July 20, 2012
By Amy Kaufman*
Confidential NIH Files Disclosed
The Wall Street Journal (7/17) reports that a document management company's inadvertent disclosure of confidential government files included materials from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Senate investigators found that thousands of pages of NIH grant information is now available to the public. Note: access to full article requires online subscription.
U.S. News Releases Its 2012-2013 Honor Roll
U.S. News (7/16) reports that Massachusetts General Hospital took over the number one spot in its Best Hospital Rankings for 2012-2013. Johns Hopkins had been ranked number one for twenty-one years and moved to second place, followed by the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic, in third and fourth place, respectively. U.S. News evaluated more than 5,000 hospitals around the country and selected only seventeen to appear on its Honor Roll.
Texas Supreme Court Rules That Drug Manufacturers Are Not Liable
American Medical News (7/16) reports that the Supreme Court of Texas ruled that pharmaceutical manufacturers do not have a duty to warn patients of risks when they market their products. The court's ruling stems from a case filed by Texas residents against Centocor Inc. alleging that the company included improper warnings and instructions concerning the use of its drug Remicade. The majority of states follow a similar interpretation of the learned intermediary doctrine.
Safety Net Hospitals at Risk for Lower Payments
Reuters (7/16) reports that hospitals that have a significant patient population that is poor or uninsured may suffer if those patients give them lower ratings than other hospitals. Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid will tie a portion of hospitals' payments to performance measures, which take into account patient satisfaction surveys. According to a study by Dr. Ashish Jha from the Harvard School of Public Health, patients at safety net hospitals rate their experiences as slightly worse than patients at other hospitals. Dr. Jha indicated that Medicare could potentially provide resources to safety net hospitals to improve patient experiences and later award any improvement that follows.
NYU Langone Medical Center to Change Discharge Procedures
The New York Times (7/18) reports that NYU Langone Medical Center has developed a new checklist to ensure that providers have checked all of a patient's critical lab results and vital signs before he or she is discharged. The hospital implemented this new procedure following the death of a twelve-year-old boy who was discharged from the emergency room with a fever and rapid heart rate.
Give Us Your Feedback
If you have a preference for when to receive future Teaching Hospital Updates, we would love to hear from you! Please let us know if you prefer the usual Friday delivery of the Update or if you would prefer it to be moved to Mondays.
*We would like to thank Amy E. Kaufman, Esquire (Patton Boggs LLP, Washington, DC), for providing this week's update.
AHLA Teaching Hospital Updates are intended to provide quick summaries of cutting-edge issues of interest to teaching hospitals and their counsel. Additional information and more in-depth coverage on these topics may be available from AHLA Health Lawyers Weekly and appropriate AHLA Practice Groups.
Follow the Teaching Hospitals and Academic Medical Centers Practice Group on Twitter @AHLA_TH_AMCs.