June 1, 2010 Recent News




The LA Times reports that women are being refused healthcare at hospitals due to religious convictions of the hospitals.  They give as an example the recent firing of a nun along with her excommunication because she was part of a hospital board that allowed an emergency abortion at the hospital in Phoenix.  The article goes on to state that women are being denied contraceptive and abortion services.

The New York Times has an article showing money for the risk pools created by Obamacare is lacking.  This is the reason so many states opted out of the program.  The program is to temporarily cover several million people but the money allocated will not cover 250,000.  The government when confronted said that the states should be happy since the Feds will pick up 95% of Medicaid payments between 2014 and 2019.  This does not answer the potential problem.  There is very little hope for the states in 2020 when they have to take on the Medicaid population. 

Several interesting stories about the insurers and hospitals in the People's Republic of Massachusetts.  All know their universal health system is not working due to underfunding.  The legislature would not allow the insurers to raise rates so the insurers are cutting rates to hospitals and large physician groups.  This may lead to patients needing to switch plans and therefore physicians.  The insurers are losing money and that is not an acceptable business model.  The four major health insurers in the Republic had first quarter losses.  Most of it coming due to the Republic not letting market forces work the way they are supposed to.  The insurers do have a surplus but that will not last.  In the meantime the hospitals also have large reserves but if they don't get adequate payments they will also be going through their reserves.  This is the perfect example of government interference with supply and demand.

Congress still refuses to fix the SGR.  They continue to tinker and the Medicare program falters.  Texas has seen a major increase in physicians dropping out of Medicare completely.  Many more, especially primary care physicians, are not taking all comers on Medicare.  Others are raising their prices to others or decreasing wages and benefits for their staff.  If this Texas revolution goes to other states the public will have the Congressional heads in November, no matter the party.           Top


It is hard to believe but about 4000 heart echo exams at Harlem Hospital were sitting in a computer and unread by any physician.  The CEO fired the chief of medicine and demoted the medical director.  He also reported both to the state.  Physicians from other city hospitals have been busy reading the echos.  Over the past three years about half of the echos were not read.  How could that occur?  The techs at the hospital were given the authority to pull out those which seemed abnormal and give them to the physicians.  Nobody bothered with the rest.  I wonder how much blame should go to the CEO for allowing this procedure and for the understaffing at the hospital.

The New York Times has a follow-up piece stating that 200 of the patients died.  The hospital employees have been instructed not to speak to the press or anyone else about the problem.  There are potential huge law suits for the hospital and city in the wake of this fiasco.

There is a major rift between the City of Hope Hospital and its physicians.  The hospital wants to put in a foundation controlled by the hospital and put all the physicians in the foundation.  This is legal in California but only as a way to get around the California law against physicians working for anyone not a physician.  The physicians are against the foundation and want to remain contract independent contractors.  The contract runs out at the end of the year and City of Hope better start recruiting quickly.  Starting January 1, 2011, they will need a new staff.        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.