November 1, 2017 Recent News





Physicians in general do not take Medicaid patients in California.  Why should they?  One can not lose money on each patient and make it up on volume.  On volume, one just loses more money.  The Sacramento Bee says just that in an article.  They point out that Medical pays 6% more now fo physicians for services than they did in 1985.  The state passed a cigarette tax last year but the money that was supposed to go to physicians to treat patients went to other things as is so common in the state.  For a typical office visit a physician gets about $50.  A office visit at a federally qualified health center gets $150.  It is true that one can have more done at a center than an office but try to get referred to a specialist.  Good luck.

The Dems are trying to outdo each other proposing single payer healthcare at the same time as Canadians are suing to get private insurance.  The Modern Healthcare article states that there is a current lawsuit to allow private Canadian insurers to compete for the provincial health plans.  The suit details the long waiting lists for surgery and other care.  Canada is the only single payer plan in the world.  The others have a private public mix.  The Canadian insurers already sell plans that cover that which the government does not such as drugs, dentistry, mental health and medical supplies.

Since the administration threats to stop subsidies Ocare has become about 38% more expensive.  Insurers have put a 7% surcharge on some policies.  In a twist there will be more people paying zero for their healthcare insurance than ever before since their subsidies will be higher than the cost of the plans.

California questioned Anthem's premium increases of 40.3%, so it settled on 37.3%.  This shows the futility of California regulators.

A family is not happy after being billed for the care their mother received 26 years earlier.  The story is not accurate as it intimates that it is the hospital that is billing.  That is false.  It is the state Medicaid system that is recouping the money spent for the mother's care from the estate.  Many states do this.        Top


It's about time.  Brenda Yee has finally lost her job as CEO of Chinese Hospital in San Francisco.  She started in 1999 and has been in the midst of a law suit between the physicians, the hospital and the hospital HMO.  She was the head of the HMO and the hospital and was paid $1.5 million in 2015.  These will now be separate positions.  The hospital lost $14.4 million in 2016. 

Anthem is very smart.  They have stopped allowing their patients to obtain MRI and CT scans at hospitals in 2018 unless necessary as an emergency.  Let us hope more insurers follow suit.  Private radiologists can give better service with the same equipment at a much lower price.  In Virginia, an knee MRI costs $1400 at a hospital and $417 at a physician office.  An abdominal CT costs $1200 at a hospital and $385 at an office.

Lifeline Health in the Buffalo, New York area, is shutting down three health centers by the end of the year due to lack of physicians.  They do not want to live there.

The VA Nebraska-Western Iowa system apparently has a set of books detailing those with mental health issues.  the VA then puts these people on a waiting list and never calls them.

The Denver VA has cancelled surgeries due to a lack of anesthesiologists and certified nurse anesthetists.  Some vets are leaving for the private sector for the needed care.

The Detroit Medical Center is back in the news.  Again, that is not a good thing.  The Department of Orthopedics members (twenty-six or a majority) have sent a letter to the chair of DMC and Tenet, the owner of the hospital, asking why Dr. Khaled Saleh left after only 16 months and also want him reinstated as Chair of Ortho.  The two companies are stonewalling, another bad sign.  

Summa is trying to turn around a huge blot on its name.  They now have had their probation on their ED residency training lifted.  They would like to see a new class of residents starting in July, 2019.  

Concierge medicine is alive and now in the hospitals.  Major hospital systems in the country allow payments for easy access to employed physicians.  The payments range from $2000 to $6000 annually.  The hospital restricts how many patients each practice may enroll.  Thephysicians love it as hey can spend more time per patient.  

Brothers of Charity, a Catholic chain of Belgium psychiatric hospitals has defied the church.  They are going with the country's rule that euthanasia is legal. The church is threatening them with loss of their Catholic identity if it didn't stop the practice.  The system is ignoring the Vatican.

California's Tulare Hospital is in crisis.  The board is in a fight with the management company and has now gone to court to oust the company.  They then shut the hospital by temporally suspend its state license and then have Community Medical Centers of Fresno take over the management.        Top


I read an article on the decline and demise of the hospital physician lounge.  It described the lounge as a place where physicians used to gather for a respite and collegial curbside consultations and general chatter.  Hospitals have now denigrated physicians to a lower status and have used the space of other things. Where a lounge now exists there are no more chatter or consultations but zombies looking at screens and trying to input junk so they can finally get home.  

In a different article the physician author states that hospital administrators should not ask how best to manage their physicians but how to engage and partner with them.  

About 8000 people have signed a petition to reinstate Dr. Anil Nanda to chair of LSU Shreveport neurosurgery.  He had been removed by Chancellor Ghali for wanting to go in a different direction.  The people in his department backed their chair.  

The physicians at Willis Knighton have voted no confidence in their CEO James Elrod.  The Board voted to keep Elrod to run the Louisiana system.  Elrod has been at Willis for 52 years.        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.