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Monday Morning Update 5/14/12

May 12, 2012 News 8 Comments

From McPACS: “Re: McKesson. Pulling out of the UK PACS market.” Unverified.

From The PACS Designer: “Re: iPad at Sears. TPD decided to look for a new dishwasher at Sears and was surprised that the sales consultant used an iPad to show the features. Not only are the sales consultants using them, but so are customers as they travel through the various departments. Hopefully healthcare institutions will put iPads in patients’ hands so they can understand what diagnostic tools and procedures are being used to treat their ills.”

5-12-2012 6-41-48 PM

HIStalk readers are evenly split in which political party their beliefs most closely match, as unlikely as that might sound. New poll to your right: is it OK for hospitals to ask ED patients to pay before treating them for non-emergency problems?

Listening: reader-recommended The Hellacopters, 70s-style defiant, no-nonsense hard rock from a Swedish punk band that not only sounds like MC5, but does an even more frenetic cover of Kick Out the Jams than the Detroit original. Disbanded in 2008.

My Time Capsule editorial this week from May 2007: All Government Agencies Agree – You’re Free to Buy EMRs for Physicians, Even When it Doesn’t Make Sense. A test dose:

Being a bureaucratic IDN, we were known for high overhead and low performance, especially compared to the doctor’s A+ certified, college dropout nephew who was willing to design networks and develop software for $15 an hour after his grocery bagging shift was over. He was cheaper, so that made us thieves, our doctor customers assumed (doctors always assume that hospitals are getting rich, underestimating the profit-sapping effects of inefficiency and inertia.)

Researchers from Penn’s medical school develop an EMR “accountability tool” that asks ED physicians who are ordering a CT scan for abdominal pain to justify the need. Its use reduced the likelihood of having a CT scan ordered by 10%, reducing cost and patient radiation exposure.

5-12-2012 9-17-13 PM
Weird News Andy wants this Mayo Clinic Jacksonville radiology tech charged with Murder 1: he pleads guilty to stealing fentanyl that was ordered for interventional procedure patients by replacing it with saline contaminated with hepatitis C. One of the patients had just received a liver transplant and later died of hepatitis C without knowing how he contracted it. The tech faces life in prison.

Another big health system struggles with the bottom line following its Epic implementation. The bond rating agency of Norton Healthcare (KY) gives it an A-, but notes that its finances are “weak for its rating level” given its expected $37 million in operating losses for FY2012 due to “full implementation of the electronic medical record, strategic spending to expand women’s service at the St. Matthews campus, strategic spending on pediatrics in cooperation with the University of Louisville in addition to Medicaid reductions.”

5-12-2012 7-27-02 PM

Encore Health Resources names Clair Detraz as partner for corporate planning. She was previously with CTG Health Solutions.

The Government Accountability Office needs to fill an open patient/consumer advocate position on the HIT Policy Committee, which is kind of a big deal given that group’s influence. Nominations are due May 25.

Boston-based web and mobile healthcare developer Medullan moves into new office space to make room for the 35 new employees it needs.

5-12-2012 9-19-46 PM

In the UK, a physical therapist designs neck testing software, hoping to reduce the huge number of phony of whiplash claims that require only the patient convince a doctor of their choosing that they’re in pain.

Prosecutors claim a doctor was drunk, texting, and speeding when he ran into the highway’s bike lane and killed an 18-year-old skateboarder, later cleaning the blood from his BMW’s bumper, deleting the text messages, and refusing to give a blood sample. His two employees also deleted the text messages he sent them, claiming they did so before finding out that he had been arrested.

5-12-2012 8-40-44 PM

St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital (FL) holds a prom for 100 current and former peds patients, giving seriously ill patients a chance to experience something they either missed in the past or may not survive to enjoy in the future. Employees donated many of the gowns and tuxedoes.

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan took in $12.7 billion in revenue in Q1 and earned profits of $770 million.

In the UK, a study finds that the cash-strapped NHS is paying “extortionate” prices of up to double or triple those listed on Amazon for flash memory and cables. It also finds that a plan that allowed private companies to fund new construction in return for long-term maintenance contracts has resulted in hospitals being charged over $500 to have a light bulb changed.

In Pittsburgh, newly filed tax records show that the former CEO of West Penn Allegheny Health System was paid $7.4 million in 2010, some of that from severance. UPMC’s president and CEO was paid $6 million.

Shares in Greenway Medical Technologies jumped 26% Friday after the company reported increased revenue, making GWAY the biggest percentage gainer on the NYSE for the day. Shares are up 20% since the February IPO.

E-mail Mr. H.

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Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. With respect to the financial rape of the patients of Western Pennsylvania, think for one moment how much upcoding is needed to cover these costs.

    Are they both being paid for performance?

    One hospital is near banckruptcy, and the other has a patient who was found dead on its hospital roof, and a murder in its psychiatric hospital by a sick patient seen in its emergency war within 24 hours of the deadly shooting.

    Where are these institutions getting the revenue to cover these excesses, exactly? What I like is how these barons of health care surround themselves with paid loyalists who pimp the doctors for early discharge, to keep the operating rooms humming 24/7, to image scan patients for any and all symptoms (without going through their EMRs to see the study of one week ago), and to maximize the billing codes with one swift click of the mouse.

  2. McKesson has had another major sales reorganization. Last year they spent millions with McKinsey who advised them to decentralize their different sales teams. Last week, they re-org’d back to a centralized sales org. Classic McKesson. Who is accountable for the shareholders for the waste here? Not just the money spent with McKinsey, but the energy and cycles spent by people who could actually be doing something productive, but instead they are organizing conference calls and re-structuring teams, gritting their teeth and spinning corporate BS, again… Anyone who thinks big companies are a safer bet for their carreers or partner strategies need ony to look at McKesson’s chronic addition to re-orgging their way out of years of bad products and bad strategies.

  3. I think it would be reasonable to charge patients at the ED, but only the rate of reimbursement by Medicare or Medicaid.

    The “FFS” prices are outrageous. Charge patients what you would accept from the Feds and we’d have at least a fair health system.

    And yes, it’s fair to charge for non life threatening issues at the ED.

  4. The ONC self deprecates by this palooza gig. F. Mostashavitz should think long and hard about this rock star concept when it comes to matters as serious as patient safety and privacy. I, for one, will not go to hear rock star Sibelius pontificate on how health care will be transformed by unproven systems called innovative by ONC and HHS.U

  5. Re: Norton Healthcare (KY) – I wonder how many hospitals take into account the true impact of the differences in up front investment and the ongoing higher cost of ownership when they evaluate EMRs.

    It is suprising to me that the choice to move to one EMR from another could be seen as having a significant impact on the credit rating of a facility.

  6. Considering Sebelius is spelled wrong too, I’ll give him a pass on the jibberish comments

    BUT, not surprised that an Epic install is bringing down the credit rating of a hospital. It’s a major capital investment, just like adding a new wing or buying up another entity. The decisions aren’t always made with the same rigor as other major capital investments are though.

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Reader Comments

  • Code Jockey: Mr. H - this is a response to 'Really' but I'm not sure how to respond to his post. Also, this is a note for both you an...
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  • Really: Come on Code Junkie... Would any software company on the planet let you take their code, do a minor modification and ...
  • Code Jockey: Sigh.... Code Corrections - the origin of this conversation was a statement by someone that Epic clients were creating t...
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