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Week in Review

by Kroger Burrus on July 23rd, 2014

Kroger | Burrus Week in Review


Schrade v. Earle
A radiologist who was sued for allegedly performing an unnecessary neck surgery testified that dye leaking out of the C4-C5 level of the patient’s neck indicated the need for the surgery at issue. The patient sought to impeach the radiologist with a discography film, but the court excluded it because it had not been produced in discovery. Contending the discography film proved the radiologist committed perjury, the patient moved for a new trial. The San Antonio appellate court upheld the denial of the motion for new trial, noting that there was a dispute over the proper interpretation of the discography film, and an affidavit from the patient’s expert alone did not prove the radiologist committed perjury.

CHCA West Houston v. Shelley
A hospital employee filed a slip-and-fall claim against the hospital, which moved for dismissal due to her failure to file an expert report. The employee argued that her claim was not a health care liability claim. The Houston appellate court reversed the trial court’s denial of the hospital’s motion to dismiss, extending to hospital employees its earlier holdings that slip-and-fall claims by hospital visitors qualify as health care liability claims.


Doctor Accused of Overprescribing Painkillers Convicted of Manslaughter
A New York doctor whose prescription practices were allegedly responsible for the fatal overdoses of two patients has been convicted on two counts of second-degree manslaughter, as well as several lesser charges. He faces a prison term of five to 15 years on each of the manslaughter counts.

Survey: Few Physicians Would Choose ‘Extraordinary Measures’ for Themselves
Among physicians surveyed about what treatment options they would select if faced with a terminal illness, only 7% would request that extraordinary measures be taken. About 55% would request palliative care, 43% would request hospice care, 39% would choose not to be resuscitated and the remaining 16% were unsure.

Houston Hospitals Ranked Highly by US News and World Report
Multiple Houston-area hospitals received high scores in US News and World Reports’ latest hospital rankings. Texas Children’s Hospital was ranked second nationwide for neonatology and cardiology services and was named among the top 10 children’s hospitals in seven other categories. MD Anderson Cancer Center was ranked second among hospitals nationwide for cancer treatment and was listed among the top 10 hospitals for ear, nose and throat and gynecological services. TIRR Memorial Hermann was ranked third among hospitals providing rehabilitation services, and the Menninger Clinic was named among the top five health care entities for psychiatric services.

Nursing Workforce Spikes Despite Projected Shortage
Contrary to an anticipated shortage of nurses, the nursing workforce in the US has grown more rapidly than projected. In 2012, there were 2.7 million registered nurses nationwide, exceeding estimates from a year earlier by about 500,000, according to a study published in the journal Health Affairs. The study suggests that nurses delaying retirement contributed to an additional 136,000 nurses remaining in the workforce.

Study Suggests EHRs do not Contribute to Hospitals Overcharging Medicare
A comparison of the billing practices between hospitals that use paper records and those that have transitioned to electronic health records found no difference in their billing practices, suggesting fears that electronic health records would contribute to overcharging Medicare may be unwarranted.

Hand Hygiene Rates Higher When Auditors Visible
Hand hygiene rates were three times higher when auditors were visible to healthcare workers, according to a study at a major acute care hospital in Canada.

Medicare Providers Reportedly Lose Millions Due to Excessive Audits
Healthcare providers say they are spending millions of dollars tied up in appeals due to an increasing number of Medicare audits. The rise in the often duplicative audits has not succeeded in reducing Medicare fraud, according to a recent report from the US Senate Special Committee on Aging, which has criticized the government for not targeting its resources more effectively.

Study Questions Necessity of Fasting Before Cholesterol Tests
While medical groups recommend that patients fast for up to 12 hours before taking a blood lipid test, a recent analysis suggests that a non-fasting cholesterol test may provide the same prognostic value as a fasting test.

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