by Lyle Denniston Hospitals know that medical care decisions often have legal consequences, which makes it all the more important to know what the law requires. But when judges can't agree, and there also is some ambiguity in the way government officials see a legal issue affecting care decisions, hospitals may need to go to the ultimate authority – the U.S. Supreme Court – for an ...

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How many murders did you have in your hospital last year? Did they involve sporadic or serial killers? What? You don't know? You really haven't thought that much about it? I'm not surprised. Chances are you might have had some murders but they were not discovered. I'm not only talking about the angry patient or family member who brings a gun to the ER or a patient room to seek revenge for a ...

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A malpractice lawsuit claims that a doctor treated a patient negligently and that this treatment caused harm, and it seeks monetary compensation. Negligence means that a physician failed to provide the standard of care expected by the prevailing medical custom. Juries decide cases that are tried, but most cases are settled or dropped. Lawyers get paid (typically 35 percent) only when they win or settle a case. A successful malpractice system ...

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On my drive in to work this past week I came across this: A bus-side advertisement for a local hospital (sadly, not mine) claiming that it was “home to the city’s best transplant outcomes.” Normally I drive right by these moving billboards without paying much attention. But this time I immediately got excited, whipped out my cell phone and snapped ...

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by Steve P. Sanders, DO, MBA Are hospitals coming clean? An article recently published in Health Affairs reveals details of a government–required survey conducted in 2008 and 2009. The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey or CAHPS is required of all hospitals receiving and hoping to continue to receive federal funding. Analysts compared CAHPS responses between 2008 and 2009 and gleaned what they believed ...

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President Bush once said something along the lines of, "We do have universal health care in this country — just go to the emergency room." EMTALA.  The law requiring emergency rooms to treat everyone’s emergent conditions, a well meaning act that has had disastrous consequences for hospitals’ bottom lines.  A disgustingly flawed law on many levels. How do you prove it is not an emergency condition?  You work it up.  ...

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“What a shame,” said my eighty eight year old Armenian grandmother, shaking her head with sorrow, and I had to agree. “US officials charge 73 people, mostly Armenians, over a massive fraud against the country’s medical insurance system,” read the BBC headline. A (mostly) Armenian crime syndicate set up 115 sham clinics in the United States, using real doctors’ names and real patient information, stolen from different systems, to generate false ...

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Most of the illnesses that occur today are chronic like diabetes, heart disease, cancer or kidney disease. These stay with us for the rest of our lives, are debilitating, and are expensive to treat. But in many cases they are not all that difficult to prevent. Unfortunately, our dietary guidelines are of little or no help in this regard but could be. In 1941, following studies that demonstrated ...

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by Joyce Frieden A recent report from the CDC found that not enough adults were getting their tetanus booster -- specifically, their tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) booster shot. Overall, the report found that more than a third of adult patients (36.5%) were overdue on these booster shots. Although the report focused on the tetanus part of the vaccine, the editors of the Morbidity and Mortality ...

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by Ted Bacharach, MD On several occasions I was able to wander through various art museums including the Louvre and the Prado as well as several others. I was always impressed with the fervor with which the artists in the Middle Ages painted religious themes. I wondered whether they really were that religious. It was not until recently when discussing art with someone who had worked with ...

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