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Week in Review

by Kroger Burrus on August 26th, 2013

Kroger | Burrus Week in Review


Psychiatric Solutions, Inc. v. Palit
A psychiatric nurse injured while restraining an erratic patient filed suit alleging his employer failed to provide a safe working environment. The defendant mental health facility argued the lawsuit was a health care liability claim and sought dismissal on the basis that the psychiatric nurse did not serve an expert report. The Texas Supreme Court held the claim qualifies as a health care liability claim because it involves a claimed departure from accepted standards of safety and health care that would require the use of expert health care testimony to support or refute the allegations. The Court’s decision reaffirmed its holding in Texas West Oaks, which broadened the scope of Chapter 74 to encompass claims that did not directly involve health care.


Millions Invested to Fight Future Physician Shortage
By 2014 the number of medical school students graduating in Texas is expected to exceed the number of residency slots available. Although the Texas legislature recently approved more than $12 million to invest in additional residency slots and another $2 million to help hospitals study implementing new residency programs, many in the medical community remain concerned that Texas does not have a long-term solution for an impending physician shortage.

Fewer Doctors Than Expected Leaving Medicare
Although the number of doctors who chose to opt out of Medicare tripled between 2009 and 2012, suggesting some cause for concern, although the actual proportion of physicians accepting new Medicare patients has remained steady since 2009. Some reports reflect an overall increase in the number of physicians accepting new Medicare patients, which now exceed the number of physicians accepting new private insurance patients.

Hospital Doctors Less Hygienic Than Nurses
A global study of hospital hygiene practices found that physicians tended to be less compliant than nurses with hand hygiene guidelines. The study found the highest compliance rates were seen in nurses with 71%, compared to 60% among physicians.

Studies Predict Higher Costs in Affordable Care Act’s First Year
Health insurance premiums are expected to increase by about 5% in the first year that key provisions of the Affordable Care Act take effect. Although premium hikes are expected to continue to outstrip wage increases, the anticipated increases are expected to be more moderate than in the past.

Study Suggests Hospitals Need Improvement in Discharge Process
New research suggests hospitals need clearer, well-designed discharge processes for older patients. A survey of 400 patients over 65 years old found that only 60% could accurately describe their diagnoses, and in many instances discharge documents contained technical terms or other information that was difficult to understand.

Obama Administration Delays Out-of-Pocket Limits
The Obama administration has deferred a provision in the Affordable Care Act that would limit an individual’s annual out-of-pocket expenditures to $6,350. Last month, the administration also announced a delay in the requirement that large employers offer health insurance to full-time employees.

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