July 12, 2013
By Ben Daniels*
Edited by Amy Kaufman
Lafayette General Becomes a Teaching Hospital
Modern Healthcare (7/7) reports that the Lafayette General Medical Center in Louisiana is adding "teaching hospital" to its resume following its takeover of University Medical Center (now known as University Hospital and Clinics), which was previously the only teaching hospital in the Acadiana region of the state. The 22 new physicians participating in the new program will split their time between Lafayette General and University Hospital. Lafayette spent roughly $2 million on contracts with 65 private physicians who will serve as the faculty supervising and training the residents.
University of Iowa Health Alliance and CoOportunity Team-Up to Form New Health Plans for Iowans
Becker's Hospital Review (7/8) reports that University of Iowa Health Alliance (UIHA) and CoOportunity Health, a federally licensed nonprofit insurer, will add two new health plans to the Iowa health insurance market in 2014. UIHA is a coalition of four major Iowa health systems, consisting of some 50 hospitals and 160 clinics. CoOportunity Health became a nonprofit insurer under the Affordable Care Act and is the only multi-state consumer-operated and oriented plan in the country. The newly minted plans created by this collaboration will be available throughout most of Iowa, with the potential to span more than 75% of the state's counties.
Brain Injury Study to be Conducted in Boston Hospitals Without Informed Consent
The Boston Globe (7/10). Leveraging an exception to study emergency treatments in life-threatening medical situations without obtaining informed consent, Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Medical Center are preparing to launch a study in August to test whether progesterone can limit brain damage in patients in the hours immediately following a traumatic head injury. Studies of this drug have shown that it has some impact on slowing the rate of cell death during these crisis situations. Under the exception, researchers only need to obtain consent if the patient is able to communicate or if a healthcare proxy can provide the consent within an hour following the injury. If consent cannot be obtained, the drug will be administered and the patient will later be given the opportunity to withdraw from the study.
Regulations May Lead to Less Experience for Surgical Residents
Reuters (7/10) reports that surgical residents feel the quality of their education has declined since the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education implemented restrictions on shifts of junior residents. The restrictions were formulated in response to pressure from government officials, as well as the public, concerned with the quantity of preventable medical errors occurring in hospitals due to doctor fatigue. A recent survey of 1,000 residents found that two out of three lamented this decrease in hands-on experience, and there are concerns among residents and supervising physicians alike that these restrictions may result in interns being unprepared for the heavier caseloads that come with the subsequent years of their residencies.
*We would like to thank Ben M. Daniels, Esquire (Foley & Lardner LLP, Boston, MA), for providing this week's update. We would also like to thank Amy E. Kaufman, Esquire (Patton Boggs LLP, Washington, DC), for coordinating and editing the update.