Home / Healthcare Updates / Healthcare Update — 05-29-2013

Healthcare Update — 05-29-2013

See more Healthcare Updates on my other blog at EP Monthly.com

Cool graphic from Diederich Healthcare regarding 2013 Medical Malpractice Payout Analysis.
Among the stats: Medical malpractice payouts have steadily declined since 2003. Five states represent nearly half of all payouts: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, and … you guessed it … FLORIDA.
Nine of the top ten states in per-capita payouts were in the New England region.
Failure to diagnose was the most common allegation and caused the largest percentage of payouts. But don’t forget, everyone, doctors do waaaay too much diagnostic testing.

Schools require a doctor’s note for sunscreen? I’m betting that if the schools had to pay for the doctor’s visit, that requirement would vanish.

First entry for this week’s Patient’s Gone Wild … Pennsylvania patient grabs emergency department physician and throws her to the floor, injuring her legs and hands. Then head-butts a police officer and urinates in the back of the squad car on his way to the hoosegow.
Second story on the incident is here.

Study from Pediatrics shows that in Peru, where antibiotics are available without a prescription: 85% of caregivers respected a doctor’s advice not to use antibiotics for diarrhea or a common cold in their children.
What conclusions can be drawn from this study?
I could make a lot of conclusions, but one thing to think about: See how a collaborative relationship is established between doctors and patients when medicine is deregulated? Let patients buy all the medications over the counter that they want. When they don’t get better, then they’ll seek out doctors’ advice rather than viewing them as someone they have to pay in order to get a prescription for inappropriate antibiotics.

Well … Grandma’s ashes are still on the mantle. Massachusetts audit discovers that millions of dollars are being paid to dead beneficiaries. 178 people were claiming dead people as dependents.

Another lesson in the difference between insurance and health care. Employers being courted by insurance brokers offering barebones plans that barely meet Obamacare requirements but that do not cover surgery, x-rays, prenatal care, or hospitalizations. This way everyone gets “insurance,” employers avoid the Obamacare fines, and employees get stuck with inadequate health care, but everyone can cheer at the news stories describing how many people now have health care “insurance”. Woo hoo!
Saw this coming a mile away. Wonder if Uncle Sam will make additional changes in the law in order to force employers to provide additional coverage.

Speaking about Obamacare, a majority of Americans say that their health care situation will be worse under the Unaffordable Insurance Act. That number includes 85% of all Republicans and 51% of all independents. Only 24% of Democrats believe that Obamacare will make things worse for them. 56% of those polled want to go back to the old health care system.
Let me guess … FoxNews smear campaign against the Demorats.

In Taiwan emergency department, a well-known actor punched an emergency department physician in the back of the head for delaying placing the actor’s mother on a ventilator. The Tiawanese Society of Emergency Medicine reported that 80% of emergency personnel have been verbally or physically abused and that 30% have been attacked.

Patient satisfaction in Morocco … at 66% favorable, the results are about 2 standard deviations worse than in United States emergency departments. But they’re still way better than that schmuck Press Ganey CEO Patrick Ryan.

From the “If You Measure It, Someone Will Study It” Department: Obese patients are 52% more likely to doctor shop and 85% more likely to use the emergency department than are their normal-weight counterparts.
And this helps enhance medicine and/or patient care how?

Arkansas nursing home gets hit with $5.2 million judgment after resident complains of abdominal pain, doctor orders patient transferred to hospital, but order gets misplaced and patient moans in pain all afternoon. Found dead later that evening.

Ooooooh Yeahhhh, Brother. Feel the burrrrrn! Hulk Hogan tweets pictures of his fingers looking like boiled Snausages after his boat radiator exploded on him and burned his hand.

Chicago’s Roseland Hospital cutting staff – including emergency department nurses and managers – to try to stay afloat. Currently the hospital is $7 million in debt and can’t generate sufficient cash to cover expenses due to its patient demographics.


  1. From the WSJ article on the “skinny” bare-bones health insurance plans that don’t cover surgery, x-rays, prenatal care, or hospitalizations (google “Employers Eye Bare-Bones Health Plans Under New Law” and click WSJ link to get past the paywall):

    Administration officials confirmed in interviews that the skinny plans, in concept, would be sufficient to avoid the across-the-workforce penalty. Several expressed surprise that employers would consider the approach.


    We wouldn’t have anticipated that there’d be demand for these types of band-aid plans in 2014,” said Robert Kocher, a former White House health adviser who helped shepherd the law. “Our expectation was that employers would offer high quality insurance.”

    Seriously? You leave a loophole through which large companies can “cover” their workers with insurance policies which basically don’t include anything but the much-vaunted “preventive health” services, but don’t expect anyone to take up that option? Has anyone in the Obama administration ever worked in the real world?

  2. WC…Bare bones or not, let me say that while the cost of my policy that I don’t have…remember, $436 to $841, has doubled, what you get doesn’t change. For example: I used to get 4 sick visits per person, with $40 copay, no RX coverage, no labs. (A mammogram costs $260, with added cost for step up…a physical at the old doc was $250 + 190-ish for labs.)
    The same exact plan would now cost $841. The kicker is that going to a higher cost plan beyond mine at $1070, and you get the Mammogram, Pap. But an ER visit co-pay is $350!!! You still have to meet the deductibles…and they are all at 10k!!
    Tuesday I went to a dinner for our Speaker in NC. Met a small businessman who has 300 full and part-time employees for his cleaning business. To comply with the healthcare of O…he will lose more than half a million dollars!! There is no provision in the bill for those already covered under other plans and he is forced to be taxed astronomically. Again, I get so incensed because I will pay a tax on top of what I already contribute to the 72.6 million people already on medicaid…They get something for my blood sweat and tears and I am without. It. Frosts. Me.

  3. Dark-Side Nurse

    In the hospital unit where I work, approximately 50-60% of the staff are “per diem” because we are covered by either our spouse’s health care insurance or by privately purchased plans. Most of us work 36-50 hours per week, & have always been treated as full-time employees who just didn’t need our employer’s health plan. Because the Unaffordable Care Act does not make allowances for employees who have coverage through other plans, the hospital has notified us that by 1/1/14, we will all have to convert to full-time status, or an occasional part-time status (that will NOT be allowed to work more than 30 hours per week averaged) so that they can provide insurance for us in compliance with the new requirements.. This is going to result in a pay decrease of $7-15 PER HOUR, depending on the experience level of the individual nurse. If we choose to convert to OPT, we will still face a significant loss of income, as not only is the pay level lower than our current FT per diem pay, but we will lose the ability to work for overtime pay.

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