April 19, 2013
By Adam Mingal*
Edited by Amy Kaufman
Physician-Owned Hospitals Faring Well under the Affordable Care Act
Medscape Today (4/18) reports that hospitals owned by doctors have done particularly well under two programs in the federal healthcare legislation. The first program rewards or penalizes hospitals as a result of their performance on certain quality measures, while the second penalizes hospitals for readmitting patients following discharge. One hundred and twenty-two of the 161 hospitals eligible to participate in the health law's quality programs are earning incentive payments, while only 39 are losing money, compared to 74% of other hospitals which are being penalized. (Note: registration is required to access this article.)
Report: Hospitals Spending Little on Community Health
Medpage Today (4/17) reports that according to a recent study in The New England Journal of Medicine, only about 5% of the 7.5% of tax-exempt hospitals' operating expenses that are allocated for community benefits are actually spent on community health improvement. The largest portion of the community benefits expenditures—85%—is spent on "charity care and other care-related services."
Researchers Make Key Discoveries in Natural Lubricants
HealthCanal (4/18) reports that researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Schepens Eye Institute and the University of Calgary have made discoveries that may be key for those who suffer from dry eyes and refractive surgery complications, as well as for women who suffer from postmenopausal vaginal atrophy, xerostomia, and interstitial cystitis. The research revealed the presence of lubricin on the ocular service, which inhibits friction between the conjunctiva and cornea and prevents eye injury. The study also revealed that a deficiency in lubricin can damage the cornea. The lubricin may have similar effects throughout the body.
Op-Ed: Residents' Workload Pushing them to Limits
The New York Times (4/18) published an Op-Ed highlighting the great amount of stress resident doctors are under and the grueling timetable by which they are expected to abide. The article notes that, despite efforts by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education to limit trainees' hours, studies show that residents are not happier, are not getting more sleep, are not studying more, and that there has been no appreciable quality of care improvement since the work-hour limitations took effect.
Study: More Pediatric Hospitals have EHRs than Not
MedicalXpress (4/17) reports that nearly 60% of children's hospitals had electronic health records (EHRs) in 2011, according to the April 15 edition of Pediatrics. The rate of children's hospitals with EHRs rose from 28% to 59% from 2008 to 2011 and, according to the published research, has outpaced EHRs meaningful use in adult hospitals.
*We would like to thank Adam Mingal, Esquire (Department on Disability Services, Washington, DC), for providing this week's update. We would also like to thank Amy E. Kaufman, Esquire (Patton Boggs LLP, Washington, DC), for coordinating the weekly update.