November 1, 2007 Recent News 





In what can only be called the most intrusive possible incursion into a local union dispute, the Democratic union lackey Iowa House Speaker has called for the resignation of the hospital's officials.  The idiot lawmaker's wife just happens to work at the hospital and is involved with the union and his brother is a lobbyist with the union.  Any potential conflict of interest here?   

The CEO of Legacy Health in Portland Oregon had suddenly left the position.  Neither he nor the Board would comment.  Lee Domanico left suddenly after putting Legacy in the black but at what cost to hospital and physician morale?

California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco is planning to cut services in a subsidiary hospital, St. Luke's.  They eventually plan to downgrade the hospital to a ambulatory center and ED. This decision is not sitting well with the Board who must approve CPMC's request to increase their primary campus.   

Palisades Medical Center in New Jersey has suspended some of its workers for HIPAA violations in peeking into the chart of George Clooney and his 28 year old companion Sarah Larson.  The nurses union is fighting the suspension of the nurses.

San Diego, as most border cities, have long waits for care in the ED.  The waits have gone to as much as 18 hours.  Also, depending on the hospital, up to 7% of the patients have left without being seen.  

The University of California at Irvine has fired 13 nurses in three months.  They state the firings were for cause but the cause may be minor and the real cause is speaking up for better patient care.    Top


The cost of Medicare Part B will rise $2.90 next year or 3.1%.  This is the smallest rise since 2000.  There will also be a sliding scale for those with incomes over $82,000 single or twice that for a couple.  This low percentage increase is based on the forecasted 10% decrease in physician payments that will probably not take place or there will be many less physicians taking Medicare patients.  

Maryland is up for the state which is doing the most to downgrade the medical establishment.  The State decreased a prior rate increase by over 1% due to the State's having to pay for for uninsured services.  Maryland has also wants to be paid part of the rebate that the state's largest med mal carrier is paying physicians.  This may delay and diminish the distribution to the physicians for whom it was intended.

Kaiser had a good year and is reducing its premiums for the Medicare Advantage program.  The decrease is 25% to $74 per month.  There will be also copays of $30 for a physician or specialist, who I guess is not a physician, visit.  Another copay is $225 for outpatient surgery, $275 for each inpatient day and $20 for a clinical diagnostic.  The HMO will also offer unlimited generics during the doughnut hole gap. This sounds like a great come on.   

The VA hospitals in the Tampa Florida area are full with patients and are on diversion a significant portion of the time.  One hospital diverts 27% of its critical patients.  Another VA diverts at a 13% clip.  Another reason for disbanding the system and putting all service connected vets on Medicare. 

HHS Secretary will go to Switzerland and Holland to study their health care systems.  In both countries all people have insurance of pay a penalty.  Employers do not pay for insurance.  There is no government health care, only private insurance.    Top


Texas is being flooded with physicians since they changed their malpractice laws.  Georgia has a large increase in the general population but without a corresponding increase in physicians.  There will be a panel set up to discuss the problem and how to fix it.  They need to look at the first sentence of this paragraph.   

Cigna has capitulated and agreed to tell its customers how it ranks physicians.  This was in response to an investigation by NY attorney general Andrew Cuomo.  The company has gone from one set of rankings to three.  The first by cost.  The second by quality and the third is a combination.       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.