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Week in Review

by Kroger Burrus on March 24th, 2013

Kroger | Burrus Week in Review


Khan v. Ramsey
A home health patient with infective endocarditis sued his hospitalist after overdosing on antibiotics, alleging he was not provided adequate discharge instructions and follow-up planning. The hospitalist challenged the qualifications of the patient’s expert, a family practitioner, to render an opinion and argued the report was conclusory. The Houston appellate concluded that the expert was sufficiently familiar with the use of antibiotics to treat infectious endocarditis. The court also found that the report adequately described how the hospitalist should have provided timely discharge instructions about the risks associated with antibiotics and a plan for follow-up care to prevent an overdose.

In a related ruling, the court found that the same expert was qualified to describe the standard of care for a home health care provider because of his experience consulting with home health agencies. The court held that the expert adequately described how the home health company breached the standard of care by failing to timely recognize the symptoms of an adverse drug reaction, contacting the wrong physician about the patient’s deteriorating condition, and failing to timely contact emergency services.

Mastin v. Jelinek
After the Texas Supreme Court ruled that a plaintiff’s expert report was inadequate, the trial court ordered the plaintiff’s firm to pay $50,000 in attorney’s fees. The plaintiff’s firm argued on appeal that the defense firm waived its right to recover from it because the defense firm initially sought to recover attorney’s fees from the plaintiffs. The Corpus Christi appellate court held that there was no waiver and noted that the fees could be recovered from the plaintiff’s firm as sanctions. The court also found that $50,000 was an appropriate amount of attorney’s fees and rejected the defense firm’s request for $70,000.


Survey Finds Most British Family Doctors Provide Placebos
In a recent survey 97% of British family doctors responded that they have provided placebos or drugs with no established efficacy to patients, including prescriptions for antibiotics in response to suspected viral infections. The respondents reportedly did not intend to deceive their patients and believe that providing placebos can prove beneficial.

Baylor College of Medicine Ranked Among Top 20 Med Schools
U.S. News & World Report has ranked Baylor College of Medicine as the 18th best medical school in the nation. This represents an increase from last year when the college was ranked 21st.

Physician Turnover Rate Reaches All-Time High
Physician turnover rate has reached the highest level since 2005 according to the results of a survey of 80 physician groups employing almost 20,000 physicians. The average turnover rate reached 6.8% in 2012 and is expected to continue to rise in 2013.

While Medical Schools Expand, Doctors Caution More Residencies Needed
As demand for doctors increases medical schools are expanding and new schools are opening but some doctors have cautioned that funding for additional residencies is also needed. A bipartisan bill introduced last week would fund 15,000 additional residencies under Medicare and require that half these positions train residents in primary care.

Supreme Court to Consider Generic Drug Liability
The Supreme Court will hear arguments this week concerning the liability generic drug makers face for producing pharmaceuticals that are required by law to be identical to their name brand counterparts and include the same warnings and instructions.

DSH Payment Cuts May Challenge Hospital Credit Ratings
Disproportionate Share Hospital payments will be cut by $64 billion through 2019 under the federal health law reform and Moody’s has warned that these cuts will likely produce credit challenges for hospitals, particularly in states that have chosen not to expand their Medicaid programs.

3-D Technology Improves Surgical Performance
Surgeons invited to test 3-D endoscopic camera systems by performing simulated stomach surgery found that the technology helped improve surgical speed and precision. The display systems obscured the surgeons’ hands from view and they used screens to see what they were doing. One participant performed the procedure in 15 percent less time and with increased precision.

Medical Practice Consolidation Could Prove Costly
Incentives under the federal health law are encouraging hospitals to buy out physician practices, a trend that some caution will result in reduced productivity and a resultant increase in health care costs.

Patients Increasingly Challenging Hospital Fees
Patients angered by unexpected hospital surcharges are increasingly challenging the bills and in some instances refusing to pay, while others are opting to drop longtime caregivers in favor of physicians not employed by hospitals.

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