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Reportable Errors

There are now several billboards across the country that advertise for hospital emergency room care. Many of them have a digital clock attached that tells you the current waiting time. No one questions why they advertise the need for emergency with the identification of wait time. Isn’t that what is called an oxymoron? Instead, most of us just nod our heads and say something like, “Look, only 9 minutes to wait”. It’s like a scoreboard.

Researchers tells us that more than 440,000 people die each year in the United States from preventable medical errors. When Joan Rivers died from a recent simple in office medical procedure, the news services immediately began to report on the investigation of that medical facility. Yet, there is very little reporting on the safety of local hospitals.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has recently reversed itself and will now begin to release data on hospital mistakes. (USA Today)  I don’t expect to see highway signs to tell us how many medical mistakes have been made at a hospital this week, but that sure seems more important than advertising wait times. At least public safety numbers are becoming more available.

Wouldn’t transparency of hospital safety and care seem like a sensible concept? Well, right now there is a movement to get Congress to make laws requiring such reporting. Hospitals are reportedly fighting such disclosures because they claim that the information reported is not reliable. Hmm.

DID YOU KNOW that over 15 billion prizes have been given away in Cracker Jacks boxes? Who doesn’t like a prize!

And our pic o’ day:

stop the wedding

Give The Money Back

A legal battle is brewing over the $300 million dollar estate that was left by copper heiress Huguette Clark. (New York Daily News) A lawsuit has been filed by the  New York City’s public administrator’s office on behalf of the Clark estate, and it seeks $100 million dollars from Beth Israel Medical Center and Dr. Henry Singman.

When Clark passed away in 2011 at the age of 104, it was determined that she had been living at the hospital for over 20 years without any apparent medical reason or necessity. So, the hospital was able to bill significant amounts for the 20-year-stay. During the course of her stay, it has been determined that Clark gave over $30 million to the nurse that was taking care of her; over $4 million to the hospital on top of any billing; and over $800k to her doctor and his family.

The lawsuit alleges that if any care was needed, it was psychiatric in nature and and not medical. The suit also charges that the hospital and and its staff violated state law and facility policies that prohibit caregivers from receiving gifts. It further contends that to avoid discharging the lucrative patient, Beth Israel hospital “deliberately violated state law, internal protocals and falsified records to hide” Hugeette’s stay at the hospital.  Employees were told to hide Clark’s 20,000-page file from regulators when they reviewed the facility, to keep her presence a secret. The hospital’s response so far is that they were just honoring Clark’s wishes to live life as she wanted.

This is a story that seems to combine personal choice, greed and medical care. One thing noteworthy is the fact that she did live to 104 and every one seems to indicate that she was mentally astute, even if a bit eccentric. Maybe she found the fountain of youth…right at the hospital!

DID YOU KNOW that Wilma Flintsone’s maiden name was Wilma Slaghoopal and Betty Rubble’s madien name was Betty Jean Mcbricker. It seems that one of the secret questions for a lot of credit cards is to list your mother’s maiden name. In a week of thankfulness, I am glad that they don’t ask for Wilma Flintstone’s!

And for pic o’ day, Mom sent this in the spirit of giving:

giving help

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