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Week in Review

by Lauren M. Nelson, JD on March 4th, 2013

Kroger | Burrus Week in Review

CASES

University General Hospital v. Siemens Medical Solutions
A lawsuit concerning a contractual dispute was dismissed pursuant to a settlement agreement, but the agreed judgment was not signed by the trial court for four months. A Houston appellate court found this order void, noting that the trial court’s plenary power had expired after the case was dismissed with prejudice and the appropriate remedy was to file a new suit to enforce the agreement.

McAllen Hospitals v. Gomez
After a defendant hospital filed a medical lien against an accident victim, the patient challenged the validity of the lien, sought declaratory relief against the hospital, and filed a Deceptive Trade Practices Act claim. The hospital’s motion to dismiss for failure to file a Chapter 74 report was denied by the trial court. The Corpus Christi appellate court determined that the DTPA claim qualified as a health care liability claim because billing constitutes a “professional or administrative service[] directly related to health care” and the patient’s bill was the source of his alleged mental anguish claim. The patient’s challenge against the lien did not constitute a health care liability claim because filing a lien constitutes a claim against the patient, not a service related to health care.

NEWS

Spa Owner Ordered to Stop Practicing Medicine
A spa owner accused of treating a customer’s pregnancy as a urinary tract infection has been ordered to refrain from practicing medicine by the Texas Medical Board. She maintains that her customer refused to believe she was pregnant, prompting the spa owner to treat her for a urinary tract infection. The spa owner received a medical degree in Mexico and asserts she only treated family and close friends in the US.

Texas Medical Board Adopts Rule Changes
The Texas Medical Board has adopted new provisions including a restriction prohibiting Board members from appearing at disciplinary or licensure hearings on behalf of applicants or licensees. The Board has also issued new rules regarding show compliance proceedings, office-based anesthesia practices, and pain management clinic applications.

CHRISTUS St. Catherine Launches New Emergency Care Service
CHRISTUS St. Catherine has opened a Fast Track section in its emergency department to provide emergency care for conditions such as the flu, allergies, sprains, and minor broken bones, infections and wounds. The Fast Track section is designed to provide fast, full-service care for patients and reduce emergency department wait times.

Hendrick Medical Center Names New Board Chair
Hendrick Medical Center has selected Ward D. Hayes, the senior pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Sweetwater, as its new Chair. Hayes, who has served on the Board for 16 years, is a certified public accountant who was a vice president at First National Bank in Rotan prior to entering the ministry.

Houston to Host Major Medical Conference
Starting in April 2014 Houston will begin hosting the Medical World Americas Conference and Expo, a North American branch of German-based MEDICA, the largest medical tradeshow in the world. The German medical conference attracts more than 135,000 visitors and 4,500 exhibitors from over 120 countries. Officials expect it will take some time for the Houston conference to grow, but believe that it will become a substantial medical conference and trade show.

Artificial Intelligence Framework Could Boost Health Care Efficiency
Researchers at Indiana University have developed an artificial-intelligence framework expected to reduce health care costs and improve patient outcomes. The system is used to simulate numerous alternative sequential decision paths to develop treatment plans.

US Doctors Training Colleagues Overseas
US health care providers have volunteered to provide treatment overseas for many years through programs like the Peace Corps, but in recent years doctors and nurses have increasingly been volunteering to help train future doctors and nurses in countries like Haiti, Tanzania, Uganda and Malawi.

Houston-area Man Convicted in $19 Million Health Care Fraud Case
A Houston-area man has pled guilty to conspiring to defraud Medicare and Medicaid with a Sugar Land physician accused of ordering medically unnecessary diagnostic tests and other procedures totaling more than $19 million.

Study Finds Misdiagnoses Frequent
Researchers who examined electronic health records from a large, urban Veterans Affairs facility and a private health system found a large number of missed diagnoses and estimate that 150,000 patient deaths or disabilities are attributable to diagnostic errors annually. The study suggests many of these mistakes are related to the information received, or omitted, when medical histories are taken and physical exams are performed.

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