Drew University, a part of the infamous Drew/King Hospitals, has swept out the out administration. The potential problem is the replacement for the Acting president was the chair of the internal medicine department of Drew and so is already tainted. His Department had been named in the time card scandal. Dr. Yoshikawa was also named COO. This new team is to get the University reaccredited this year. There is a new residency head of the residency programs. There is also a new Dean of the med school. They are trying but need outside people who have not been tainted.
The LA Board of Supes received a report of questionable care at Drew/King. It stated that in March a patient died after the nurses failed to heed a bedside alarm. The only way hospital officials knew of the incident is via a tipster. In another incident a surgeon brought his son into the OR to watch surgery without consent and after being warned by the nurses. A significant breech of ethics and law. It truly is time to hand the hospital to an outside agency, get rid of civil service and start anew.
An article in the LA Times states that 25 physicians and one nurse manager at Drew/King were paid between $180,000 to about $240,000. Some of the Board if Supes were surprised. I don't understand why. They authorize the salaries. Some of the money was paid for overtime that may not have been actually performed. The Supes also are not sure they are getting the best quality for the money. They forget that not many physicians want to work in a fishbowl with idiots making the decisions.
A new audit at the hospital continues to show physicians may be overbilling their hours and getting overtime they don't deserve. This audit was for several months this year. Some were paid twice for the same hours both as an employee and as an independent contractor. The supervisor of the district doesn't understand it. She has never understood anything except where she would get her votes.
The mighty have fallen. The once paragon of the best is now fighting for its life. The Lovelace Sandia Health Systems had four of the five hospitals handed the seal of disapproval by JCAHO. The system is trying to weasel out of their hole not by improving but by stating the Joint did not follow their rules. The hospitals failed 17 of 250 standards.
As everyone knew when the drama started, Marin General Hospital retained its accreditation. Since it is the only hospital in Marin County, California, outside of Kaiser, the residents would need to go to one of the neighboring counties if the hospital lost its ability to bill Medicare. That was never going to happen.
Alta Bates, across the Bay in Beserkley, may not be so lucky. But again, they and their sister hospital Summit in Oakland are it in the area so they also will continue to be able to bill. The removal of accreditation for some of these is a charade.
The Wisconsin Heart Hospital owned 51% by private investors including physicians and 49% by Covenant Healthcare System has lost $15 million in their first operational year. They hope to turn profitable in 2006.
A article by Solucient, a hospital information firm, shows that after correction for age, severity of illness, related diagnosis and volume of procedures there was an implication that specialty cardiac hospitals did the easier cases. The study used discharge data from all payors database with information on 17 million discharges.
Pennsylvania has issued the nation's first report on hospital acquired infections. In 2004 there were over 11,000 infections with a mortality rate of about 10%, 205,000 additional hospital days and over $2 billion in extra charges. Over half of the infections occurred in 29 of 173 hospitals in the state. Some hospitals reported no infections. I believe this shows the flaws of the reporting system as all hospitals have at least one acquired infection per year. Top
The Wall Street Journal had an article regarding how patients are coming to the hospital but are being charged for being out of network. The reason is that not all of the physicians in the hospital belong to the same insurance plan as the hospital. This is especially true for hospital based physicians since the hospital is the main negotiator of fess and they take the lion's share.
The GAO has issued a statement that many of the nation's non profit hospitals are not doing their share to provide health care to the poor. It shows their is not much if any difference between the for profit and the non profit hospitals except for the tax savings. The feds will propose a certain level of services and benefits to qualify for being a non profit. The non profits state the figures lie because the for profits have a higher markup than the non profits.
As you know, the People's Republic of Massachusetts' Governor has asked the legislature to put in a rule making people responsible for their own health insurance, an unthinkable idea. Business in the state is now coming to realize this might be a good thing. The idea is to force those who can afford to pay for insurance to obtain it and if they don't withhold their tax refunds or garnish their wages to pay for their insurance. Those who cannot afford insurance will be placed on the Medicaid rolls. There are about 150,000 residents of the Republic who can afford insurance but do not have it.
In a blockbuster move, United Health has purchased PacifiCare for over $8 Billion. This will increase United Health's presence in the western United States and in the Medicare HMO business. Wall Street loves the merger and consumers groups are as usual afraid of something. The potential problem is less competition but this may allow for more competition with Kaiser, who is the largest Medicare administrator in the country. This is a real good deal fo PacifiCare who had over a billion dollars of debt. Top
The New York times has an article that states that malpractice payouts are not rising but premiums are. This comes from the unbiased study of the Center for Justice and Democracy, a trial lawyer's concern. They state that the payouts from 15 insurers have remained flat over the past 15 years while premiums have increased 120%. The study did not take into consideration the procrastination of attorneys on both sides to have speedy trials and the set asides the insurance companies must to to possibly pay out in the future.
In Nevada, the premiums are rising by 14.8%. This is the first rate increase for Medical Liability Association of Nevada since inception in 2002. Top
Governor Jeb Bush has finally seen the error of his ways. He has called off the witch hunt over Terry Schiavo. Last month he asked the Florida Attorney General to investigate the original event 15 years ago. The Attorney General recommended the case be closed and the Governor agreed. RIP Top
The Orlando Business Journal discussed the payment of physicians for taking call. The articles bottom line was they need to be paid. The article made the excellent point of the new generation of physicians who want more family time and are not as committed to the hospital. If you want them to take call they need to be paid. The article also states that the CEO is not volunteering his/her time so why should the physicians. Some believe that it should be a part of the physician's hospital privileges. They forget that the hospital is not needed as much any more and some specialists almost never need the hospital. The hospital needs them. If they need them and want them to stay on staff the hospital will need to pay up. 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.