February 15, 2019 Recent News





Optum was awarded a $55.2 Billion contract to place vets into private care if they can not get appointments at a VA in a reasonable time.

A study showed the driving force in rising healthcare costs is hospitals not physicians.  Why anyone would need a study to know that is strange as it is a given.  From 2007 to 2014 hospital costs rose 42% versus 18% for physicians.  For hospital based outpatient care hospital costs rose 25% versus 6% for physicians.

Healthcare figured in President trump's State of the Union Address.  He talked about wanting hospitals, drug companies and insurers to disclose real not chargemaster prices.  He wants Congress to pass a law for this.  He also wants Congress to pass a law to lower drug prices.  He also has directed HHS Secretary Azar to do more on getting rid of HIV within 10 years.

The California lefties now have something concrete to work for.  A UC Berkeley study has shown that Universal Health Care in the state will run $17 Billion per year.  This is not single payer but only to get all insured and on private healthcare, not Medicaid.  The study says this can be funded by a 3% tax on hospitals, nursing homes and insurance companies and drug companies along with payments from the currently uninsured and earn too much to qualify for Medicaid (about $123/mo per patient) along with a transportation tax on all air

California has strict laws against opt out fro vaccinations.  There is a problem with physicians giving in to the anti-vaxers and allowing medical exemptions.  they are doing this for extra money.  This may force the state to take matters into its own hand and force physicians to get permission from a state public health official prior to writing an exemption.  A few spoiling it for the many.        Top


The feds have threatened Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital with loss of funding (which will never happen) due to their miserable showings and patient harm in their cardiac program.  They couched it in terms of their problems with meeting the federal rules on infection control, QA, how it manages physicians and its leadership structure.  

Will the medical staff sue the hospital?  The staff at Long Beach, California, St. Mary's Hospital has threatened to sue the hospital after the administration has threatened to remove the cantankerous physicians in the radiology and anesthesiology departments.  Those departments have been critical of how Dignity Health is running the hospital and how they are affecting patient care.  The MEC has initiated a dispute resolution process as the first step to have the physicians continue to be on staff.  The publicity has already hurt the hospital greatly. 

A newspaper article blasted South Florida's cosmetic clinic Jolie Plastic Surgery.  the lengthily article shows that no plastic surgery is done there but only cosmetic surgery by unqualified (non plastic surgeon) doctors.  It describes the clinic owner who has remained the steady owner through multiple name change of the clinic, Dr. Ismael Labrador, as one who has been disciplined for poor medical care and is now in charge of the clinic where at least eight patients have died after their procedures, a huge percentage.  It is a shame that people fall for this type of medicine an that the clinics are not better looked after by the state.

Kaiser Permanente has released its year end report.  It shows that they increased their revenues and operating income but lost net income due to the stock market.  The health plan membership go up 3.5% year over year to 12.5 million members.  Their operating income was $1.9 Billion up from $1.7 Billion last year.

California's Mendocino Coast District Hospital needs to reevaluate its decisions.  The Board had decided to fire the CEO and then held an open meeting the following week.  They got an earful.  The main blast came from the orthopedic surgeon who is the main revenue producer stated he will be leaving the hospital due to the board's being hostile to administration and that they are doing the bidding of a vocal community group.   He said he would stay if the CEO was returned and the three board members that voted to fire him resigned.  The COS is concerned that the decision was made hastily by a new board without consultation.  The chief of Oncology said instability is not how to attract physicians.  A retired nurse talked about the revolving CEO job and the monetary costs related to the firing of the current CEO.          Top


The Florida physicians are following the lead of their neighbor, Georgia.  About 25% of the Florida physicians have not taken a CME on opiod prescribing that was required by 1/31.  They are now sending letters to the physicians that they have 15 days to take the course or a formal complaint will be initiated.  They can not afford to do go after all the physicians.  Not enough money.        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.