Monthly Archives: August 2009

Columnists Oppose Health Care Tort Reform

In a column in the Kansas City Star, Dan Margolies wrote, “The push for tort reform rests largely on anecdotal evidence of the occasional large jury verdict or outrageous lawsuit. Despite the perception that ‘jackpot justice’ has fueled soaring costs, hard data yield a much different picture. The most reliable estimates peg the costs of […]

Tougher Driving Laws in Texas – Especially for Teens

Tomorrow, September 1, 2009, is the day quite a few new laws go into effect in Texas. Several of these laws will directly apply to vehicle drivers and passengers, and all Texans should be aware of them. The goal of each of these new laws is to increase safety on our roads and highways, and […]

Social Security to Test Use of Microsoft’s HealthVault in Disability Process

Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, announced Thursday that the agency has entered into an agreement with Microsoft to test the use of Microsoft’s HealthVault application in the disability process.  HealthVault is a free online service that enables people to gather, store and manage their families’ health information, and share that information with their […]

Gruesome, Graphic Cigarette Warnings Soon?

HealthDay News is reporting on the possible changes to cigarette packages under new U.S. regulations contained in the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. These regulations apparently will require manufacturers to devote a large percentage of the front and back of packs of cigarettes to graphic images of the damage smoking can do to […]

Chrysler Will Accept More Product Liability Claims

In an announcement that is good news for injury victims, Chrysler said it will accept product liability claims in a broader number of cases than originally planned in its reorganization under bankruptcy protection. The story was reported by the Associated Press. Here are excerpts: The automaker said it will now consider product-related lawsuits from consumers […]

Growing Use of Medical Imaging Tests Poses Radiation Risk

The New York Times reports, “At least four million Americans under age 65 are exposed to high doses of radiation each year from medical imaging tests,” according to a study appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers also found that an estimated “400,000 of those patients receive very high doses, more than the […]

Friday Fun

WhizzWords is a nifty little word-scramble game with a bit of Yhatzee rules thrown in. Check it out.

Tort Reform Would Remove Check on Medical Malpractice

My friend Herb Friedman has an excellent column in the Lincoln Journal Star saying that tort reform in medical malpractice claims would remove the checks currently in place on medical treatment. Friedman states, “Malpractice amounts to less than 2 percent of health care spending, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO has estimated that […]

Aetna Tightens Reimbursement Policies for Hospital “Never Events”

Modern Healthcare reported, Aetna has “established new, tighter policies” to constitute whether it will pay for “medical care related to errors made by providers.” Under the policies, Aetna has “broken errors into two categories: ‘never events’– three events involving surgery: wrong patient, wrong site and wrong procedure — and 25 serious reportable events as defined […]

Strangulation Deaths Prompt Recalls of Roman Shades and Other Window Coverings

The Consumer Products Safety Commission has issued recall announcements of several types of window shades because of the risk of strangulation. These recalls are important for all parents of small children to understand. Here is a summary from the CPSC: Strangulation Death of a Child Prompts Recall To Repair Window Blinds By Vertical Land In […]

Health Care – Tort Reform Is Not The Answer

In a column in the Baltimore Sun today Jay Hancock discuss some of the myths about health care reform. One is that “tort reform” would significantly cut the costs of medical care in the United States. His conclusion is that it would make little difference. Here are the relevant paragraphs from his article: “Why is […]

Obama Administration Supports Medical Error Reporting Only For Infections

Hearst Newspapers reported, “While the White House acknowledges that hospital medical errors are ‘a big and serious problem,’ a senior administration official says President Barack Obama does not favor a mandatory reporting system for all medical mistakes, just for infections.” The Administration argues for this separation because “while infections can be easily documented, not every […]

New Texas Law Lowers Cost of Getting Hospital Records

In what should be good news for those of us who routinely request hospital records, a new Texas law goes into effect September 1, 2009. This amendment to the Health and Safety Code will limit the fee for medical reports requested and delivered in digital format to $75 plus the actual cost of delivery. Here […]

Study Says Many Physicians Unaware They’re Prescribing Off Label

In continuing coverage in a column in the New York Times, Roni Caryn Rabin writes, “Physicians are allowed to use drugs in ways that are not specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration, a practice called off-label prescribing,” but “a new survey…found that many might not even know when they are prescribing off label.” […]

Negligence Suits Likely Over VA Procedures

As reported today in the Washington Post, the Department of Veterans Affairs is facing the possibility of a series of negligence lawsuits over contaminated medical equipment used in colonoscopy and endoscopy procedures. Here are excerpts: Army veteran Juan Rivera reported to the veterans hospital in Miami for a routine colonoscopy in May 2008. Almost a […]

The Hidden Secret of Elder Abuse

Many elderly people rely entirely on family or other trusted individuals to help them. Whether it is for physical needs or emotional needs, as people grow older they tend to need more and more help from others. This dependence on caregivers or family members makes an older person more vulnerable for abuse. For example, an […]

Piloting Medical Helicopters Is One Of The Most Dangerous Jobs

The Washington Post has a very interesting article about the medical transport helicopter business. Alarmingly, this “multibillion-dollar air-medical business” is “now one of the most dangerous jobs in America…with 113 deaths for every 100,000 employees.” Here are a few more excerpts from the article: The number of fatal flights has risen sharply, closely tracking the […]

Bassinet Warnings Renewed After More Deaths

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has renewed a warning to parents about close-sleeper/bedside-sleeper bassinets after two more infants were killed when they became trapped in the bassinets. The bassinets were manufactured by Simplicity. According to the Washington Post, “The company’s 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 convertible bassinets contain metal bars spaced farther apart than federal standards allow. […]

Malpractice Reform Expected to Become a Major Issue

In a 5-page story, ABC News on its Web site reported, “As the national health care debate continues into the fall, malpractice reform is expected to come to the forefront. But the question remains as to whether malpractice reform really works — and who benefits the most. A recent study by Americans for Insurance Reform, […]

Friday Fun is one of the all-time funniest software ideas. It’s a Web site or iPhone application that tells you the best time (to the minute) to leave a movie and “run pee.” It even provides a synopsis of what happened during the four minutes allowed for you to leave the movie. Movies currently being shown […]