May 31, 2013
Authored and edited by Amy Kaufman*
Interns Spend Less Time with Patients and More Time on the Computer
The New York Times "Well" blog (5/30) reports on how interns and residents divide their time between seeing patients and completing other tasks. According to a study published in The Journal of General Internal Medicine, researchers found that current interns " . . . spend the majority of their time . . . reading patient charts, writing notes, entering orders" and on similar tasks, rather than on activities that are more directly related to patient care. In fact, the researchers discovered that interns are only spending approximately eight minutes per day per patient. According to the article, the reduction in the time that young physicians spend with patients might be due to new mandates that restrict duty hours and their responsibility to maintain electronic medical records.
SUNY to Create Network of Providers in Brooklyn
The Wall Street Journal (5/28) reports on a proposed plan where SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn's only academic medical center, will lay off staff at University Hospital of Brooklyn, and potentially transfer Long Island College Hospital to a new operator. The plan is intended to improve the financial permanence of SUNY Downstate, in part by enabling it to "cut costs by reducing the overlap between services." The plan will create a network of healthcare providers throughout Brooklyn, which will be overseen by a newly government agency.
House Republicans Introduce New Draft Legislation to Repeal SGR
Modern Healthcare (5/28) reports that Republican leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have introduced a new discussion draft of a bill that would replace Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate formula with a new payment system. The proposed payment system, which includes new quality metrics and calls for a "fee schedule provider competency update incentive program," would place more importance on quality and efficiency than the current system. The proposed payment system also would require the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to coordinate new quality metrics with existing ones. According to the article, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), the vice chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, is very excited about the draft legislation. (Note: registration is required to access this article.)
Four LSU Public Hospitals in Plans for Privitization
Becker's Hospital Review (5/29) reports that Louisiana State University (LSU) plans to privatize four more public hospitals within its LSU Health Care Services Division and LSU Health, including facilities in Houma, Lake Charles, Monroe, and Shreveport. According to the article, the state legislature is concerned that the LSU board of supervisors did not release important financial data in connection with the takeover plans and also failed to disclose the names of the organizations that would operate the hospitals. This announcement constitutes one more step in the health system's widespread privatization plan.
*We would like to thank Amy E. Kaufman, Esquire (Patton Boggs LLP, Washington, DC), for providing this week's update.