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When states cut funding for mental health, where do all the patients go? You guessed it. Sacramento emergency departments are getting “swamped” by mental health patients. Visits for mental health illnesses are up 30% in the past year. Inpatient psych treatment centers close inpatient beds, then tell the community to call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. About one patient every 30 minutes are taking that advice. Yet the county wants to cut more services – requiring a federal court to block them from doing so last month.
You take away our malpractice reform, we take away your database of doctors. Illinois removes online database listing physician crime convictions, physicians who were fired by a hospital and physicians who were forced to make medical malpractice payments. The database was required as part of Illinois’ medical malpractice reform bill, but since the Illinois Supreme Court overturned malpractice reform, it also got rid of the requirement for the database. Now only disciplinary actions are listed.
The president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association got into the act, too, being quoted as saying “That anyone would want to keep that information from the citizens of Illinois is appalling to me. Patients deserve to know whether their doctor poses any dangers to them.” Guess you should have thought about that before striking down tort reform. By the way, does the Illinois State Bar Association have the same database? Don’t clients deserve to know whether their lawyer poses any dangers to them? Yeah. Didn’t think so.
Does the admission of guilt and early offer of compensation reduce the costs of medical malpractice? The University of Michigan believes so. Ted Frank at Point of Law has his doubts, but does note that such a policy would decrease the amount of money going into the lawyer’s hands.
5’5″ 300 lb patient falls off of operating room table because velcro straps won’t hold him. Now the hospital is getting sued.
In other news, hospital names velcro strap manufacturer and McDonalds as codefendant in case.
“Florida has the highest rate of malpractice premiums in the U.S., and Miami is the highest in the state,” says Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum during a campaign speech. “As a result, the percentage of doctors practicing is among the lowest in the nation.” Nope. No connection there.
Savings you can believe in. Health care reform expected to increase Nebraska Medicaid costs by $526 million to $766 million over the next ten years.
Do seniors come to the hospital for warm meals and companionship? Researchers enrolled 118 seniors to get coaching visits plus deliveries of food for a month after they had been discharged from the hospital. Nurses visited homes two days, seven days, 14 days and 30 days after discharge to ask patients if they’d scheduled appointments with their doctors and to make sure they were taking medications as prescribed. The number of patients readmitted within 30 days dropped from 23.3 percent to 2.7 percent. Providing hot meals alone dropped the readmit rate by almost half.
Was the closure of St. Vincent’s Hospital due to financial mismanagement? Lawsuit will find out. While heading toward more than a billion dollar budget shortfall, hospital execs paid for a $278,000 golf outing, took home salaries of $1 million, spent $17 million on management consultants and had more than $100 million in “unspecified spending” for just one year.
Here we go again. Radiologists berating clinicians for ordering too many x-ray studies.
In other news, look soon for the American College of Radiology to publish whitepapers on how to judge the amount of coronary artery occlusion by palpation of pulsations in the patient’s chest, how to interpret a radiologic study without recommending further radiologic studies, and how to get out of lawsuits alleging that not enough radiologic testing is ordered.
Kudos to ACEP President Angela Gardner who was just elected as one of the 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare (free registration required). Barack Obama was #1, Kethleen Sebelius was #2, and Nancy Pelosi was #3.
I admit being a partisan toward ACEP, but awards like this are the reason. I don’t agree with all ACEP policies or actions, but I also think that ACEP does a great job advocating for both emergency physicians and emergency patients. As I scrolled through the Top 100 list, the only other medical society members present were people from the AMA and the American Board of Internal Medicine. No other medical specialty societies were represented.