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May 1, 2012

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  • Most disturbing sex abuse case in healthcare history

    Sexual abuse cases have torn through institutions such as The Pennsylvania State University in recent years, and the state of Delaware is grappling with what is being called the most heinous case of sexual exploitation in healthcare in history. A pediatrician is serving 14 life sentences plus 164 years, and the hospital is facing multiple lawsuits, including a class action lawsuit that could involve as many as 7,000 patients.
  • Bradley case considered the worst ever in healthcare

    The case of Earl B. Bradley, MD, is so sickening that no one wants even the most remote association with it. After Bradley was arrested and convicted of abusing children, the property housing his pediatric clinic, which was the scene of the crimes, couldn't be sold even for a pittance. The city demolished it and hoped to wipe away a terrible reminder.
  • Call police, do not refer abuse cases to peer review

    Risk managers should remind employees that calling the police can be the right thing to do, says Grena Porto, RN, MS, ARM, CPHRM, principal with QRS Healthcare Consulting in Hockessin, DE, and former president of the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management (ASHRM) in Chicago.
  • Have zero tolerance with protection rules

    Implementing policies to protect children from abuse and then enforcing them with zero tolerance will achieve two things, says Julie Logan, president and CEO of Darkness to Light, a national non-profit dedicated to the prevention of child sexual abuse, based in Charleston, SC.
  • Independent review finds missed opportunities

    The investigative report of Earl Bradley, MD, by Linda Ammons, JD, associate provost and dean of the Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, DE, cites many instances in which his sexual abuse of children could have been stopped. It also alleges that Beebe Medical Center in Lewes, DE, failed to act properly when Bradley's behavior was questioned.
  • Hospital develops chaperone policy

    Following the arrest of pediatrician Earl Bradley, MD, for child sexual abuse, and allegations that Beebe Medical Center in Lewes, DE, did not adequately respond to concerns about Bradley, the hospital established a Special Investigative Commission to look at how Beebe might strengthen its internal procedures and practices.
  • Secret recording raises question of peer review shield

    As useful as peer review protection is in keeping potentially harmful information out of malpractice litigation, risk managers should keep in mind the limits and not become overly dependent on peer review privilege, attorneys say.
  • Risk goes up when pharmacy closes, but what is solution?

    The risk of a medication error rises sharply when a hospital's pharmacy is closed, according to a report by Michael J. Gaunt, PharmD, senior patient safety analyst with the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority in Harrisburg. His recent study found that the incorrect drug was retrieved from an automated dispensing cabinet or night cabinet in 82.3% of wrong-drug events.
  • Texas cap on pain, suffering passes court

    A Texas law that caps pain and suffering awards in healthcare lawsuits was ruled constitutional by a federal judge recently. U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap issued a brief one-page ruling stating "all claims by plaintiffs in this matter are denied," which left the state's 2003 cap on non-economic damages standing.
  • Alert fatigue often related to uncertainty of purpose

    A study by Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs investigators provides the first in-depth look at how healthcare providers react to medication alerts generated by electronic medical record systems. They found that clinicians often ignore alarms because they are uncertain what they mean.
  • Blue Cross to pay $1.5M for HIPAA violations

    Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee (BCBST) has agreed to pay the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) $1.5 million to settle potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules. The enforcement action is the first resulting from a breach report required by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act Breach Notification Rule.
  • EMTALA physician protections pass U.S. House

    Medical liability reforms that include specific protections for physicians who provide services to fulfill the requirements of the Emergency Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) has passed the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • AHC Media launches Hospital Report blog

    For further analysis and discussion of topics important to hospital professionals, check out Hospital Report, AHC Media's new free blog at http://hospitalreport.blogs.reliasmedia.com.
  • HIPAA compliance audits begin with a pilot program

    As promised by the Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and mandated by the HITECH Act, HIPAA compliance audits have begun, and 20 organizations were visited during the pilot phase of the program.
  • Get these documents ready for an audit

    Although there is no way to know exactly what documents you will be asked to provide in the initial HIPAA compliance audit notice from the Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights (OCR) there are some items you can expect to see on the list, according to experts interviewed by HIPAA Regulatory Alert:
  • What can you expect when auditors arrive?

    The initial notice of audit from the Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights (OCR) asks for a significant amount of documentation and information to be submitted within 10 days of the notice date, but that will not be the end of information for which you'll be asked, says Mac McMillan, chief executive officer of CynergisTek, an information technology security consulting company, who advised a Texas hospital included in the initial audits.
  • Do now: Set up in-house audit team

    A well-prepared team that understands roles and responsibilities when a notice of a HIPAA compliance audit is received is essential for every organization and should be established long before a notice is received, suggests Chris Apgar, CISSP, president of Apgar & Associates, a Portland, OR-based consulting firm. Educate them about the purpose of the audit, and give each person specific responsibilities, he says.
  • Proposed rules published for stage 2 meaningful use

    The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have issue Notices of Proposed Rulemaking that are open for comment until May 7, 2012.
  • Consumer privacy is subject of FTC report

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a final report outlining best practices for businesses to protect the privacy of American consumers and give them greater control over the collection and use of their personal data.
  • Failure to detect latex allergy leads to death, $4.7M verdict

    News: A woman underwent a hysterectomy at a local hospital. After surgery, the woman woke up complaining of itching and nausea, and she had blisters on her lips. She was given over-the-counter drugs to assist with these symptoms. The woman later had trouble breathing and developed ventricular tachycardia. Four days after surgery, the woman died. A Mississippi jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of $4.7 million.