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Healthcare Update — 04-30-2014

Man shoots himself in the head inside New Jersey emergency department. Wanted to commit suicide in front of girlfriend who happened to work at hospital. Second story about incident here.

Florida back surgeon and malpractice attorney fighting back and forth with each other. Attorney loses malpractice case, then violates confidentiality order regarding case and is fined $23,400 by the trial court. But it’s not over yet. The attorney had the fine overturned by an appeal court and now the trial court has to re-decide the case.

Superior Court Judge John A. Agostini orders the cessation of internationally accepted economic principles by forcing a Massachusetts hospital emergency department to stay open even though the hospital has no funding to continue providing services. Also orders creditors not to take possession of hospital property and utilities not to off power, water, and heat. But he didn’t order his paycheck to be sent to the hospital to fund all of these mandates. Ooooh.
A decision written by Agostini said his order was made to “avoid an immediate threat to the health and safety of the residents in the [hospital’s] service area from the abrupt cessation of operations” and to give the parties time “to pursue planning for longer term provision of emergency medical and other services for residents.”
In addition, some town residents formed their own “Occupy” movement by camping out in the hospital cafeteria all night even after the hospital was supposed to close. They called it “Occupy Cafeteria” but were later forced to actually eat the hospital food which caused them to scatter like cockroaches under a spotlight.

Another Massachusetts hospital decides to merge its psychiatric emergency services with its hospital emergency department. Yeah. What could go wrong there? Where’s this Judge Agostini with his magic orders now?

This whole case just makes my skin crawl. A nurse’s ex-boyfriend goes to her home uninvited, then gets mad when she receives text message from another man and strangles her to death. His mug shot shows the scratches all over his face when the nurse was fighting for her life. Then he reportedly uses her stethoscope to listen to her heart to make sure she’s dead.

Private patient records from National Health System used by private company to target ads on Twitter and Facebook. Government making money off of the illnesses of patients? Good thing we have HIPAA in the US. Oh. Wait. HIPAA doesn’t apply to the government.

Americans’ acceptance of scientific data is haphazard at best. According to this study (.pdf), 80% of people strongly believe that smoking causes cancer, but half of people doubt the Big Bang theory, almost half have doubts about the safety and effectiveness of childhood vaccines, and a third still have doubts that antibiotic overuse causes drug resistant bacteria.
In other news, the same researchers expressed surprise at just how easily hospital administrators accept data from patient satisfaction companies when that data is statistically insignificant. One was quoted as saying “Garden slugs have higher IQs than some of the people relying on these satisfaction data points.”

ICD 10 implementation has been delayed and issues like this are probably part of the reason. The dumbass(es) creating the codes included codes for events that have never occurred and could never occur in the history of earth. For example, the article notes that ICD 10 code T63813A is for “toxic effect of contact with venomous frog, assault, initial encounter.” The problem is that frogs don’t produce venom, so this could never happen. Or perhaps the patient suffered from V9227XA, meaning that they experienced “drowning and submersion due to being washed overboard from water-skis.”
This would be funny, except that it’s not. Because if the medical provider doesn’t select the exactly appropriate code, then either the medical provider won’t get paid or the medical provider could possibly be accused of fraud and be forced to pay huge fines or be subject to incarceration for false billing. After all, things such as code F521 “sexual aversion disorder” are easily distinguishable from code G4482, a “headache associated with sexual activity,” aren’t they?

Department of Veterans Affairs gets caught hiding data about 19 veterans who died due to delays in receiving medical care and another 63 who were seriously injured. When reporter tried to get more information about the patients through a Freedom of Information Act request, the VA denied the request. In fact, the article notes that the VA routinely denies or fails to respond to inquiries from the press or from government committees.
Remember, this is the same government that wants to increase transparency by selectively disclosing the amount of money that it pays to physicians.

The phrase “Go screw yourself” just took on a whole new meaning. Scientists are now growing vaginas in laboratories and then implanting them into people. And that’s as much as I’m going to say about this subject.

Debunking people who debunk emergency department myths. Wow. Out of four “myths” being debunked, only one of the “debunkings” is legitimate to me. Can you guess which one?

Texas nurse arrested for poisoning her 4 year old daughter with salt. Child suffers brain injury because of it.

Simple solution: Ban them, of course. There were 20,783 ED visits in 2011 relating to high-caffeine drinks. Eleven percent of the patients were hospitalized. Oh, and if that isn’t enough, energy drinks have also been linked to “marijuana use, sexual risk taking, fighting, smoking, drinking and prescription drug misuse” in college students.
Guess what, colleges have been linked to “marijuana use, sexual risk taking, fighting, smoking, drinking and prescription drug misuse” in college students, also. Maybe we should publish an article critical of colleges next.

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