‘I Assume You’re Calling About My Death’: Clerical Errors Turn Some Into Living Dead
One day a man got a letter from the Social Security Administration offering condolences about his recent loss of life, and what follows is a Monty Python-worthy scramble to figure out just what happened.
Alive But Ruled Dead By Social Security 'Data Entry Error'
A few months ago, when Dr. Thomas Lee logged in to his patients' electronic medical records to renew a prescription, something unexpected popped up. It was a notice that one of them had died. Lee, a primary care doctor at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, was scheduled to see the patient in three days."I was horrified," he says. ... He wanted to know what had happened, but he couldn't find anything in the medical records or in a Web search. "I just felt really guilty that I had not pushed harder to get him in sooner," says Lee. When he couldn't find out anything, he decided to phone the man's house to offer condolences — maybe even to apologize. "So I called, and to my shock he answered," says Lee. (Bichell, 8/10)
In other news, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services adds more measures to its nursing home star ratings system and researchers find value in training in-home caregivers —
CMS Adds New Quality Measures To Nursing Home Star Ratings
The CMS has added five new measures that are being gradually factored into its nursing home star ratings intended to help consumers research and compare the quality of facilities...The calculations that determine nursing homes' quality ratings, which are posted on the CMS' website, Nursing Home Compare, will now include successful discharges, outpatient emergency department visits, nursing home admissions and improvement in function for short-term residents, or those who stay in nursing homes for up to 100 days. (Whitman, 8/10)
Kaiser Health News:
Teaching In-Home Caregivers Seems To Pay Off
Kaiser Health News staff writer Anna Gorman reports: "Low-income Californians who are elderly and disabled were less likely to go to the emergency room or be hospitalized after their in-home caregivers participated in an intensive training program, according to a report. Under a pilot program, nearly 6,000 aides in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Contra Costa counties were trained in CPR and first aid, as well infection control, medications, chronic diseases and other areas. All were workers of the In-Home Supportive Services program, who are paid by the state to care for low-income seniors and people with disabilities, many of them relatives." (Gorman, 8/11)