NY Times, May 13, 2013, By RONI CARYN RABIN Dr. Alfred J. Tria is the chief of orthopedic surgery at St. Peter’s University Hospital, a 478-bed facility in New Brunswick, N.J., and to the medical technology company Smith & Nephew, his good word is worth a million bucks. Well, $940,857, to be precise. That’s how much the company paid Dr. Tria in fees for promoting its products and training doctors in Asia to use them from 2009 to 2011, according to disclosures required by the state of Massachusetts, where Dr. Tria is licensed. In 2010, Dr. Tria earned $421,905 from private industry — more than any other Massachusetts-licensed physician that year. Dr. Tria may be an outlier, but gifts and payments to physicians from drug and medical device companies have been rampant in medicine for decades. Read more
The New York Times | By BARRY MEIER, JO CRAVEN McGINTY and JULIE CRESWELL | May 8, 2013 A hospital in Livingston, N.J., charged $70,712 on average to implant a pacemaker, while a hospital in nearby Rahway, N.J., charged $101,945. The government has released data on bills submitted from virtually every hospital in the country in 2011 for the 100 most common treatments and procedures performed in hospitals. Above, a hip replacement surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in 2011. In Saint Augustine, Fla., one hospital typically billed nearly $40,000 to remove a gallbladder using minimally invasive surgery, while one in Orange Park, Fla., charged $91,000. In one hospital in Dallas, the average bill for treating simple pneumonia was $14,610, while another there charged over $38,000. Data being released for the first time by the government on Wednesday shows that hospitals charge Medicare wildly differing amounts — sometimes 10 to 20 times what Medicare typically reimburses — for the same procedure, raising questions about how hospitals determine prices and why they differ so widely. Read more
Bloomberg By Charles R. Babcock - May 2, 2013 12:01 AM ET Two years ago, over objections from the hospital industry, the U.S. announced it would add data about “potentially life-threatening” mistakes made in hospitals to a website people can search to check on safety performance. Now the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is planning to strip the site of the eight hospital-acquired conditions, which include infections and mismatched blood transfusions, while it comes up with a different set. The agency said it’s taking the step because some of the eight are redundant and because an advisory panel created by the 2010 Affordable Care Act recommended regulators use other gauges. Read more
C-HIT By: Susan Jaffe |
Roberta Baxter, a 78-year-old retired instructional assistant for the Killingly school system, dislocated her kneecap after a fall in her bathroom last September. Following treatment at a local hospital, she spent seven weeks at a nursing home for rehab so that she could walk again.
While she was recovering, she and her husband Bill received the first of several bills from the nursing home. That’s when the couple learned Medicare wouldn’t cover the $16,000 cost because Roberta didn’t spend at least three consecutive days in the hospital as admitted patient, or inpatient, as Medicare requires. Instead, the four days she spent in the hospital was for “observation care.” Read more
MarketWatch.com April 23, 2013, 7:14 p.m. EDT By Jen Wieczner As if adapting to health-care reform and curbing the “nightmare bacteria” weren’t challenge enough, hospitals are increasingly plagued by another problem: bedbugs. More than a third of pest-management companies treated bedbug infestations in hospitals in 2012, 6% more than the year before and more than twice as many as in 2010, according to a survey released today by the National Pest Management Association. The percentage of exterminators dealing with bedbugs in nursing homes has also almost doubled since 2010, to 46%. Bedbug experts also report seeing them in ambulances. Read more
AJC.COM April 28, 2013 By Carrie Teegardin The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Airline passengers don’t review the preflight checklist with the pilot, and restaurant customers aren’t expected to check the kitchen and the staff for cleanliness.
But many health care experts say it’s wise for hospital patients and their families to ask doctors and nurses to wash their hands, remove unnecessary catheters and explain how they will prevent an infection from developing after surgery.
The advice is an acknowledgement of reality: a hospital can be a dangerous place to spend the night. Read more
The Wall Street Journal — NEW YORK — (BUSINESS WIRE) — April 19, 2013 — Maximizing patient safety is the top priority for hospital C-Suite executives and Risk Managers in the United States — but, “lack of teamwork, negative culture and poor communication” will present barriers to patient safety in the future — according to a new survey commissioned by American International Group, Inc. (AIG) in consultation with patient safety expert, Dr. Marty Makary, MD, MPH.
The results revealed a tension between what hospital leaders perceive as their number one priority in 2013, patient safety (64% C-Suite and 62% risk managers), and their number one threat, failing to maximize financial sustainability (60% C-Suite and 62% Risk Managers). While nearly all respondents (96% of C-Suite and Risk Managers) say their hospital has a “culture of patient safety,” one-third (33% of C-suite and 37% of Risk Managers) acknowledge that their hospital needs to undergo major changes to maintain that culture in the future. Read more
New York Times By DENISE GRADY Published: April 16, 2013 - Hospitals make money from their own mistakes because insurers pay them for the longer stays and extra care that patients need to treat surgical complications that could have been prevented, a new study finds.
Changing the payment system, to stop rewarding poor care, may help to bring down surgical complication rates, the researchers say. If the system does not change, hospitals have little incentive to improve: in fact, some will wind up losing money if they take better care of patients. Read more
New York Times By ANDREW POLLACK Published: April 12, 2013 After a crash inspection program, federal regulators said Thursday that they had found numerous unsafe practices at about 30 compounding pharmacies, the same type of facility responsible for the tainted drug that caused a deadly meningitis outbreak last year.
Among the problems found were unidentified black particles floating in vials of supposedly sterile medicines, rust and mold in clean rooms where such drugs are made, improper air flow, and clothing that left workers’ skin exposed. Read more