Hospital’s Mistaken Medication Overdose of Dennis Quaid’s 2-Week Old Twins Underscores a Big Problem in Health System

Each year at least 1.5 million Americans are injured – and 15,000 die – after receiving the wrong medication or an incorrect dose, says the federal Institute of Medicine. Such incidents have more than doubled in the past decade. Causes include pharmacists stocking drugs improperly, nurses not double-checking to make sure they are dispensing the proper medication, illegible handwriting by doctors, and similarities between names of different drugs.

In the incident involving Dennis Quaid’s 2-week old twins, they were given 1,000 times the intended dosage of the blood thinner Heparin at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, one of the top hospitals in … Read the rest

Wrongful Denials of HMO Treatment in New York are Common and are Often Successfully Appealed

Many patients of health maintenance organizations (“HMO”) are unaware of their legal right to appeal a decision denying their requested treatment. The desired treatment is normally denied deemed as”medically unnecessary” or “experimental.” The law also only provides for a mere 45 day deadline in which one can file this appeal.

The ignorance of various patients of their ability to appeal is particularly problematic in light of the fact that, according to the New York State Insurance Department, approximately 42.6 and 49.4 percent of the cases that are appealed are in fact reversed.

Therefore, it is important that patients are made … Read the rest

Medicare to Stop Paying Hospitals Extra to Treat Their Preventable Errors

Medicare, in a significant policy change, will no longer pay the extra costs of treating preventable errors, injuries and infections that occur in hospitals, which the government says could save lives and millions of dollars.

Under the new rule, effective October 1, 2007, and applicable to discharges occurring on or after that date, Medicare will not pay hospitals for the costs of treating certain conditions that could reasonably have been prevented. Significantly, under the new rules, the hospital cannot bill the beneficiary for any charges associated with the hospital-acquired complication.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that patients … Read the rest