In Tucson, Arizona, the pilot project of no ED diversion for any reason was obviously a success. The ban on diversion has now been made indefinite. The hospitals were stretched thin with the policy and the patient wait times were greatly increased. It is hoped that when a new hospital comes on line in January much of the strain will be lifted.
Speaking of Tucson, the Tucson Medical Center has been fined by the state with more coming from the feds. The Medical Center has violated EMTALA by refusing a trauma victim when the ambulance was at the door. They also had two instances of physicians refusing to come to the ED to see patients. One needed to be helicoptered to a different hospitals for surgery and the other went to a different ED. Top
The Guv signed the following healthcare related laws:
AB 1199 allowing the Trinity Public Utility District to continue to run the Trinity County Hospital until 2008 to avoid financial problems.
SB 1307 which requires alot of paperwork for pharmaceutical manufacturers, wholesalers and pharmacies to track the storage of "dangerous" drugs.
SB 1765 sets a code of conduct for pharmaceutical companies in their interaction with health care professionals, including limits on gifts and incentives.
SB 1782 requires the California District Attorneys Association to collaborate with other interested parties on the protocol for investigations of physician painkiller practices. This should be good for the California physicians.
AB 2445 to set up a registry for those who wish to register their advance directives.
SB 1590 which allows some government agencies to not give out under the Privacy Act information on residents who work in reproductive health facilities.
SB 1633 will now supercede HIPAA since it will require patient authorization for direct marketing purposes. This exempts those that are already a part of the Confidentiality Act, telephone corporations and insurance agents.
The Terminator vetoed the following:
SB 1487 which would have required hospitals to report data on hospital acquired infections to the Office of Statewide Health Planning.
AB 1960 would have required pharmaceutical benefit managers to report confidential information on discounts and rebates to the legislature.
SB 1563 which would have required drug makers to sell certain drugs and devices for no more than 105% of federal discounted prices.
AB 1324 which would have allowed all families of fire fighters and police who get a blood borne infectious disease to be eligible for Worker Compensation. However, if they take WC they could not sue the employer.
AB 2285 would have prohibited health care providers from asking Medicaid patients to more than patients monthly share of costs.
SB 1525 would have required the State to administer a program provides breast and cervical cancer screening to low income women.
He also vetoed all bills that had to do with importation of drugs from Canada. Top
Off Shore Meds
Guv Terminator not withstanding, the governors of Illinois and Wisconsin have begun the first state sponsored importation of drugs from Canada and Europe. It uses a Canadian clearing house so is not in reach of the FDA. Other states have also set up internet sites thumbing their collective noses at the poorly run FDA. Top
The New Joisey Senate has passed a bill prohibiting HMO physicians from charging patients monies beyond the normal co-pay. They stated that physicians were charging patients for emails and phone consultations. Of course, those will now cease since they won't be paid for and take time. The idiots at the Senate will now have the patients come to the office to see the physician instead of using the new techniques, causing patient delays and longer waiting times for appointments. These people have never been known for their smarts.
The US House Senate conference committee dropped the idea of making nurses exempt from the new overtime rules. They, for the most part, are still unable to obtain overtime pay.
In the final Medicare regs for 2005, the feds have changed the amounts they will allow the oncologists to charge for certain drugs and for their administration. The changes will allow more money for preparing two drugs, more for the administration of two drugs, and allowing the billing for some significant adverse drug reactions. The oncologists will still get a significant lesser amount for the drug per se. This will drop the total loss for oncology from $500 million to a mere $400 million. Top
There have sporadic reports of patients feeling their surgery and hearing the voices of the surgeons but are unable to communicate due to paralytic agents. The Joint now has made this a sentinel event. What this means is paper work to somehow discover if this is happening at the hospital and then to correct it if it is. This problem is most often in the hemodynamically unstable patient where the anesthesiologist must give less anesthesia. The Joint now want EEG monitors on these patients. There is no evidence that the monitors do what the Joint say they want. The Joint has set up their wants and expects hospitals to comply or get a black mark. Top
A physician in South Carolina practicing alternative medicine is getting his license potentially revoked for injecting dilute hydrogen peroxide into a woman with early MS. This therapy has already gotten physicians in other states in problems with their Boards. The woman died from bleeding to death, which may or not be associated with the peroxide infusion. The Board is being criticized for being truthful that there is no problem with the physician's license. Until the Board acts officially and the appeals are exhausted, the web site is correct. Top
Attorney General Lockyear of California has filed a brief with the Supreme Court for California, Maryland and Washington stating that locally grown weed for medical use is none of the feds business as it doesn't affect interstate commerce. The case attacks the constitutionality of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act in those states that have passed their own marijuana laws. Other Attorney Generals have also filed briefs in favor of overturning the law. 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.