Home / Healthcare Updates / Healthcare Update — 06-17-2014

Healthcare Update — 06-17-2014

Read more healthcare-related news from around the web on my other blog at Whitecoat’s Call Room at EPMonthly.com

Investigative reporting by ProPublica shows that New Jersey ambulance services billing the government a lot of money for nonemergent taxi rides. 37 companies billed Medicare for more than 50 trips per patient while in 33 other states, not a single ambulance company billed for that many rides per patient. Dialysis center transport is big business. Transport to and from dialysis centers increased ninefold between 2002 and 2011 and Medicare spent $24 billion on providing care for dialysis patients in 2011 alone, with $890 million of those expenses going just for ambulance rides.
Would be helpful to know patient demographics before drawing conclusions, but the data do raise some eyebrows.

5’2″ patient weighing 270 lbs sedated with propofol before undergoing upper endoscopy. Patient wakes up during procedure and begins thrashing about, yells in pain for 20-30 seconds, then falls unconscious. She later died. Family wins $7.9 million judgment, successfully arguing that the patient should have been put under general anesthesia for the procedure because she was so obese. Of course, if they had intubated her for the procedure and the patient had a bad outcome, the doctors would have been criticized because they did intubate her.
Fear the bad outcome. They’ll always find something to second guess you about.

Veteran’s Clinic in Coatesville, PA settles four wrongful death claims for total of $1.2 million. Interesting link on the article site shows how patient was “set on fire” during surgery and the VA offered him $30,000 for his injuries before he ended up filing a lawsuit for $1.3 million.

Patients gone wild. In this case, emergency department visitors gone wild. Two family members get into argument in emergency department. One whips out a kitchen knife and stabs the other one. Latter person becomes a patient, former becomes an arrestee.

Impressive story about how University of Arizona surgeons removed a 47 pound tumor from a patient’s stomach. The liposarcoma had invaded multiple spots on the patient’s inferior vena cava and engulfed a kidney, making removal quite difficult. And the surgery was covered by insurance made available through Obamacare.

GOP pushing plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Cough up adverse information about the VA … get demoted or suspended. Not only will illegal retaliation chill further episodes of whistleblowing and decrease public inquiry into this dysfunctional system, but I’d be willing to bet that those responsible for the retaliation will suffer no consequences whatsoever.

Nurse has license suspended for ordering ICU patient the wrong type of sandwich. Hospital administrator Dennis Johnson was quoted as saying “We have a zero-tolerance policy for terrible customer service.” With hospital reimbursement based in part on patient satisfaction scores, nursing directors at the facility were in full support stating, “If we don’t suspend these nurses’ licenses, they will never learn what’s truly important.”

Study in the journal Neurology shows that increased protein intake significantly reduces the risk of stroke. A 20 gram increase in dietary protein intake per day was associated with a 26% reduction in stroke risk. That’s as little as a chicken breast fillet or a salmon fillet each day. Unfortunately, red meat is associated with an increased stroke risk.

Impressive story about how University of Arizona surgeons removed a 47 pound tumor from a patient’s stomach. The liposarcoma had invaded multiple spots on the patient’s inferior vena cava and engulfed a kidney, making removal quite difficult. And the surgery was covered by insurance made available through Obamacare.

Four million people will be penalized by Obamacare for not being able to afford, er, um, not purchasing insurance as required under the law. One million of those earn below 200% of the federal poverty level.

Another serendipitous discovery. Drug used to treat leukemia also found to stimulate immune system to fight other cancers. Use of the drug in mice “significantly increased cancer survival rates across a broad range of tumor types, both solid and haematological cancers.” For example, mice with breast cancer survived twice as long and their cancers spread significantly less.

All of you backyard barbequers beware. Something unexpected could send you to the emergency department with an injury that could require surgery to fix.

8 comments

  1. I think the site (GomerBlog) with the story about the nurse ordering the wrong sandwich is satire. . .

    • Because he included links to GomerBlog (to two different stories) on each of his blogs today (at EP Monthly and here), I assumed he knew it was satire and was throwing those links in to see if he could catch anyone. It seems improbable to me that an ED doc wouldn’t recognize the two posts he linked (the Percocet one and the Nurse one) as satire…?

  2. If you were serious about the sandwich story, you’ve been had, doc.

    Gomerblog is the medical equivalent of The Onion.
    (Scan the other headlines: “ER places bowl full of Percocet in waiting room, lowers visits.” etc.

    The fact that hospital administrators have zero say in licensure suspensions, and that no state nursing practice act covers waitressing should have been tip-offs too.

    What’s really sad is that such a ridiculous story sounds close to believable, thus the room for parody is like ice skating on a piece of spaghetti.

  3. I thought it was perfectly obvious both were satire… besides, only an administrator could come up with the Percocet candy bowl idea.

  4. This cracks me up. I’ve had sooooo many e-mails about the Gomerblog links.
    I got it.
    Mandy was spot on. I figured that once people caught on to the site, they’d read all of the rest of the posts on the site because they are so damn funny and then future links to the site would be “old news.”
    I’m still posting another one next week, though. Too good to pass up.

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