March/April 2009

Nursing malpractice cases return plaintiff verdicts

© 2009 The Medical-Legal News

• The Gist: Basics, basics! The introduction of air into any IV line is presumptively damaging evidence suggesting a breach of basic nursing skills. Massive brain damage can result. Such damage is foreseeable and caused by simple nursing error.

LNC whistleblower to receive half of $4.9 million

© 2009 The Medical-Legal News

By Rose Clifford, editor

RAC audits to increase; Goal: cut Medicare costs

© 2009 The Medical-Legal News

By Dan Clifford, publisher

Hang on to that evidence, even if it may be damaging

© 2009 The Medical-Legal News

By Dan Clifford, publisher

Three goofs in one: Poor charting, failure to name all defendants, and slack citing to medical records

© 2009 The Medical-Legal News

By Rose Clifford, Editor

Patient assessment is more than a form to fill out

© 2009 The Medical-Legal News

By Frances W. Sills, RN, MSN, ARNP

FDA to place new limits on prescription narcotics

© 2009 The Medical-Legal News

OPINION

By Margaret S. Wacker, RN, PhD

Verdicts & Settlements

Compiled from www.verdictslaska.com

Comments by Rose Clifford, RN, LNCC, editor

Surviving in this economy is two-fold for consultants

© 2009 The Medical-Legal News

By Pat Bemis

Doctors’ Medicare billing records, sought to assess care quality, not public

© 2009 The Medical-Legal News

• The Gist: What’s public and what’s not is a perennial debate. Should doctors who receive Medicare money have to disclose —via patient records — how they are managing care with those public funds?
— RC

A consumer group that sought Medicare billing records under the Freedom of Information Act in order to double-check doctors and compile quality data on them was handed a defeat in late January, according to the Associated Press. Patient names would not have been disclosed.
The AP story said that the case is “considered an important battle in the effort to reshape the nation’s healthcare system.”
Doctors argue that disclosure of such data is a violation of privacy and that raw billing records are not necessarily a reflection of quality, as some doctors deal with harder-to-treat, or outlier, patients. The AMA and the federal Health and Human Services department are opposed to such disclosure.
Consumer groups, employers and insurers maintain that disclosure of Medicare claims filed by doctors’ offices will identify quality and ferret out waste.
According to the AP, the Consumers’ Checkbook group won a lower court ruling in 2007 in the matter, but lost at the hands of the three-judge appeals panel.
The group vows to fight on. •

Don’t forget “CYA” files

© 2009 The Medical-Legal News

Nurses sometimes keep a CYA or “cover your assets” file for items related to medical care that do not otherwise belong in the medical records, according to a legal columnist in the December issue of RN magazine.
Such items may include notes and letters to or from patients, letters to management, etc. CYA files are usually discoverable. •

Stem cell miracles continue apace

© 2009 The Medical-Legal News

In the last few months, medical advances fueled by stem cell research have been nothing short of unbelievable.
Scientists have injected stem cells, which were extracted from a pet dog’s fat, back into the animal. The cells then made hip pain repairs.
The journal Circulation Research recently reported that researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have grow functional, pulsing heart cells from skin cells.
Japanese scientists have cured mice whose hind legs were paralyzed by spinal cord damage, and U.S. scientists at Northwestern University have used stem cell therapy to reverse early-stage multiple sclerosis.

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