February 1, 2009 Recent News





The Congressional Democrats have proposed under the economic bailouts that by the end of this year each physician with EMRs will receive $65,000 in Medicare incentive programs to help defray the cost of getting electronic practices.  Hospitals would get millions to go electronic.  All others would have ten years to get the equipment in place.  Never mind that the systems will not communicate with each other.  

The citizens are alot smarter than the congress, but who isn't.  A recent survey by Harvard and the Kaiser Foundation showed that the people (60%) did not want the spending on healthcare IT to increase.  An equal number (20% each) stated that the amount should increase or decrease.  For some reason people wanted access and not "quality".  

The Wall Street Journal has an article about the fear of wasting money on digitalizing medical records.  It talks about the lack of universal software that allows communications between providers and the fear of loss of privacy.  Even the wonks have fear of too much money causing the spending on poor equipment and causing even more skepticism of the thought of good electronic communication.  It is a shame that the Democratic leadership can not read.

The US Senate Finance Committee has passed the Stimulus Bill.  In their version the physician would get nothing to purchase equipment and software but would get bonus Medicare payments.  The first year the max would be $15,000.  The amount one can make then reduces dramatically over the following four years.  Hospitals get the big bucks.  They start at $2 million bonuses.

The headline states Computerized Health Records Lowers Deaths and Cost, Study Finds.  The body of the article by Bloomberg News has one sentence that states the hospitals reviewed and found to have computerized records and better outcomes were larger more sophisticated hospitals to begin with.  the article does not discus what the differences were prior to the uses of computers and is therefore another useless article.

An article in Medical Tuesday states that AARP insurance may be twice as expensive as their competitors.  The organization keeps and invests the premiums for a month prior to paying the insurers.  They make $40 million from this practice.  They quote one member who was shocked to find that he paid over $1000 more for his auto policy via AARP than if he purchased the same policy at Mutual of Omaha.

The VA has announced that vets were given wrong meds, wrong doses and had treatments delayed due to software "glitches".  The VA is at the forefront of EMRs to prevent medical errors.

HHS has announced that the controversial ICD-10 has been delayed for an additional two years until October 1, 2013. This is to allow all to get used to the new system and do the necessary testing.

The do gooders in the People's Republic of Massachusetts are chastising the Boston hospitals for not paying enough money for fire, police and other city needs.  It makes no difference to these nuts that the hospitals are tax exempt, at least for now.  The mayor wants "payments in lieu of taxes" for universities and hospitals.  It makes not a whit to him that this is illegal. Some of the hospitals have been making gratuitous payments to the city.  

The People's Republic also has a strict code regarding physicians and Pharma.  This has cost the state the 2016 meeting of the American Academy of Allergists.  The Republic doesn't need the money generated by 10,000 conventioneers.  The Republic may lose more medical conventions as well.   

The Connecticut Office of Health Care Access is allowing the Waterbury Heart Institute to remain open even though it did not perform enough open heart surgeries for the state.  It did perform a large number of angioplasties and if not allowed to remain open patients would need to be shipped out of town for any procedures.

America's health spending is only increasing at a rate of 6.1%, now topping $2.2 TRILLION.  The reason for the slowdown is that Medicare Part D is working and people are paying less for prescriptions.  Also physician payments were only up 5.8% versus 6.4% a year earlier.  Spending did increase more in the ASC categories but this is good since it means less money is being wasted for people to go to hospitals. 

While the EU does not spend the money per capital that the US spends it doesn't help its citizens as much either.  The EU has found that only half the number of recommended cancer screenings happen each year.  They will need to do an additional 125,000,000 screenings.  Yes that is the right amount of zeros.    Top


A West Virginia health department is warning people that received flu shots after a former employee was found to have stolen their information off the computer.  The temp employee, Jameeliah Josiah was charged with one count of computer fraud.        Top


It seems like the one hospital in California one should not want to be a patient is the University of California Irvine.  They have had more scandals and problems than any other hospital in the state since MLK hospital went bye bye.  Recently Federal regulators issued a 127 page report on the hospital and have threatened yet again to remove Medicare funding. 

If one wonders why hospitals are so jumpy about physicians owning ASCs and hospitals, one only need to see the statistic that surgeries at free standing surgical centers have increased over 300% in ten years.  This is almost 50% of all surgeries.  Alot of this is due to pain medications and insurance demands.    

The physicians at Tennessee's Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville have sounded a public warning about the owner of the hospital.  They say that they have concerns about the financials and about the lack of spending on capital and equipment.   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.