CMS has stated that Kaiser's terrible and now defunct kidney transplant program plans have been approved. They were up for a two year death sentence. The CMS will do a surprise inspection to make sure Kaiser does what it is supposed to do, a real good idea. If they don't, the two year death knell is back on.
The day after the above story appeared, the LA Times has a story about how how badly the Kaiser transfer of patients is going. This makes some patients stay with Kaiser for a longer time. Some evil minds may think that Kaiser is slowing down on purpose so they will not spend money on their patients getting transplants at other competent institutions. It should be noted that until a patient is transferred to a different unit, Kaiser will do the transplant if a donor appears. Kaiser received the largest fine ever in California of $2 million for their poor performance with the transplant program. They have to pay an additional $3 million to a transplant registry program.
Kaiser has now opened a Pandora's Box. The state is now going to probe how well Kaiser handles other complaints. As one who helps Kaiser patients, I can answer that question. They ignore and delay as much as possible, just like they did with the ill-fated transplant program. The probe will also look at the complaints of its own physicians as well as how it assesses its physicians quality. It does both badly. Look for more fines in the future.
The San Francisco Business Times had an item about the questionable past head of the ill fated Kaiser transplant program. Originally Kaiser stated that Dr. Sharon Inokuchi was removed as the head of the transplant program. However, it seems that Kaiser again did not tell all. Dr. Inokuchi has been reinstated as chief but that was never announced. I wonder why.
Occasionally, albeit rarely, Kaiser does do something right. They are planning to get smart prescription bottles for those patients who have difficulty in seeing or reading. The bottles will tell the needed information to the patient.
Kaiser, as the hallmark for cheap medicine, continues to garner patients, but less than previously. In the last reported quarter there were 44,000 new enrollees and revenue was up 15%. Net was down due to spending to replace facilities.
The AHA has put out a report stating the key initiatives for hospitals to improve their relationships with physicians are inclusion of physicians that impact them, increased communication, accessibility of the CEO, better economic alignment and building more positive organizational culture for employees, physicians ant patients. Duh! I hope they didn't pay too much for this study.
Now that the moratorium for specialty hospitals is over, an announcement was made that an Ohio physician group will build a specialty surgical hospital in Indiana. It would also include an office building. The competing community hospital now has the jitters and states it MAY build a free standing ASC and partner it with physicians. Sine the community hospital is non profit it can not have majority physician owners. It can give the minority owners a bigger piece of the pie than the majority owners.
In Texas, a new physician owned hospital with an Asian flair will open soon in Houston. The hospital is in the China town area.
The IRS has asked for billing records on a physician employed by Putnam General Hospital in Hurricane, West Virginia. The physician has been sued over 100 times for med mal. Top
The London Daily Telegraph has reported that some hospitals are too efficient. They are seeing and taking care of people too quickly. The care is coming prior to the National Health Service being prepared to pay for the services. The hospitals are now, with the National Health blessing, putting in waiting times where none are needed. This is how Universal Health works. Staff just sits even though there are patients to care for. Some of the hospital artificial wait times are up to six month for inpatients and 10 weeks for outpatients. At least the hospital physicians and nurses are learning how to do Sudoku at a more difficult clip.
Georgia has decided that all Medicaid patients will go to HMOs. They forgot that they need to pay physicians for taking care of the patients. Some OBs have almost 90% of their practice Medicaid and are going broke. Eventually about 1.2 million recipients will be placed in three HMOs. Officials have acknowledged payment problems but don't fix them. I personally wonder why physicians are stupid enough to continue to take these patients and rely on state bureaucrats to pay them. Top
The VA has done it again. The paragon of good medicine and IT security has lost another computer. This one was in the offices of Unisys, a subcontractor to the VA. It had information on 38,000 VA recipients. The two teenagers that stole the original computer with over 26 million names have been found.
It has been decided that the millions of veterans that had their information stolen will get credit protection against credit theft. The original 26 plus million will get it from the government and the above 38,000 will get it from Unisys.
Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, New York, has lost a laptop computer with over 280,000 patient names and identification numbers. This was stolen over a month ago. The laptop was kept in a safe place but apparently not safe enough. The information was not encrypted but password protected.
HCA wants to get into the lost computer business. They lost 10 of the devils in 8 eight states since 1996. The computers had the names of those who did not pay the co-payments or deductibles so had a delinquent account. They never told anyone until now about the thefts. They now offer free everything to those involved.
It's not just the VA and hospitals that have problems with electronic medical information. The Madrona Medical Group of Bellingham, Washington, had a former employee illegally download information off a computer to his personal laptop. The group has warned 6500 patients about the potential problem. Top
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation that is the office that regulates physicians has been criticized by the Auditor General. The Department said the audit was rubbish and were only small paperwork errors. This includes long delays in investigations and the staff made the decision to turn over or not turn over accusations to the investigators. The accusations seem rather serious to one who reads the Tribune article. Top
A new website has been set up in the Bahamas that will list all the plaintiffs that have sued their physicians in Florida and their attorneys. It encourages physicians not to treat these patients. It also warns patients that if their attorneys go ahead with a law suit against a physician and don't tell the patient they may have difficulty getting healthcare, their attorneys may have committed attorney malpractice. The database will be available for free starting July, 2007. This web site will only list those plaintiffs that lose some or all of their case. Several years ago a Texas website listed all plaintiffs, even those that had true losses and had won their cases. That website closed. There is nothing illegal about the web site but it does border on the ethical boundary. The new web site is called LitiPages.com. Top
DISCLAIMER: Although this article is updated periodically, it reflects the author's point of view at the time of publication. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Readers should consult with their own legal counsel before acting on any of the information presented.