May 25, 2012
By Amy Kaufman*
Massachusetts Hospitals Will Try Apology Therapy
American Medical News (5/21) reports that seven Massachusetts hospitals have chosen to implement an "I'm sorry" policy modeled after a program that was developed by the University of Michigan Health Care System. Participating hospitals expect that the new policy will increase transparency, reduce the number of medical liability lawsuits, and improve patient safety.
FDA Reauthorization Bill Approved by Senate
The Hill (5/24) reports that the U.S. Senate voted to approve a Food and Drug Administration reauthorization bill, 96-1. "The bill, the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (S.3187), sponsored by Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) creates a user-fee program for biosimilar and generic drugs to speed up FDA approval of those drugs."
Missouri Hospital System Joins Mayo Clinic Network
Fierce Healthcare (5/24) reports that Rochester, MN-based Mayo Clinic has added a fifth outside hospital system, Heartland Health in Missouri, to its Mayo Clinic Network. This affiliation is part of the network's efforts to grow its patient base and reach into new geographic areas without incurring the costs associated with acquiring or building new facilities.
Trained Interpreters Enhance Care for Non-Anglophone Patients
The Washington Post (5/21) reports that hospitals' inability to provide interpreters for patients who do not speak English can have potential clinical consequences and potentially implicate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 if such hospitals receive federal funds for treating patients.
Surgical Residents' Fatigue Continues Despite Duty Hour Limits
Fierce Healthcare (5/23) reports that, despite last year's action by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education to limit residents' hours on duty, resident surgeons are still fatigued. According to a study published in the Archives of Surgery, fatigued residents present a greater risk to patient safety than their well-rested counterparts.
Stolen Laptop May Expose Boston Children's Medical Records
Modern Healthcare (5/24; subscription required) reports that the medical records of 2,159 Boston Children's Hospital's surgical patients might have been breached when a staff member's laptop was stolen during a conference in Buenos Aires. The hospital has been unable to determine whether the records were accessible on the laptop.
*We would like to thank Amy E. Kaufman, Esquire (Patton Boggs LLP, Washington, DC), for providing this week's update.