August 3, 2012
By Sarah Kitchell*
Canadian Study: More Pediatric Adverse Events at Academic Medical Centers
MedPage Today (7/31) reported that a recently published Canadian study found "pediatric inpatients had more adverse events at academic hospitals" in Canada, but that the academic hospitals also had "fewer preventable complications compared with non-academic centers." The study noted that adverse events, such as surgical complications, "occurred three times more often in academic pediatric hospitals." The investigators concluded that their findings were not "unique to Canada" because "risk factors for unsafe care in pediatrics are universal, including children's physical characteristics and developmental variability."
CMS Funds $200 Million in Graduate Nurse Education Demonstration Projects
Fierce Healthcare (7/31) reported that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a new initiative to train advanced practice registered nursing (APRN) students. The $200 million in funding will be shared by five U.S. hospitals over a four-year period. According to the article, "CMS will reimburse hospitals on a per-student basis, with payments tied to the number of additional ARPNs trained due to participation."
OCR: Twenty-One Million Individuals' Medical Records Breached Since 2009
Modern Healthcare (8/01) reported that "there have been 477 breaches reported to the Office for Civil Rights [("OCR")] affecting 500 or more people," for a total of 20,970,222 medical records since September 2009, when the reporting requirement went into effect. According to the article, "[t]heft is the most commonly reported breach type (54%), followed by unauthorized access or disclosure (20%), loss (11%), hacking (6%), improper disposal (5%), and other/unknown (4%)." A listing of the entities reporting a breach can be found at the OCR website. (Note: registration is required to access this article.)
Lawsuit Over Involuntary Transfer of Nursing Home Resident Allowed
According to BNA Health Care Daily (8/02), a federal district court in Maryland recently ruled that a lawsuit involving the involuntary discharge and transfer of a nursing home resident to an assisted living facility may proceed on claims of false imprisonment. The estate of the deceased resident claimed that the nursing home "knowingly defied" the estate's "express instruction not to transfer [the patient]" and then "actively concealed the details of the transfer" from the estate. The nursing home claimed that the resident was "allegedly competent" but the court ruled that there was "no controvertible evidence that [the resident] actually consented to the transfer." (Note: registration is required to access this article.)
"Nocebo Effect": Doctors May Trigger Medication Side Effects with Warnings
The Boston Globe (8/01) reported on a German study that found "when doctors and nurses inform patients about a laundry list of symptoms" potentially caused by a patient's use of a prescribed medication, the practitioner "may unintentionally trigger these symptoms [for the patient] by the power of suggestion." Called the "evil twin of the placebo effect," the so-called "nocebo effect" may be caused by the patient's "belief in a drug's side effects." The article cited several ways to "reduce the nocebo effect," including telling patients about the effect ("framing" the discussion).
*We would like to thank Sarah Kitchell, Esquire (McDermott Will & Emery LLP, Boston, MA), 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.