Saturday, January 25, 2014

And the beat goes on

As the late Congressman Sonny Bono told Chris Matthews (shortly before being killed in a skiing accident), it would be better if there were more people with a hardscrabble background, like his, in Congress because, 'We know that there are people out there who will game any system.'

This is all the news that's fit to print in the NY Times;
To reach admission goals, administrators were directed to monitor on a daily basis the percentage of patients being admitted, using a customized software program called Pro-Med. The progress of the physicians in meeting their goals was updated daily on the scorecards.
When Mr. Cowling confronted Mr. Newsome with physician concerns that the new protocols were clinically inappropriate and would result in unnecessary tests and admissions, and said that his doctors “won’t do it,” Mr. Newsome responded: “Do it anyway,” according to the lawsuit.
As a result, according to a former physician who cited multiple examples, patients who did not need inpatient treatment often were admitted, which allowed the hospital to bill Medicare and Medicaid more for the care. [our bold]
For example;
In Georgia, a baby whose temperature was 98.7 degrees was admitted to the hospital with “fever,” according to a lawsuit filed in federal court by Dr. Craig Brummer, a former medical director of emergency departments at two H.M.A. hospitals.
The Times is making this out to be a story about corporate greed;
The practice of medicine is moving more rapidly than ever from decision-making by individual doctors toward control by corporate interests. The transformation is being fueled by the emergence of large hospital systems that include groups of physicians employed by hospitals and others, and new technologies that closely monitor care. While the new medicine offers significant benefits, like better coordination of a patient’s treatment and measurements of quality, critics say the same technology, size and power can be used against physicians who do not meet the measures established by companies trying to maximize profits. 
But corporations have always been greedy. What's new is that politicians have rearranged the incentives of practicing medicine--one party consumers a service, a second provides it, and a third actor pays for it. Obamacare is only the latest twist in the decades long saga.

Why would any sentient being expect anything else to happen. Sonny Bono wouldn't have.

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