergency department and sets himself on fire.

Health overhaul may mean longer ER waits, crowding“. Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney gasps and says “you don’t say!”

Emergency departments seeing an increase in prescription drug overdoses. In 2008 there were almost a million visits for prescription drug abuse – as many as for overdoses of heroin, cocaine, and other illegal drugs combined. That’s a 111% increase in three years.

What father’s day present caused good ol’ dad to end up in the emergency department? From the article, it sounds like the kids probably should have gotten good ol’ dad a different present.

Now that everyone has “insurance,” it’s time for the insurance companies to twist the thumb screws. Insurance companies in Philadelphia area routinely “downcode” short hospital stays costing hospitals millions of dollars per year in revenues. One hospital notes that 10-15% of all its admissions are routinely downcoded by insurance companies — after the patient has received medical care, of course.

LAC/USC Hospital “upgrades” to smaller hospital with 200 less beds in 2008. You already know where this is headed. Now LA County supervisors are concerned because the hospital’s emergency department was deemed “overcrowded” about 80% of the month of May and conditions were considered “severe or dangerous” for half of that month. Supervisors are now looking to re-expand the hospital and have no funding sources to do so. Without extra staffing – which you can’t afford, either – you better just make the expansion one huge waiting room, because patients aren’t going to get care any faster.

Fresno, CA 10 month old found to be under the influence of meth? Mom and dad have some ‘splainin’ to do.

Entertaining, but bizarre story about a writer’s imaginary trip to the emergency department. Thought it was true at first, but then the end of the story got a lit-tle weird.

Will Obamacare have positive effect on medical malpractice? Some insurance actuaries think so. “Since hospitals will get penalized if they have a large proportion of re-admissions, this may motivate them to provide better care, which would result in more favorable outcomes and fewer claims.”
OK what will really happen if you pinch hospitals to discharge patients more quickly and also penalize them for re-admissions? The hospitals will find additional diseases while in the hospital that justify prolonged admission. Then, after discharge, if they come back to the emergency department for treatment, hospitals will pressure the emergency departments to treat and release the patients so that hospitals can avoid the penalty … as in daily trips from the nursing home to the emergency department via ambulance for management. Wonder what that will do to overcrowding in the emergency departments.
What happens when hospitals try to reduce costs? They hire more physician extenders “causing less-trained care providers to look at more complicated health issues.”
This whole payment/loophole thing is a mousetrap/mouse issue … and there are some pretty smart mice who will find loopholes to make sure that they are compensated for the services they provide. When the loopholes all vanish, so will many of the providers.
Things are going to get ugly, folks.

Survival skills for the emergency department … a HuffPo journalist laments over his 10 hour emergency department visit in the University of Chicago Hospital.

More temporary closures of Canadian emergency departments as there are insufficient physicians available.

One Response to “Healthcare Update — 07-09-2010”

  1. Matt says:

    Your question implies the case was about whether the deceased’s partner is entitled to $2.45 million. It wasn’t, at least according to your link.

    The verdict was in favor of the deceased’s estate, not the partner. The partner will not receive $2.45 million (unless through a will). In fact, if you read the article the estate may not even be getting that much since one of the two physicians the damages were assessed against for allegedly treating the wrong type of cancer had already settled.

    The same sex partner’s loss of consortium claim was thrown out, and may be appealed, but as of now she’s not entitled to anything on her own. That’s an interesting question to consider, both legally and politically, but it will apply across the board to all injury claims – not just to medical malpractice.

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