Tag Archives: Hospital Closings

Do No Harm

While channel surfing Tuesday night, I came upon the above documentary film, Do No Harm: Exposing the Hippocratic Myth, when I saw a scene of medical students graduating from Des Moines University. I wondered if this was the same school that my younger brother, who is a D.O. graduated from. It was, so I continued watching it to the end.

According to the documentary, physicians have the highest rate of suicide among the professions. And the toll on their friends and families is one of shock and despair that they never received any help for their depression and thoughts of suicide. The feeling of isolation overwhelms many of our young doctors, and the only way out is to commit suicide by whatever means is available.

At one point in the film when the producer interviewed him, the President/CEO of the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), said they agreed with recommendations made to deal with this crisis, and then in the next sequence, the film states that hours were increased from 18 to 28 hours. However, in 2003 the ACGME set new rules limiting residents’ hours to 80 hours a week and to 16 hour shifts, so something is wrong here.

69 percent of doctors report having abused drugs. Medical errors are the third highest cause of death in the United States after Heart Disease and Cancer, with 251,000 deaths a year. Depressed residents cause 6.2 times more errors than their peers, and 1 out of 20 admit making an error that leads to the death of a patient.

The reason for this problem stems from the fact that residents are a cheap source of labor for hospitals. Residents are paid on average $40,000 a year, while Medicare pays the hospitals an average of $112,000 per resident. Hospital CEO’s annual salary range from $600,000 to $1 million, and with bonuses and incentives, it can go as high as $12 million or more.

Physician burnout among physicians, as the chart below shows, is highest among Emergency Medicine, followed by Ob/GYN, Family Medicine (as I can attest to with regard to my brother, who began his practice as one of six doctors, and is now the lone doctor in two offices. Needless to say, it has caused him some personal distress, but thankfully for my family, he is not a statistic).

Sixty percent of Emergency Medicine physicians experience burnout, OB/GYN physicians exhibit more than fifty percent burnout, and Family Medicine physicians exhibit roughly fifty-five percent burnout.

Until the medical profession comes clean and realizes that working physicians to death is not healthy for the body of American medicine, this abuse will continue. At one point, Pamela Wible says that this system is a violation of human rights according to the United Nations.

Please watch this very informative and eye-opening documentary, and if you have any power to end this crisis, please do.

1 in 5 rural hospitals at risk of closing, Navigant says | Healthcare Dive

Readers of this blog will recall that I wrote four earlier posts about the closing of rural hospitals, so the article from Healthcare Dive.com comes as no surprise.

Previous posts ( https://wp.me/p2QJfz-GeL, https://wp.me/p2QJfz-IZ3, https://wp.me/p2QJfz-N0u, and https://wp.me/p2QJfz-QSn) go into greater detail about the seriousness of the issue.

But once again, we have to remind the readers that until we enact Single Payer health care, more Americans will lose access to medical care at rural hospitals.

Here is the article:

More than 60% of those facilities are “highly essential” to the heath and economic well-being of their communities, according to a new report.

Source: 1 in 5 rural hospitals at risk of closing, Navigant says | Healthcare Dive

Hospital Mergers Improve Health? Evidence Shows the Opposite – The New York Times

Yesterday’s post, Hospital lobby ramps up ‘Medicare for all’ opposition | Healthcare Dive, suggested that moving towards an improved and expanded Medicare for All system would force hospitals to close, so the article below in today’s New York Times would seem to argue that the urge to merge does not improve health.

So on the one hand, if we adopt a democratic socialist approach to health care, hospitals may close; yet, if we allow them to follow capitalist economic laws regarding economies of scale, they don’t offer better care.

Perhaps, then it is better to try the democratic socialist approach, because the economies of scale approach has not worked, and let’s see if hospitals do close, or they see an increase in patients due to more people being covered.

Mid-Week Catch-Up

Borrowing a page from another blogger, here are some items that I have seen this week that I did not immediately post to the blog. The first three are courtesy of Medical Travel.com.

From AHA.org, comes an article about the Zika epidemic I wrote about a while ago. About 14% of babies age one or older who were born in U.S. territories to pregnant women infected with Zika virus since 2016 have at least one health problem possibly caused by exposure to the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported today. About 6% had Zika-associated birth defects, 9% nervous system problems and 1% both.

From Health Affairs.org, comes a report about the fundamental flaw of health care and the recurring-payment-for-outcomes solution.

Bloomberg.org reported that US hospitals are shutting at a 30-a-year pace with no end in sight.

Lastly, Health Affairs blog posted an article about an issue I covered some years ago, the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP).

Have a good rest of the week after remembering the fallen of 9/11. FYI, I was in Houston at the time, just having started a new job with Aon there, and heard about the first plane crashing into the north tower while driving to work and listening to the radio. As we were all new, and had little to do, I took a brief siesta and when I went into the hallway, was told to go upstairs to the break room. There was a TV on, and as I entered the room, the south tower went down. This NYC born kid was not sure what was going to happen next, surrounded as I was by all these Texans. I remembered the people and companies I knew there in both towers, especially my cousin who was there for the 1993 attack.


Rural hospitals in dire need of regulatory relief | Healthcare Dive

“Reducing some of the costly regulatory challenges we face would help staunch the bloodletting,” said Leslie Marsh, CEO of Lexington Regional Health Center.

Source: Rural hospitals in dire need of regulatory relief | Healthcare Dive