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Week in Review

by Kroger Burrus on July 21st, 2013

Kroger | Burrus Week in Review


Hernandez v. Specialty Medical Corp.
An employee at a long-term acute care clinic working as a respiratory therapist and a clinical liaison resigned and filed suit alleging she had been constructively discharged in retaliation for her complaints regarding patients’ rights violations. She claimed that she had been discouraged from continuing to work as a respiratory therapist in response to a report she made regarding staffing levels and equipment. The trial court dismissed the case and the Midland appellate court affirmed, finding the employee had raised no evidence she was discriminated against or constructively discharged. The court noted that the employee’s suspicions did not constitute evidence.


CHRISTUS Spohn Shoreline Unveils Hybrid Suite for Stroke, Aneurysm Treatments
CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Shoreline has unveiled a $5 million hybrid suite that will allow physicians to quickly transition from performing imaging procedures to surgery, shortening procedures times and speeding up the recovery process. The suite features two X-ray cameras used in tandem to produce multiple, large-scale images of minuscule brain arteries.

Baylor Starts Work at Children’s Hospital of San Antonio
Baylor College of Medicine faculty have started to arrive at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System’s downtown pediatric hospital in San Antonio as part of a collaboration between the medical school and Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. More than two dozen faculty members have gone through orientation and the hospital expects to have close to 200 faculty members practicing at the facility within two years. The collaboration is expected to allow the children’s hospital to expand services and offer new procedures, such as bone marrow transplants, for the first time.

Doctors Embracing Electronic Health Records, Some Reluctantly
More than half of US doctors are using electronic health records in a meaningful way, a practice the Obama administration’s head of health information technology says will transform the practice of medicine beneficially. However, the transition has left many physicians frustrated and concerned over the impact these systems will have on productivity, as well as the challenge of choosing from the hundreds of products on the market.

Study Finds Little Correlation Between Cost and Quality of Deliveries
A comparison of delivery costs and quality of care found little correlation between the two and that in some circumstances the most expensive deliveries corresponded with the lowest quality of care.

Doctors Question Safety of Shorter Shifts for Interns
Two years ago the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education reduced the maximum shift medical interns may work from 30 straight hours to 16, a controversial move that some worry may have dangerous unintended consequences. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Michigan have found that shorter shifts result in work compression, forcing interns to perform more work in less time and increasing the risk of errors that occur during handoffs.

Rural Hospitals’ Electronic Health Record Adoption Jumps
Although rural hospitals still lag their urban counterparts in the use of electronic health records the adoption rate at rural hospitals has increased by 257%, suggesting the digital divide is shrinking.

Study Finds Physicians Likely to Criticize Peers
In a study in which actors portrayed advanced lung cancer patients and visited community-based oncologists and family physicians nearly half of the physicians commented on previous care. The majority of these comments were critical of the previous care provided to the “patients”, reflecting a trend that researchers suggest could affect patient satisfaction and quality of care.

Racial Disparity in Life Expectancy Narrows
The racial disparity in life expectancy at birth has narrowed, but a 4% difference still remains between whites and blacks. In 2010 the life expectancy for black people was 75.1 versus 78.9 for white people.

More Than 4 Million Prescription Painkillers Bought by Doctor Shoppers
Individuals intent on acquiring prescription painkillers for illicit purposes filled more than 4 million prescriptions in 2008 according to a recently released study. Researchers estimate that almost 1% of all buyers of addictive pain medications in the US were “doctor shoppers” who acquired excessive supplies of painkillers by visiting multiple physicians.

Study Finds Telemedicine Services Boost Hospital Revenues
Hospitals that leveraged telemedicine services resulted in an increased market share and an increased number of transfers, boosting average annual revenues at the 16 facilities examined in a recently published study.

Larger, Investor-Owned Hospitals Tend Often Have Higher Charges
An analysis of what hospitals charge and what Medicare reimburses found that on average hospitals charge 3.77 times more than what Medicare actually reimburses and the higher charge-to-reimbursement ratios were primarily from for-profit hospitals, hospitals that were part of a system, hospitals in a joint venture with physicians, and the hospitals that had the most beds.

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