Illinois Supreme Court leaves hospital property tax exemptions in place

From Becker’s:

The Illinois Supreme Court has vacated an appellate court decision issued last year that said a state law that allows nonprofit hospitals to avoid paying property taxes is unconstitutional, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Under a 2012 law, a nonprofit hospital in Illinois doesn’t have to pay property taxes if it can show its charitable services are equal to or exceed its property tax liability. Last January, the Illinois 4th District Appellate Court ruled the 2012 law is unconstitutional. The ruling was issued in a case brought by Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, Ill., against the city of Urbana and other local taxing districts.

Palliative care linked to fewer repeat hospitalizations

From Reuters:

Comfort care for advanced cancer patients is associated with fewer repeat hospitalizations and more hospice referrals, according to a study highlighting how this approach may offer chronically sick or terminally ill people a better quality of life.

Researchers focused on terminal cancer patients who often end up receiving a lot of care during their final months of life; all were already hospitalized for serious medical issues. The study team tested what happened to these patients before and after the start of a new palliative care consultation program in the hospital.

Norepinephrine shortage linked to increase in patient deaths

From Becker’s:

Septic shock patients treated at a hospital with an insufficient supply of the drug norepinephrine were more likely to die than those treated at a hospital not experiencing the effects of the 2011 norepinephrine drug shortage, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Missouri opioid Rx-monitoring fight ignites debate over national program

From Modern Healthcare:

For years, there’s been debate over balancing the need to track potentially addicted patients by providing their clinicians with a vast amount of data on their prescription drug habits and maintaining the privacy of those patients’ records.

The number of overdoses caused by opioids makes the case for maintaining robust drug-monitoring databases, some experts say.

Now the ongoing fight to track opioid prescriptions in the holdout state of Missouri has once again raised discussion on whether the country would be best served by a national monitoring system—or whether it’s too late to implement that idea because the drugs causing overdoses are bought on the street.

Tapping telehealth for complex cases

From Modern Healthcare:

Intermountain, whose telehealth system is among the most advanced in the country, is using the technology to extend its specialists’ skills into the smaller community hospitals and rural locations in its network. These medical outposts rarely have the clinical expertise necessary to handle the more-complex cases that come through their front doors.

The system has installed videoconferencing setups in 1,000 rooms across its 22 hospitals. Intermountain’s 35 telemedicine programs include specialists providing consultations on stroke, newborn critical care, behavioral health, wound care and cancer care. Intermountain is also using remote monitoring for chronic disease patients with conditions such as hypertension and heart failure.

Heroin in rural communities

From the Courier:

Think heroin is a big city problem? Think again and the problem isn’t going away. In fact, it’s increasing.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice website (www.doj.state.wi.us/dci/heroin-awareness/cases-county) lists heroin cases by county. Looking at data collected in 2015 and years prior, the number of heroin cases processed by the Wisconsin State Crime Lab has steadily increased in almost every Wisconsin county.

 

Physicians feel pressured to provide unnecessary care for VIP patients

From Becker’s:

The study, published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine, surveyed hospitalists across eight hospitals about services provided to patients who are considered “VIPs.” In some hospitals, “VIP services” are provided to patients with close relationships to the hospital and may include extra space, enhanced facilities and extraneous comforts and supports. Of the respondents who reported that the presence of VIP services at their hospital, a majority said they felt pressure from VIP patients or their family members to perform additional treatments or tests and roughly one-third felt this pressure from hospital staff, according to the report.