February 15, 2011 Recent News






The People's republic of Massachusetts continues to roil the waters.  The process that Obamacare is modeled after continues to be in turmoil over money.  The regulators are now pushing insurers to cut rates for those in the state funded programs.  They state costs are increasing but they don't mention that they have so many mandates that costs must increase.  They state that more people are enrolling but they don't state that is what was contemplated.  The cuts if insurers don't cut rates will be less physicians and hospitals available for those in the system.  The rationing that Obama stated would not occur.  

Governor Patrick in his budget will have patients paying more and hospitals and physicians getting less money.  Sounds like a recipe for an upcoming disaster.  They also would get rid of some preventative measures.

The Republic's Blues have warned hospitals and physicians to reduce costs or get less money per fee for service unit.  This is the next step before bundled payments.

The Republicans feel the defeat of their attempt to rescind Obamacare in the Senate will help them in the 2012 elections to get more GOP Senators and to remove Obama from office.  

The AAPS, a small vocal group of physicians who favor less regulation, are now renewing their push for the removal of Obamacare. 

The insurers are now waiting for the shoe to drop.  HHS is now considering which diseases, procedures and tests all insurers must cover.  There will be no more scientific examination of tests but a political bent to what is covered and of course costs will increase.  

Those who love socialized medicine should love this story.  Britain's waiting time for cancer tests have now doubled contributing to the lowest cancer survival stix in the western world.  Waiting up to six weeks for ultrasounds and other special tests is the norm.  The delays also include colonoscopy and barium enemas.

Hospira, the manufacturer of Pentothal moved its plant to Italy from the US.  Italy now requires that the company not ship the drug if it is to be used in executions.  Hospira has decided to stop producing the drug that is also a mainstay in anesthesia. 

Pentothal is not the only drug in short supply.  There are now multiple drug shortages world wide and nobody can do anything about it.  Nobody can make Teva produce propofol that is hard to make and barely profitable.  Chemo drugs are also in short supply due to the FDA going after the manufacturer of the drugs for minor problems. 

Can anyone figure this out?  A retired dentist in the San Diego area had a broken leg.  He received physical therapy and was billed $1530 for the six sessions.  The insurance company paid the physical therapy company double of what was owed.  The patient was on Medicare and Blue Cross stated that some negotiated payments are higher than the billed amounts.  That is a new one for me.   Top


The VA is back in the news as the St. Louis VA has shut down all surgeries due to faulty sterilization techniques.  This is becoming common in the system.  

The is another VA problem in Dayton, Ohio, with the same sterilization problems.  This one centered on one dentist who did not change gloves between patients and who did not sterilize instruments appropriately.  Approximately 535 vets have been notified to get tested for potential Hepatitis B and HIV.

There is another struggle in Minnesota over patient autonomy.  The Methodist Hospital says that the patient does not have a power of attorney but wants to stop feeding tubes.  The wife states she gave the paper to the hospital when he was admitted a month ago.  The courts are now looking at the problem. 

In an interesting report in the Annuls of Internal Medicine stated that the costliest hospitals in California had the lowest death rates.  This was a u-turn from the earlier Dartmouth study which stated that high cost hospitals were no better than lower cost hospitals.  This sounds like what food is bad for you this week.  It also will be used as a tool to go against Obamacare.     Top


Well, he didn't last long.  Dr. David Blumenthal is resigning as the head of the fed HIT program after two years.  Back to the ivied halls of Harvard where it is safe.  Under his leadership physician use of EMR went up from 19% to 29%.   

It is hard to believe but 1.7 million medical records have been stolen from the Borax city hospitals. Ain't EMR wonderful.  Some vendor left their truck unlocked and the information was stolen from the truck.  The hospitals have filed suit against the vendor.    Top


Central New York is very short of physicians.  Hospitals are having to curtail services and transfer patients for care.  In order to stay in business many hospitals have to hire the more expensive locum physicians.  

The purchase of physicians continues on a grand scale.  George Washington Medical Faculty wants an additional 450 physicians and is in the process of purchasing multiple groups.  This will lead to real estate purchases in the area.     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.