Hospital Emergency Room Use in Medicaid: What We Know

From the Piper Report:

MACPAC found that increased use of the ED by Medicaid enrollees is due to the higher rates and severity of chronic disease and disability that enrollees experience in comparison to those who are uninsured and privately insured. Another presumed reason for the high use of the ED could be lack of access to primary, specialty, dental, and outpatient mental health care in other settings.

Program curbs ER trips with paramedic home visits

From Tucson:

A northwest-side fire department is testing a new program that seeks to lessen the number of emergency medical calls by providing some patients with in-home visits from specially trained paramedics.

The goal of the Golder Ranch Fire District “paramedicine” program is to cut costs for hospital emergency rooms while providing added services to residents in its coverage area.

Widow: Husband’s Hairy Chest Reason for Not Defibrillating on Flight

From Gawker:

While on board a Southwest Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Albuquerque, Jack Jordan suffered a massive heart attack, which rallied passengers on the flight to give the man CPR. While others gathered to a help, a flight attendant allegedly said the heart defibrillator couldn’t be used because the man’s chest was too hairy.

Fed up with violent incidents, hospitals seek to balance security with patient care

From Fierce Healthcare:

All hospitals now focus on security and preventing violence to keep patients and staff safe, according to Kerry McKean Kelley, vice president of communications for the New Jersey Hospital Association, who spoke to New Jersey 101.5 after last week’s shooting death of a patient at Kennedy University Hospital in South Jersey.

Kelley said that the security measures are part of hospital’s everyday planning. The biggest challenge, she said, is balancing the need for security and keeping the hospital setting a welcoming environment for patients and visitors.

“Security is paramount, but we also need to have that open access, that’s part of a role of a community hospital,” she said.

Walmart Offers Health Care for $40

From 247WallStreet:

Some Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) locations have offered health care services since 2005 in about 100 stores. On Friday, the company opened its first Walmart-owned clinics in two Georgia stores, three South Carolina stores and four Texas stores.

At its website, Walmart promotes a $40 charge per visit, not including lab tests, immunizations and “other ancillary services associated with the visit.” The clinic offers primary care services as well as preventive services, and the company promotes this as an “expanded scope of services [that] enables us to be your primary medical provider.”


Not just for patients: Animal therapy benefits ER docs, nurses

From Fierce Healthcare:

Although hospitals have long used therapy dogs to help patients, the animals can also help relieve the stress of emergency room doctors and nurses who must handle life-and-death situations every day.

Instead of spending their lunch hour eating sandwiches, ER physicians and nurses at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania now spend “puppy” time with animals from Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, ABC News reports.

State suspends license of emergency room doctor

From Kentucky:

The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure has suspended the license of an emergency room doctor practicing at Harlan ARH Hospital.

Dr. Donald Ramsey, of Knoxville, Tenn., had been prescribing diet pills to nursing staff, which they were allegedly using to help them stay alert during night shifts, according to board documents.

The state began investigating after an anonymous complaint in February stating that Ramsey was prescribing twice the daily recommended dose of the appetite suppressant phentermine to hospital employees and their spouses.

A board consultant said Ramsey had prescribed 4,760 doses of phentermine and 720 doses of Alprazolam in a year’s time and that his prescribing patterns posed “a clear danger to these persons and the general public.”

App Turns Your Phone’s Camera Into a Jaundice-Detecting Pediatrician

From Gizmodo:

Infant jaundice, where a baby’s liver can’t remove blood toxins, is potentially fatal. Doctors recognize it as an unusual yellow hue in a baby’s skin and eyes, but what if you’re a nervous parent far from a pediatrician? This experimental app turns your phone’s camera into a doctor’s trained eye.

BiliCam‘s premise is simple: Just lay the printed color key on your baby’s belly and snap a photo. The app sends the photo’s data to the cloud, where an algorithm measures the difference between the baby’s skin tone and the color chart to instantly send an estimated bilirubin level to your phone.

Freestanding ERs Target Suburbs, Rural Panel Told

From Kaiser Health News

Freestanding emergency departments (ED) have been proposed in Georgia as a potential solution for struggling rural hospitals, or newly closed ones, that want to remain operational in downsized form to help patients in need.

But the trend toward such standalone emergency rooms nationally is totally different from that picture, members of the Georgia Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee were told Monday.

Off Off Broadway: “Life in the ER”: Interconnected Scenes from an Emergency Room

From the Villager:

Go to your nearest ER right now, though, and you probably won’t find a rookie dominatrix with her (injured) customer, a hypnotized woman, a mother pretending to be her daughter’s age and a college student who almost killed her professor.

Yet, in “Life in the ER,” they all meet on a Saturday night at the County General Emergency Room. And what’s more, they all seem to know each other.