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Week in Review

by Kroger Burrus on October 28th, 2013

Kroger | Burrus Week in Review

CASES

Baker v. Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers
The family of a deceased nursing home patient filed suit against his nursing home and physicians alleging that their negligence contributed to the development of infected pressure ulcers. The defendant health care providers argued that the expert report could not demonstrate the claims had merit because he did not consider that the ulcers were unavoidable. The Corpus Christi appellate court reversed the trial court’s dismissal of the case, noting that experts are not required to rule out the possibility complications were unavoidable in a Chapter 74 report.

NEWS

Studies Suggest Hospital Cost Shifting on the Decline
For years hospitals have made up for reimbursement shortfalls by shifting costs to the privately insured. That trend may be on the decline according to a recent Rice University study that found that reimbursements for privately insured patients have exceeded increases in the cost of care in recent years.

Dewhurst May Order Hospital Study in Response to ED Shutdown
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has stated he will likely order an investigation into the fallout tied to the closure of the only emergency department within 21 miles of the East Texas town of Center. The facility was closed in July 2013 amid a government crackdown on substandard care and questionable management practices.

Study Suggests Paying Organ Donors Could Curb Healthcare Costs
Providing kidney donors $10,000 in compensation would save about $340 per patient if the number of donors increased by as little as 5%, according to a recent survey. About half of the individuals surveyed who stated they were unlikely to donate an organ answered that they would probably change their mind if provided $10,000 in compensation.

Study: Female Doctors Provide Better Quality Care, While Males More Productive
A study of physicians treating elderly diabetic patients found that women tended to provide better quality care, while their male colleagues were more productive. Researchers noted that the differences between the genders were more pronounced among older physicians, suggesting that the differences between male and female practices have diminished over time.

Mississippi Toddler ‘Functionally Cured’ of HIV
A Mississippi child born with HIV and promptly treated with a trio of antiretroviral drugs remains free of HIV almost 2.5 years later. The child stopped receiving antiretroviral drugs 15 months after she was delivered and researchers announced in March that they consider her functionally cured of the disease.

ACOG Changes Definition of ‘Term’ Pregnancy
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has changed its definition of the start of term pregnancy from 37 weeks gestation to 39 weeks gestation. The group now defines the period starting at 37 weeks as ‘early term’. The change is intended to emphasize that brain and lung development sometimes continues through the final week of pregnancy and non-medically indicated deliveries should not generally occur prior to 39 weeks.

Study Critical of Interns’ Bedside Manner
An evaluation of how first year interns interact with their patients found most were lacking in areas such as introducing themselves to patients, providing a reassuring touch, asking open-ended questions regarding how their patients are feeling, or initiating a conversation with patients. Research suggests that good bedside manner can improve patient outcomes.

Medical School Enrollment at Record High
The number of first-year medical students exceeded 20,000 for the first time this year, a 2.8% increase over the number enrolled in 2012. Enrollment at osteopathic medical colleges increased by 11% over last year.

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