University of Chicago in trouble again

From MedPage Today:

WhiteCoat has a reasonable rundown on the events surrounding last month’s death in the waiting room at University of Chicago Medical Center — as well as a satisfying but spurious idea of how UCMC should respond.   The news is that now CMS is looking into this as an EMTALA violation, which, based on the facts as presented, it almost certainly is.   The headline is that Medicare could pull its certification of the hospital, which is technically accurate, but terribly unlikely.

UCMC is in trouble.   There’s no mistaking that fact.   They’re being crucified in the media over their ER, and with good cause — their ER is a nightmare, even for an inner-city academic center.   It seems to be a self-inflicted problem caused primarily by bad senior management — not of the ER, but of the facility.

UTMB Closes ED, Opens Urgent Care Center

From Emergency Physicians Monthly:

The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston trauma center was significantly damaged by Hurricane Ike in September 2008. After the storm cleared, UTMB kept its ED open only to treat patients with minor ailments or to provide stabilizing treatment and transfer to patients who needed higher levels of care. About 600 patients needed transfer since Hurricane Ike struck the area.

UTMB’s program appears similar to a program at the University of Chicago that evoked public outrage not too long ago.

According to an article in today’s Galveston County Daily News, UTMB stopped the “treat and transfer” program that it had been using since September.

Instead, UTMB decided to close down its emergency department.

Now no one has access to emergency care at the hospital. Everyone with an emergency condition must call 911 to be transferred to another hospital – apparently in Houston which is a 48 mile trip according to Google Maps.