Hospitals: HHS Inspector General Counsel Backs Telemedicine Plan For Stroke Care Program
Hospital issues making headlines include a telemedicine plan, the unreliability of some children's hospital rankings and how long hospital wait times can be deadly.
Modern Healthcare: Inspector General Backs Telemedicine Plans
A well-known flagship hospital with a cutting-edge program for acute stroke care can legally set up remote telemedicine equipment and even allow cross-branding of hospital trademarks because the administrators' goal is to decrease, not increase, the transfers of neuro-emergency patients. Lewis Morris, chief counsel to HHS' inspector general’s office, wrote in an advisory opinion that the flagship stroke-care hospital and its regional affiliates’ proposed telemedicine program would not violate terms of federal law that make it illegal to use anything of value to induce referrals of Medicare patients (Carlson, 9/6).
Reuters: Hospital Ratings For Kids A Roll Of The Dice
A key component of children's hospital ratings may be statistically unreliable, fueling concerns over popular rankings used by millions of Americans every year, according to a new study. Researchers found that death rates across hospitals, which carry heavy weight in commercial rankings like the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals, are mostly indistinguishable from a statistical point of view. "It's like taking a stack of cards and shuffling them almost at random to put them in a rank order," said Dr. Chris Feudtner of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, whose findings appear in the journal Pediatrics (Joelving, 9/6).
MarketWatch: Long Hospital Wait Times Can Be Deadly
If you have private, job-based health insurance and need follow-up care for an existing condition, you likely won’t face delays getting in to see a doctor. But no matter what kind of insurance coverage you have, if you have a new health problem or an emergency requiring a hospital or operating room, you may have to wait — dangerously long, in some cases — to be treated. "Timely access to care is an enormous challenge for our health care system," said Dr. Arthur Kellermann, director of Rand Health in Santa Monica, Calif., and an emergency doctor for 20 years. "It's especially an issue after-hours, nights and weekends," [he said] (Gerencher, 9/7).