Medicare Rate Compromise

From Modern Healthcare:

House and Senate negotiators reached a compromise bill that would eliminate a scheduled 5% Medicare rate cut for physicians in 2007 and establish a 1.5% incentive increase for doctors who report on quality measures. A House vote on the bill is expected later today, while the Senate may vote late tonight or tomorrow.

Failure to Ascertain Signs of Life?

From the Reno Gazette-Journal:

PAHRUMP, Nev. (AP) — Two emergency medical technicians were facing felony charges after police say they failed to provide medical aid to a man with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Carrol L. Meeks and Rod Fernandes were arrested Nov. 30, six days after the death of 64-year-old Linus Windler, Nye County sheriff’s officials said.

According to a sheriff’s report, Meeks and Fernandes heard a gunshot as they arrived at Windler’s trailer home in Pahrump on a 911 call about a man having trouble breathing. Inside, Meeks and Fernandes found Windler with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

The EMTs allegedly told officers at the scene that Windler was dead, but a deputy noticed Windler was breathing and had a pulse.

Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Windler went without treatment at the scene for at least 30 minutes, and almost an hour passed before an ambulance delivered him to Desert View Regional Medical Center in Pahrump.

Windler’s trailer is four miles from the hospital.

Windler was pronounced dead within 30 minutes of arriving at the hospital, officials said.

Fernandes and Meeks were each charged with one count of felony criminal neglect of a patient and felony neglect of an older person. Each was freed on $10,000 bail.
Pahrump Fire Chief Scott Lewis said he could not comment about the case.

Medtronic Spinning Off Physio Control

From Medgadget:

Medtronic has announced the spinning off of its external defibrillator business into a publicly traded company called Physio-Control, Inc. According to Medtronic, Physio-Control is already in many ways an independently functioning entity, with its own manufacturing facilities, headquartered in Redmond, Washington.

Press release

New Laryngoscope

From Medgadget:

The Airway Scope AWS-S100 newly released by PENTAX makes possible to perform an tracheal intubation easily.The AWS-S100 has an imaging CCD and LED light attached to its tip. AWS-S100 is paired with an Intlock blade with curved shape. These features allow the operator to verify conditions in the oral cavity and the intubation status during tracheal intubation on a 2.4-inch color LCD monitor. With this device, there is no need to extend the patient’s neck or apply excessive force. By placing the airway scope under the epiglottis and raising it lightly, it is possible to insert an endotracheal tube into the trachea. The Airway Scope AWS-S100 supports even less experienced operators can perform fast and accurate tracheal intubation, thus greatly reducing the burden on the operator and the patient alike…

The angle of the built-in monitor screen can be adjusted for easier viewing. This makes it possible to perform tracheal intubation while comfortably viewing inside the patient’s mouth cavity from various position, regardless of whether the patient is in a cranial position, on his side, or facing upright..

"E Really is for Emergency"

From the Florida Times-Union:

Its waiting rooms and stretchers increasingly filled with complaints that run more toward “I don’t feel well” than “I can’t breathe,” another hospital is cracking down on people who use its ER as a walk-in clinic.

In mid-November, Orange Park Medical Center became the second Northeast Florida emergency room in recent months to ask the least sick of its patients to turn elsewhere for care or face a $100 fee.

Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville started the policy in August. Both facilities are operated by Hospital Corporation of America.

Tom Rounds, Memorial Hospital’s director of emergency service, said the policy began in Houston emergency rooms years ago. It started at Memorial Hospital in a pilot program and expanded to Orange Park Medical Center this month to ease overcrowding and make room for seriously ill patients, he said.

“There really is a national push to get ERs back to their original intent,” he said.
Of the 5,500 patients who went to Memorial Hospital’s ER in October, about 500 were told they would be better off being treated at an urgent care center, a clinic or a doctor’s office, according to the hospital. Since mid-November, 236 people at Orange Park Medical Center have fallen into the non-emergency category, hospital statistics show.