Tattoos not a turn-off in emergency doctors

From Cosmos:

To test whether patients in distress and fear were adversely affected by the appearance of the emergency room doctor attending to them, a group of US medicos spent nine months pretending to have tattoos and body piercings.

The result? Most patients didn’t care a jot.

Researchers Marissa Cohen, Donald Jeanmonod, Holly Stankewicz, Keith Habeeb, Matthew Berrios, Rebecca Jeanmonod, all from the St Luke’s University Health Network in Pennsylvania, asked physicians to slap on fake tattoos and piercings before attending to people admitted to emergency rooms.

Following their treatments, the patients were approached by one of the group, and asked to rate their care. They were asked whether the doctor had been courteous, and whether they were trustworthy. The matter of body art was never raised.

More than three-quarters of respondents gave top marks to the doctors, regardless of whether they looked like an insurance claims adjuster or a roadie at rock festival.

Emergency departments: the ‘chewing gum and duct tape’ holding together U.S. health care

From STAT:

Today, if you are acutely ill or have experienced trauma, you can go to an emergency department anywhere in this country and receive immediate, excellent, lifesaving care from people who have spent their careers learning how it’s done.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that, in parallel with the rise in emergency medicine, health care costs steadily surged upward. Today, medical debt is the most common cause for personal bankruptcy, particularly in the elderly. At the same time, health care insurance is becoming increasingly difficult to afford.

Until health care reform happens, the stopgap measure is the emergency department. Why? Because it is like mom and dad: When no one else will take you in, the emergency department can’t turn you away. It’s against the law to do that. But using emergency departments to create access to health care is like putting a snow plow on a Porsche. It costs much more, does a bad job, and it trashes the Porsche.

IDPH Releases Mandatory Reporting Requirements for Iowa Hospitals

From the IHA:

IDPH Releases Mandatory Reporting Requirements for Hospitals

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has released a memo providing direction on new mandatory reporting requirements when medical providers administer Naloxone to patients with confirmed opioid overdose. The purpose of this approach is to proactively address opioid misuse in Iowa and all reports are due to the department within three days of administering the medication. The information gathered will be provided to IDPH, stakeholders and communities to address the misuse of opioids in a more actionable timeframe to increase preventative efforts.

Though the department recognizes Naloxone can be administered by a number of individuals, they expect that hospitals will be the responsible entites for reporting opioid overdoses and Naloxone use to reduce the potential for duplicate reporting. These new reporting guidelines took effect on July 1 and will remain in place until December 31, 2019. All reports can be made to the dedicated reporting website provided through IDPH. For more information, contact Jennifer Nutt or Erin Cubit at IHA.

Electric vehicles mean first responders have to deal with battery fires

From The Verge:

So what do first responders need to do differently when they encounter an EV fire?

The first step is identify the vehicle — not only that it’s an electric vehicle, but also the model so they know where the battery is and how to shut down the vehicle, says Michael Gorin. Gorin is program manager of emerging technologies at the National Fire Protection Association, a non-profit that works with firefighters and first responders. Many EVs run silently, so there’s a risk that a firefighter won’t realize the vehicle is still on and will try to help the driver while they’re still in the car. Or the first responder who is unaware might get shocked by the voltage.

Vulnerable Rural Hospitals Face Tough Decisions On Questionable Billing Schemes

From NPR:

The only hospital serving the community of rural Callaway County, Mo. — Fulton Medical Center — was set to shut down last September. When staff arrived one afternoon for a potluck goodbye party, they were met with an unexpected guest, Jorge Perez, a management consultant from Florida. He announced he’d just bought the hospital, and planned to keep it open.

Yet despite their typically slim operating margins, Perez has been buying them. He and his business partners own or manage nearly 20 rural hospitals in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Florida and elsewhere. By the end of this year, he says, he wants to own 50 of them. A serial entrepreneur with a background in IT, he’s known for coming in to rural hospitals on the brink of closure with a promise to turn them around.

“Part of our secret sauce is that we will bring in new services that didn’t exist before,” Perez said in an interview following the event in Fulton last September.

But an investigation by NPR and its reporting partners uncovered a pattern of controversial business practices by management companies with ties to Perez, which can lead to big profits for the management companies, but high risks for vulnerable hospitals.