Extra Extra : Hospitals

Despite new laws, North Carolina hospital system continues aggressive collection practices

On Sunday, The Charlotte Observer published a package of stories showing that North Carolina's largest hospital system continues to file hundreds of lawsuits against patients, despite new state and federal laws aimed at reining in aggressive collection practices. The Observer's review found that a number of the lawsuits by Carolinas HealthCare System were filed against low-income patients who lacked health insurance. That appears to defy the intent of new laws aimed at protecting vulnerable patients.

Empty beds plague Illinois hospitals

Crain’s Chicago Business conducted an unprecedented examination of state records for every hospital in Illinois and found nearly 4 out of every 10 beds lying vacant. Buffeted by population shifts and changes in health insurance, the hospital industry in Illinois has far more capacity than it needs. Crain’s tells the story behind the numbers in an industry socked by drastic transformation.

Specialized endoscope linked to deadly superbug

The deadly pattern of illnesses began to emerge in 2012 at hospitals in Seattle, Pittsburgh, Chicago. In each case, the culprit was a bacteria known as CRE, perhaps the most feared of superbugs, because it resists even "last defense" antibiotics — and kills up to 40% of the people it infects.

And in each case, investigators identified the same source of transmission: a specialized endoscope, threaded down the throat of a half-million patients a year to treat gallstones, cancers and other disorders of the digestive system. Yet neither the scopes' manufacturers nor the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates them, have ...

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A 20-year-old’s death hints at trouble in the multi-billion dollar rehab industry

Brandon Jacques’s parents flew their son to a far-away rehab center in hopes it’d cure him of his worsening bulimia and alcoholism.

Instead, Jacques was passed around and failed by an unregulated and profit-driven system, cut off from communicating with his family. He eventually died after going into cardiac arrest at a detox center at which the family didn’t even know he was living, according to an investigation by Vice.

Across the country, legislators have struggled to keep up with the fast-growing and supremely expensive non-hospital rehab industry. Fueled by the commercialization of rehab through reality TV ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Death by deadline, online diplomas, vaccine court

Death by Deadline | The Marshall Project

An investigation by The Marshall Project shows that since President Bill Clinton signed the one-year statute of limitations into law - enacting a tough-on-crime provision that emerged in the Republicans' Contract with America - the deadline has been missed at least 80 times in capital cases. Sixteen of those inmates have since been executed -- the most recent on Thursday, when Chadwick Banks was put to death in Florida.

 

Milwaukee kickboxer Dennis Munson Jr.'s death follows cascade of errors by fight officials | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel revealed a series of missteps by fight officials ...

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FDA approves cancer drugs without proof they're extending lives

Nearly three out of four cancer drugs introduced in the last decade were approved by the FDA without proof that they help patients survive longer.

Teaming with MedPage Today, which provides physicians a clinical perspective on breaking medical news, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analyzed 54 cancer drugs put on the market in the last decade. They found that instead of using the gold standard – patients surviving longer – the FDA based approval on surrogate measures such as a tumor shrinking.

To read the full story, click here.

Judge 'sickened' by abuse program's failures

Minnesota law mandates that child-protection agencies investigate child abuse cases with evidence of egregious harm and substantial endangerment. Yet since 2005, more than 20,000 cases of children deemed at “high risk” for more abuse have been routed to family assessment, in which social workers don’t investigate the cases and instead try to work with families.

A Star Tribune review of more than 400 child abuse cases found family assessment was used after children were reported to have been severely physically and sexually abused or abandoned. The review showed that dozens of children were later harmed, including at least ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Injury-leave program, secret service fumbles, the cost of rape

Blacks disproportionately arrested for marijuana possession in Pinellas, Hillsborough counties | Tampa Bay Times

Black people in Pinellas and Hillsborough are at least six times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as white people. It's not because of who smokes pot and who doesn’t.

Racial disparities in pot possession arrests is not a new topic. But the disparities are particularly pronounced in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, a Tampa Bay Times analysis found.

 

L.A. pays millions as police and firefighter claims rise | L.A. Times

An injury-leave program for Los Angeles police and firefighters has cost taxpayers ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Florida law allows troubled charter operators to keep running schools

Shuttered: Florida’s Failed Charter Schools | Naples Daily News

As charter schools have boomed in Florida — 622 operated in 2013-14, up from 257 in 2003-04 — many have also busted. Since charter schools were first permitted in 1996, 269 out of nearly 900 opened charter schools have closed, a failure rate of about 30 percent. That tally includes six schools closed in Lee County and two closed in Collier County.

To better understand Florida’s charter school failings, the Daily News undertook a first-of-its-kind task, examining all charter schools that have closed since 2008. The newspaper reviewed hundreds of closure documents ...

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Taking children to the wrong trauma center can be a deadly mistake

Under Florida guidelines, children who suffer traumatic injuries are supposed to go straight to a trauma center that specializes in pediatric care. Studies show this gives children the best chance of survival.

But dozens of children each year aren't getting that chance, a Tampa Bay Times investigation has found. Instead, paramedics are taking them to adult trauma centers that may be closer but aren't equipped to help children in need.

This is an unintended consequence of the recent expansion of Florida's trauma system which added six new centers that compete with the pediatric centers.

Check out the ...

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