I was informed that I had made an error in my last Update. The Joint Commission and not the Task Force on MS 1.20 made the decision to suspend the implementation of the rule. Top
The AHA took it in the face. Congress refused to pass a limit on how much a physician may own in a hospital. This was not part of the Senate passed bill to block recent Medicaid regs. There also was no limit as to what could be done on an outpatient basis, another direct slap at the AHA.
Northfield City Hospital in Minnesota, called the police on a patient in the ED who they felt was turning violent. The police tasered the individual and then he was injected with several meds and transferred to the psyc ward. The hospital was cited by the feds and state for the use of Tasers in violation of the patients rights. The hospital and the state hospital association is flabbergasted by the stupidity of the ruling. The state believes the hospital needs more training in de-escalation techniques.
Parkview Healthcare Center, a nursing home in Anaheim, California, has been fined by the California Department of Public Health. The fine of $75,000 was for allowing a resident to choke to death due to the patient grabbing a piece of burrito from a plate in front of him. A Heimlich maneuver failed and the face sheet of the patient was wrong in stating DNR. The mistake caused a delay in calling the paramedics and caused the death.
Franklin Regional Hospital in North Carolina is being probed by the state for quality of care issues. The hospital was tattled on by a state senator who stated that a patient died after elective knee surgery possibly because of nurses working double shifts without any breaks. The feds had already begun investigating the hospital for the same lapses as well as problems with turn around for lab tests and poor record keeping by the med staff. This is the third complaint in several months about the hospital. The one in April was about the anesthesia department. In May there was a complaint about respiratory services. It is possible they may lose their fed funding.
In another problem hospital, St. Agnes in Fresno, California, their cardiac surgery program has shut down again due to a high number of post op infections. The major problem is that most of the cardiac surgical patients at the hospital are Kaiser patients under contract. Kaiser has suspended sending any patients to the hospital and will send them to either their own facility in the Bay Area or to another Fresno facility. Kaiser did not comment on whether or not the discontinuance was permanent. The state was also investigating since they had put some restrictions on the hospital and the hospital did not follow through to investigate the infections. Dumb hospital administrator.
Kaiser of Colorado and the state have agreed that they have an excessive amount of money in their plan and will pay that out to the individual subscribers and employers over the next two years. They will also increase their presence in several more counties by leasing more facilities.
California Kaiser has a problem. The State has published pneumonia death statistics and Kaiser was statistically atrocious. Kaiser stated that they had erred in the figures given to the state. That means they are negligent in their computer work. They come out smelling like garbage in either case.
Niagara Falls New York Medical Center has been fined $110,000 for exposing their employees to asbestos in an poorly done asbestos removal. This fine may be cheaper than the cost of removing asbestos the required way.
In a California state required filing, it was found that about 1000 serious patient errors occurred in hospitals between July 2007 and May 2008. These are the "never" events. Top
The Senate Republicans have blocked the physician reduction in pay from Medicare. The problem was the Democrats insistence of forcing insurers to form provider networks within communities. This would force some private insurers from some markets leaving fewer choices for Medicare patients. The Baucus bill would have also stopped barbiturates and benzoldiazepines from Medicare Part B, lower copays for mental health which are now 50% down to 20%, waiving the deductible for the initial physician visit and cut payments to oxygen suppliers.
Things change rapidly in the Congress and the House has passed a bill that blocks the Medicare pay cut for physicians and pays for it by cutting the amount of money that goes to the Medicare HMOs. This was on a 355-59 vote. This also gives a 1.1% increase to physicians the following year instead of another 10% cut. The Senate still has not passed a veto proof bill.
Soon after the House vote the Senate by one vote stopped any vote on the bill. It will be relooked at after the July 4 recess. The sticking point is the paying for the physician fee by taking money from the Medicare HMOs. President Bush has promised to veto the bill in its present form. What was supposed to happen was that the whole formula that has never worked was supposed to be scrapped. If the reduction is not rapidly removed there will be major problems with access for Medicare patients.
Then cometh the President. He has ordered the CMS to delay for 10 days any reduction in physician Medicare pay. This will give some breathing room to Congress when they return from the July 4th recess.
Next year the CMS has proposed a 5.4% decrease on top of this year's 10.5% decrease. Congress must stop this game of "chicken".
The FTC stopped the Illinois physicians from putting antitrust rules in place against clinic (drug store) medicine. They wanted to curb advertising, insure more physician participation and require permits. These would hinder access. This bill never made it to the Illinois House floor and probably won't after this FTC pronouncement.
Louisiana finished the bill to allow immunity to health care professionals in a disaster unless the error was willful misconduct. The bill now goes to the governor. This bill is due to the stupidity of the attorney general in wanting to charge a physician and nurses with criminal prosecution following Katrina. This bill is so other health care providers will provide care without fear when the next disaster strikes.
There is a new wrinkle in the NPI usage. Now the NPI will not be usable unless it is exactly like the IRS name it is linked to. This is new as of June 11. This should cause a massive headache for all billing companies and even a larger migraine for the physicians who are not getting paid by Medicare. Top
A new law effective immediately changes the benefits for those called to active military duty. If they have a qualified retirement plan, the plan needs to be amended to provide additional benefits to survivors of participants who die while performing military service. These survivors get more money than they would under the old law. If there is a cafeteria plan in place the law permits participants called to active duty to take their money so they don't lose it. Top
The DEA has finally put out initial rules that would allow physicians to use electronic prescribing for narcotics. 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