Extra Extra : Hospitals

Extra Extra Monday: Investigations highlight problems at homeless shelters, group homes, jails

Reporting Rape, and Wishing She Hadn’t | The New York Times

A New York Times examination of the case, based in part on hundreds of pages of disciplinary proceedings — usually confidential under federal privacy laws — offers a rare look inside one school’s adjudication of a rape complaint amid a roiling national debate over how best to stop sexual assaults on campuses.

Whatever precisely happened that September night, the internal records, along with interviews with students, sexual-assault experts and college officials, depict a school ill prepared to evaluate an allegation so serious that, if proved in a court of law ...

Read more ...

'Staggering' pain claims in Brooklyn stoke suspicion

A USA TODAY analysis reveals that some of Medicare's top-earning specialists are in the New York City borough and sharing thousands of Medicare patients in volumes much higher than the norm. In hundreds of cases, patients have seen several pain specialists on the same day, shuffling between therapists who have billed Medicare for tens of thousands of procedures. In one case, a chiropractor and an occupational therapist saw the same patients on the same day more than 11,000 times in 18 months.

These high-earning occupational therapists, chiropractors and physical therapists have given Brooklyn an unusual distinction. It either ...

Read more ...

VA executives received $100M in bonuses as problems mounted

Executives and employees of the troubled Veterans Affairs health system enjoyed over $100 million in bonuses, according to the Asbury Park Press.

The federal government warned the VA in the past about the growing issue of excessive patient wait times and its detrimental effect on the health care system. Still, VA executives and employees received $108.7 million in bonuses over the course of three years.

Since 2005 more than a dozen reports have been released showing the negative impact of patient wait times at both the national and local levels. The VA said more than 57,000 veterans waited ...

Read more ...

How the VA developed its culture of coverups

The resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki isn’t likely to fix systemic problems at the beleaguered agency, the Washington Post reports.

The VA’s “towering bureaucracy,” once designed to prevent mismanagement and corruption, ultimately allowed it to hide its problems from senior staff.

Scheduling clerks were told to “zero out” wait times. In Phoenix, for instance, official data showed veterans waited an average of 24 days for an appointment. In reality, the average wait was 115 days. Reporter David Fahrenthold explains:

This is how it worked: A patient asked for an appointment on a specific day. Turner ...

Read more ...

The cost of not caring: Inside a mental health system drowning from neglect

States have been reducing hospital beds for decades, because of insurance pressures as well as a desire to provide more care outside institutions, USA TODAY reports.

Tight budgets during the recession forced some of the most devastating cuts in recent memory, says Robert Glover, executive director of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors. States cut $5 billion in mental health services from 2009 to 2012. In the same period, the country eliminated at least 4,500 public psychiatric hospital beds — nearly 10% of the total supply, he says.

The result is that, all too often, people with ...

Read more ...

Inside the private umbilical cord blood banking business

The question of whether to pay for storage of a baby's cord blood is now routinely asked of expectant parents in obstetrician offices and hospital delivery rooms. Many states have passed laws requiring that doctors tell expectant parents their options for cord blood: discard it; bank it privately; or donate it to a public bank, which like a blood or organ bank helps people in need. The harvesting and storage of stem cells from the blood of umbilical cords has surged in the past decade to a $4 billion global industry.

But a Wall Street Journal analysis of government ...

Read more ...

In New York, a Heart Surgery Factory With 'Obscene Levels' of Pay

Reports of scheduled ER visits raised a concern internally that some cardiologists might be using the emergency department to get the costs of uninsured patients’ procedures covered, according to hospital correspondence. In some cases, the government’s Medicaid program and private insurers will pay for procedures done via an emergency-room visit that wouldn’t be covered otherwise, Bloomberg News reports.

Read the full story.

Extra Extra Monday: American Indian casinos, oil field fatalities, student absenteeism

Suicide rate hits 25-year high in region | Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal

Craig Russell Wishnick is one of 238 residents of Dutchess and Ulster counties to die by suicide in the five years ending in 2011, 73 more than in the five years ending in 2003, according to a Poughkeepsie Journal analysis of death certificates over a 13-year period. That is an increase in harder-hit Dutchess of 62 percent and the first hike in the county rate after a quarter-century of steady and solid decline.

 

Does Utah’s air pollution increase school absences? | The Salt Lake Tribune

Health problems are a ...

Read more ...

South Carolina among worst in nation on newborn tests

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, South Carolina “ranks among the worst in the nation as to how quickly hospitals send babies' blood samples to state labs for testing of rare but deadly genetic disorders.”

“Federally backed guidelines recommend blood samples take no more than three days to arrive at labs for testing, as children with these genetic disorders can die or become extremely ill just a few days after birth. Last year, only a quarter of newborn screening samples in South Carolina arrived at the lab within three days of collection.”

The story is part of the paper’s ...

Read more ...