Monday, June 27, 2011

Going to Hospital in July Could Kill You!

Just a note to pass along for the upcoming weekend as we celebrate July 4th--BE SAFE and avoid the hospital!

A recent study published by the Journal of General Internal Medicine reported a 10 percent spike in teaching hospital deaths during the month of July due to medical errors. CNN reports on the effect--here's an excerpt:

Typically, medical students graduate in June and begin their first year of residency training — internship — in July. This group of eager new interns invades the hospital to learn, care for patients, and make medical decisions. One problem. They don’t know what they’re doing.

Like most interns, I arrived with four years of medical school under my belt, an M.D. after my name, and virtually no practical knowledge of medicine. Although I wore the long white coat of a doctor, I kept my pockets packed with condensed medical manuals that we called our “peripheral brains” to make up for the lack of knowledge held in my actual brain. Thank God for these manuals. Otherwise I would have been part of “The July Effect.”

Friday, June 03, 2011

Texas's Medicare Spending Has Gone UP Since Tort Reform

Tort reformers and Gov. Perry tout the success of Texas's medical malpractice tort reform as a cost control measure. But, this article from the Washington Post shows that Texas spending on Medicare has actually gone up since 2003:
For instance, we could look at Texas, where non-economic damages on malpractice lawsuits were capped at $250,000 about eight years ago. You might remember when Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich said:
Texas, for example, has adopted approaches to controlling health-care costs while improving choice, advancing quality of care and expanding coverage. Consider the successful 2003 tort reform.

So what happened to costs of care after that law was put in place? Public Citizen analyzed just that (pdf) using data from the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care (Selected Medicare Reimbursement Measures):


Texas is blue, the nation is red, and the law went into place at the dotted line. If anything, Texas’s Medicare spending seems to have gone up faster than the nation’s since 2003. Hardly a persuasive argument for tort reform = cost control.

And this is what Gov. Perry wants to share with the rest of the country by being the next President???