Healthcare Update 02-18-2013


Some hospital CEOs just don’t like being questioned. When one hospital chief of staff led some other physicians in questioning the manner in which a hospital was being run, hospital CEO Bruce Mogel allegedly had black gloves and a gun planted in the doctor’s car. Then someone called 911 and reported that someone was driving down the street waving a firearm. The doctor was arrested in the hospital parking lot and was strip searched at the jail.
The doctor sued. During depositions, a witness alleged that the CEO claimed “People do not know how powerful I am.”
Now a jury has found the hospital liable for $5.2 million.
It appears that former CEO Bruce Mogel got away scot-free … and is now a “consultant” at the Nelson Financial Group in Arizona.

As a follow up to the article about wait times in upstate New York emergency departments, the CEO of one hospital provides a great response … and reiterates that health care insurance doesn’t equal health care access.
“With a severe primary care shortage and some practices without after hours and/or weekend care, people are forced to seek care that is available … [j]ust around the corner, millions of Americans are about to have health coverage. Where will they seek care if we have not expanded access to primary care?  In the emergency room.”

Government regulations never seem to get less onerous, do they? HIPAA regulations change again. Now doctors can be held liable if their business associates cause patient privacy breaches, penalties increase, and privacy notices have to be modified.

For some reason, I seem to read about events like this on a regular basis. Another car crashes into hospital emergency department. This schmoe wasn’t seeking medical care, he was intoxicated and trying to get away from police.

What would happen if Press Ganey ratings were superimposed on the Wong-Baker pain scale (i.e. the “smiley faces”)? GruntDoc shows you.

There are 313 million people in this country. In 2008, there were 110 million cases of sexually transmitted diseases. According to census data from 2010 (.pdf file), about 60 million people are under age 14 and about 40 million people are over age 65 – both groups being lower risk for contracting an STD. That leaves 213 million people to harbor 110 million cases of STDs. To be fair, the 110 million number doesn’t separate out people who have more than one STD, so it doesn’t necessarily mean that about half the country has STDs.
Even more scary, the article states that people 15-24 accounted for half of all sexually transmitted infections. That’s 55 million STDs when census data for 2010 shows that there are only 44 million people in that age demographic.
Those aren’t very good odds.

Ummm. You know those little spinning blades that chop things up in the blender? Yeah. They’re … sharp. When Consumer Reports’ camera man cuts his finger on a blender blade, the magazine does a little research and discovers that blender injuries have tripled in the past decade and are responsible for more than 7000 ED visits per year.

More than 30 states have decided not to create Obamacare health insurance exchanges, instead opting to let the federal government do it for them.
The Heritage Foundation has a brief discussion on some of the issues involved in the decision.

Wacky court verdicts Aussie style. Court awards liver cancer patient $350,000 because doctor failed to refer patient to a weight loss clinic.
The patient was 300 pounds and 5 feet tall. The court ruled that the patient’s terminal liver cancer was caused by the patient’s obesity. The patient developed liver disease which progressed to cirrhosis, which progressed to liver failure and eventually to liver cancer — all because of his obesity.
Looking at the patient’s picture, I’d be curious to know how much of the patient’s weight was due to ascites in his stomach – from the liver failure.
Hat tip to Student Paramedic for the link.

Remember ER Doc and Psych Doc? After more than a year’s hiatus they’rrrrre baaaaaack. Serenity Now Hospital is now seeing patients. Go check in.

Madness x 1 million. Girlvet’s blog gets her millionth visit. Congrats.

Government covering up Legionnaire’s Disease deaths at Veterans Hospitals? No way. Falsifying documents related to the outbreak? Unthinkable.
Of course if private hospitals did this, someone would be thrown in jail for something.

Patient’s gone wild … well maybe not wild, but surly. Yeah. That’s it. Surly. Johns Hopkins patient starts yelling at police officer in ED, tells him to come closer so he can grab his gun and shoot him. Then pokes police officer in chest. Later charged with second-degree assault and “surly conduct.”


  1. as far as i can tell, the investigation of the VA incident is not yet complete. the VA OIG will issue a report at some point. they will file criminal charges if necessary and warranted. the OIG strikes fear in the hearts of employees. you will be able to find the report on the VA OIG website when it’s completed, along with recommendations.

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