Report Raps Doctor-Owned Hospitals - @ JEMS.com


Report Raps Doctor-Owned Hospitals


 
 

| Friday, January 11, 2008


NEW YORK -- Most physician-owned specialty hospitals are poorly equipped to handle medical emergencies, federal investigators reported yesterday, underscoring a longstanding safety concern about the rapid rise in the number of such hospitals.

The report found only 55 percent of 109 physician-owned hospitals reviewed had emergency departments - and the majority of those had only one bed - wrote inspector general Daniel Levinson at the Department of Health and Human Services. Fewer than a third had physicians on site at all times, and 34 percent relied on dialing 911 to get emergency medical assistance for patients in trouble, according to the report.

Moreover, 7 percent of physician-owned hospitals failed to meet Medicare requirements that a registered nurse be on duty at all times and that at least one doctor be on call if none are in the hospital, the report found.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services does not require participating hospitals to have emergency departments, but they must keep written policies for handling emergencies. And they cannot rely on 911 services as a substitute for their own emergency care.

About a quarter of the hospitals studied were in Texas, and the rest were in Midwestern and Western states, said Randy Fenninger, the Washington lobbyist for Physician Hospitals of America, a trade group based in Sioux Falls, S.D.

"This report found specialty hospital shortcomings across the board," said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who, with Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), requested the investigation. "It's unbelievable that a facility that calls itself a hospital would, at times, not even have a doctor on call or a nurse on duty."

Molly Sandvig, executive director of Physician Hospitals of America, said the study provides no comparison data on how well other kinds of hospitals provide emergency services.

Doctor-owned hospitals serve patients with heart, orthopedic, surgical or other medical needs, and their patients tend to report shorter, more pleasant stays.

The issue drew national attention early last year when a 44-year-old patient went into respiratory arrest after elective spinal fusion surgery at West Texas Hospital, a small facility in Abilene. The staff called 911. The patient, taken by ambulance to a larger regional hospital, died Jan. 23. West Texas closed at the end of March after losing its Medicare certification.


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Industry News, Medical Emergencies, Research

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Improving Survival from Cardiac Arrest Using ACD-CPR + ITD

Using active compression-decompression CPR with an ITD has been shown to improve 1-year survival from cardiac arrest by 33%.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Philadelphia Fire Department Apologizes for Medic’s Jab at Police

Union head calls photos a slap in the face of officers.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Fire and EMS Crews Blame New Technology for Patient’s Death

Delayed response blamed on recurring dispatch problems.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Suspect Steals, Crashes Maryland Ambulance

One killed, others injured in Prince George’s County crash.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Tennessee Trench Rescue

Worker pulled from Roane County worksite.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Time’s Ebola Firefighters

Doctors, nurses and others saluted for fighting virus.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Car Strikes Manhattan Pedestrians

Seven people hurt when car jumps curb.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


More Product Videos >