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72 year old Connecticut patient awarded $9.3 million after being hospitalized for UTI, then given overdose of Lovenox. She developed intra-abdominal bleeding and required several surgeries and blood transfusions to correct the problem. She also developed a large abscess at the site of a central line insertion. Attorneys for the patient say that it was “an understatement” to say that the standard of care was violated.
One of the ideas behind providing more patients with “insurance” (not with “health care,” mind you) is that the insured patients will be less likely to use the emergency department. Untrue. When few doctors take the patients’ insurance, often the patients’ only option is to go to the emergency department. In addition, the emergency department is free for Medicaid patients. The Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon was quoted in the article. I’ve argued with Michael Cannon about his opinions in the past, but this time he is right on the mark when he says “Nobody spends (other people’s) money as carefully as they do their own.” In other words, with no skin in the game, patients have no incentive to limit spending.
The policymakers in Washington have no idea about the economics and incentives of this perverse system they are creating.
October 2013 study in Pediatrics shows that 10% of 14-20 year old ED patients at the University of Michigan admit to nonprescription opioid or sedative use.
My jaw dropped when I read that 12% of these kids had been prescribed sedatives but then I realized that it was 12% of the 5% of kids who reported using sedatives … or about 0.6% of the total patient population. That’s still a lot but it’s better than 12%.
InQuickER still allowing patients to schedule appointments in the emergency department and bypass other patients waiting in the waiting room. At some point a smart plaintiff attorney is going to realize that an EMTALA claim against a hospital using this service is a slam dunk.
Our national health care plan sucks so much that doctors are refusing to accept patients with government “insurance.” That, dear readers, is the difference between health “care” and health “insurance”: Health insurance is a false promise of obtaining health care. Virginia Democrat Kathleen Murphy has a solution to the problem, though: Force doctors to accept Medicare and Medicaid patients.
Our government is getting awful comfortable “forcing” the private sector to engage in activities that go against acceptable business practices. Obamacare forces insurance companies to provide policy coverage that makes policies too expensive and that provides services many people neither want nor need. Then Obamacare forces insurance companies to offer policies to people regardless of their pre-existing conditions. But insurance means nothing without being able to provide the health care and that’s a business the government doesn’t want to be involved in. So now politicians are floating trial balloons about forcing doctors to treat patients. Hopefully, this idea gets shot down quickly and forcefully.
Too many nursing home patients being sent to emergency departments? A research letter to the editor of JAMA Internal Medicine shows that the number of visits for preventable causes increased 21% between and that the number of visits for non preventable causes increased 23% from 2001 to 2010. More than half of the “preventable” visits were due to either pneumonia or UTIs.
Saving money by cutting services. New York’s St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital plans to close its emergency department between 10am and 10pm in order to save more than $1 million per year. Patients needing emergency care will be directed to another hospital 5 miles away.
More on saving money by cutting services. Massachusetts’ North Adams Regional Hospital proposing closure of its psychiatric facility. The hospital is having financial difficulties and reimbursement for care of psychiatric patients is notoriously low. The hospital’s director of finance says that “Unless change happens, [the next hearing] won’t be about closing one unit, it will be about closing all the units.”
Michael Jackson’s former physician Conrad Murray is out of jail, but will he ever be able to practice medicine again?