Suit for Injury During Insurance Company Doctor’s Medical Examination Subject to Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations, Holds Court of Appeals

Part and parcel of many types of claims for bodily injuries is the medical examination conducted by a physician designated by an insurance company; this however can be complicated by the physician-patient relationship. This can occur in contexts including a personal injury lawsuit, a claim for motor vehicle no-fault benefits, a disability claim or a workers compensation claim. Once in a while one of our clients complains that they were injured by the insurance company doctor, although no one, as far as we know, has gone so far as to try to sue the doctor. But if a client … Read the rest

New Medicare/Medicaid Guidelines for Nursing Home Nutrition and Sanitary Conditions

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released new Interpretive Guidelines for nutrition and sanitary conditions in nursing homes effective September 1, 2008. The changes clarify areas such as assessment, care planning, and interventions for LTC residents.

The new guidelines are significant as it contains detailed instructions for acceptable parameters of nutritional status, details on required nutritional assessment, food and fluid intake, care planning, and weight-related interventions. There are also added sections on wound healing and feeding tubes which were not in the previous Interpretive Guidelines. Appendix PP – Guidance to Surveyors for Long Term Care Facilities updates … Read the rest

Few Doctors Report Abuse of Elderly Patients

A recent article in The Providence Journal notes that although doctors in almost every state are required by law to report suspected elder abuse of their patients, hardly any of them do, even if they fear that their silence may subject an elderly person to continued abuse at the hands of a caregiver or in a nursing home. Physicians report just 2 percent of the elder abuse and neglect cases recorded each year by state protective service agencies, according to medical and legal experts and recent articles published in medical journals.

One study, published in 2005 in a journal … Read the rest

Think Hospital Records Dont Lie? Lets Go to the Videotape

According to the medical records of the psychiatric emergency room at Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn, New York, a patient named Esmin Elizabeth Green, who had been brought to the hospital almost 24 hours earlier but had not yet been seen by a doctor, was sitting quietly in a chair. In fact, she was already dead. The hospital chart also says that she got up to walk to the bathroom when she was actually writhing on the floor. How do we know the truth? Because unlike most instances of medical malpractice, this apparent fiasco is captured on the … Read the rest

First Nationwide Hospital-By-Hospital Survey Of Patient Satisfaction Released: Results Not Flattering for Long Island Hospitals

For the first time, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has posted consumer survey information on its Hospital Compare Web site (www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov) that attempts to capture the experiences of a patients in a hospital. It is a unique attempt by the government to evaluate hospital care from the perspective of the patient.

Unfortunately for Long Islanders, on average, Long Island hospitals scored lower in patient satisfaction in eight out of 10 measures compared with other hospitals statewide or nationally. The Island’s largest health system, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, did not fare well on the survey. Long … Read the rest

Results of Survey of Practicing Doctors Renew Doubts Regarding the Medical Profession’s Ability to Regulate Itself

A survey of a national random sample of practicing doctors found that nearly half of all U.S. doctors fail to report incompetent or unethical colleagues, even though they agree that such mistakes should be reported. More specifically, while 96% of respondents said doctors should always report impaired or incompetent colleagues, only 55% of those with direct personal knowledge of such doctors in the past three years said they always did so. And while 93% of respondents said doctors should always alert authorities when they observe serious medical errors, only 54% of those who had such information in the past three … Read the rest

Possible Statute of Limitations Bar to Over 600 People Who Doctor Might Have Exposed to Hepatitis B and C and HIV Illustrates Gross Unfairness of Lack of “Discovery Rule”

Earlier this week, 628 people were sent letters by the New York State Health Department urging them to get tested for hepatitis B and C and HIV, all blood borne diseases, because they had received epidural injections from Dr. Harvey Finkelstein, who used re-used syringes, from January 1, 2000 to January 15, 2005.

Even though the victims would have had no way of knowing that they had been exposed to the diseases until now, it may be too late for them to sue the doctor. This is because under New York law, the time period to bring suit (2 1/2 … 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

New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation Publicly Releases Data on Infection and Death Rates

On September 7th, 2007, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (NYCHHC), the nation’s largest public health system treating 1.3 million patients a year, began publicly releasing data on infection and death rates at its 11 hospitals and 4 nursing homes.

The safety and performance information is posted on the hospital corporation’s Web site, www.nyc.gov/hhc. The Web site allows the public to see the overall death rate, the rate of deaths after heart attacks, preventable bloodstream infections and pneumonia cases, among other measures, at the 11 hospitals.

Information on the Web site also includes what the NYCHHC considers to … 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