I so do love talking about the Board of Stupes at Los Angeles. A long article appeared recently in the LA Times which skewered the Board for ignoring at least 12 reports over the past 10 years regarding the County's Health system. They always ask for a report regarding their budget shortfalls. The reports come back that they can not manage the system and to relinquish control and the Board then asks for another report which states the same thing. They soon will be without the only sane person in the mix, the health director. They will not be able to find a good person to take the position as long as they control the system. The Board wants to continue to use the County health system for patronage and other paybacks.
The worst hospital in the nation used to have a pathologist, Dr. Dennis Hooper, who has been deemed incompetent by the state. He is being sent for a refresher course and then must have his diagnosis reviewed by another pathologist. This action was taken by the Medical Board of California. He was placed on probation and made to pay $22,845 to the state for their investigative work. His fellow physicians had complained about his work at King/Drew and their complaints were ignored. He no longer works at the hospital.
In LA, the CEO of St. Vincent's Hospital that got in trouble over its liver transplant program has been canned. The hospital also has a higher than expected death rate in its renal transplants.
Staying in the LA area, the city attorney has warned hospitals to stop dumping patients in skid row against their will. An investigation is in progress. Some hospitals have acknowledged they have done this. Kaiser, King/Drew and Hollywood Presbyterian state they had no choice when the patients had no where else to go and needed services available at the downtown missions.
Several hospital administrators including the CEO of Mt. Carmel in Columbus, Ohio, resigned after the parent company stated they engaged in inappropriate behavior at a retreat that was supposed to be for spirituality. I guess Trinity Health does not believe in turning the other cheek.
Nashville General Hospital is in financial difficulty and wants the state to bail them out. The public hospital had counted on federal funds which have not materialized and may not.
Did anybody ever wonder why hospitals in the People's Republic of Massachusetts are always having problems? A recent story in the Boston Globe may give us some clues. They think they don't have to obey guidelines set up by the state. The state has stated that hospitals should do at least 100 obesity surgeries a year and each surgeon should do at least 50. That isn't happening since the hospitals want money. Starting in 2007 Blue Cross will no longer pay for surgeries that occur in hospitals that do not meet the guidelines.
A new survey again shows the US to be leading the world in medical, medication and test result errors. The survey took in Australia, the UK, New Zealand, Canada, Germany and the US. Although it was a close race, the US led the way with 34% of patients receiving at least one error. The sad part is when the hospitals are told about errors by physicians, the physicians are labeled disruptive and removed. The errors continue.
In Houston the first physician owned hospital is under construction. It will be named University General Hospital. There are 60 physicians of various specialties now on staff. The hospital is 80% physician owned and will have six ORs and will have 72 beds. Top
In Lincoln county in Merry Olde England the surgeon at Lincoln County Hospital wrote to Mr. Smith and explained that they would see him regarding his leg claudication if he gave up smoking for six months. He does not want to do this and wants to be seen now. The surgeon states that about 75% of the people who do as he requests and stop smoking require no more treatment. There is currently an impasse but the patient is not being seen. Top
The HMOs are going back to the days of 1-800- MAY I. Blue Cross of Wisconsin will now require prior approval for outpatient PET and CT scans. Pet scans are only used for cancer and when combined with CT provide the best possible imaging for determining where there is or is not cancer. They are attempting to reduce usage by 20% and enrage physicians and patients by 100%. They believe that there is increased usage due to more scanners are available. They hope that by using pre-authorization that physicians will not order CT scans and then MRIs. Next year they will cut back on the centers that will be allowed to do the scans to those that are the cheapest.
UnitedHealthcare of Georgia will pay $2.3 million to settle late payments to hospitals and physicians. The payment will go to the state and not those who are out the money. The company must agree to add an automatic 18% per annum interest to all late payments. In Georgia that means 15 days.
In the category that is hard to believe, super-liberal mayor Newsom of Baghdad by the Bay is against the ultra liberal Board of Stupes pending law requiring businesses with 20 or more employees to provide health insurance. This is the same bill as was defeated a year ago as a state proposition as anti-business. Top
The Baltimore Sun had a three part series about the sad state of malpractice in Maryland. In the first article they stated that Maryland ignores malpractice claims and settlements. This practice is abhorrent to the writer but fails to take into account the vast majority of claims that have no merit and if publicized could ruin a physician. I agree that settlements need to be reported to the Medical Board and action taken. The problem is if settlements are made public the idea of settlements will go out the window and there will be many more trials.
The second article was a say nothing follow-up piece with no substantial material over the first piece.
The third and last article is a pet peeve of mine and I agree completely with the writer. The article states that at times physicians individually are not named but institutions are. Thereby bypassing any reporting requirement to the state board. This is wrong. Kaiser and many institutions do this. The plaintiff attorneys in Maryland know they will get a settlement easier by an institution if there is no named physician in the suit, although allegations against a physician are present in the body of the suit. My statement do not pertain to those physicians who are dropped either before or after deposition.
The paper then had a follow-up article stating that the lawmakers want more disclosure of malpractice claims histories. The lawmakers state the board is taking too long in evaluating physicians. This may require more money, something lawmakers are loathe to give. The board is considering opening physician hearings to the public, a very bad idea.
The Washington Post ran a story regarding the way malpractice carriers report their losses. The difference is claims incurred but not paid. The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights funded by tort lawyers argue that it is ok to estimate future losses but they take umbrage at how far off the numbers are. There is a 31% difference between what the actual losses in a given year are and what is reported. The insurers state that recently the losses have been more than the estimates. Top
The New England Journal of Medicine has recently published an article showing those physicians that are disciplined by state medical boards are three times more likely to have been disciplined in medical school for unprofessional behavior. It looked at how medical students followed up on patient care and how they took constructive criticism. The study defined unprofessional behavior in medical school as unreliable attendance, not following up on patient care activities, failure to accept constructive criticism, argumentativeness and poor relationships with colleagues and nurses. The schools were UC San Francisco, Michigan and Jefferson.
A recent report in Academic Medicine shows that the teachers of medical students are stressed out and dispirited. This is not a good sign for the future of medicine. 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.