Neurosurgeon sues Seattle Times for libel over ‘Quantity of Care’ special investigation – iMediaEthics

It’s very unusual to see this lawsuit happening and read the article below. I’ve talked to medical professionals who have  been in operating theatres and while they were not amazed that Dr. Delashaw was running concurrent operations, they were surprised by the number of operations he allegedly oversaw. My sources told me that it is routine procedure for surgeons like Dr. Delashaw to oversee multiple operations, leaving it up to others in the room to open, close, and do the routine procedures during the operation that don’t require the surgeons’ skill and decision making ability. This frees the surgeon to move between theatres and get more done in a day. They were also not surprised that the Dr. was being paid in some way per procedure, which, while the Doctor is claiming in his lawsuit that he was ‘on salary’ it is also routine that almost all hospitals these days do grade surgeons on their ‘numbers’. It is one reason that a noted surgeon in a hospital on the Olympic Peninsula left town, that he was unhappy with being forced to ‘make the numbers.’ This pushes surgeons and other staff to live by the old maxim “if you have a hammer everything looks like a nail.”  It does not lead to better healthcare, only more healthcare, sometimes, as the Seattle Times investigation found out, whether it’s the right thing to do or not.

The Seattle Times is being sued for libel over a Pulitzer Prize-nominated series that reported on a local neurosurgeon. The Seattle Times special investigation “Quantity of Care” looked at Swedish Health’s Cherry Hill hospital, which was acquired by Providence Health & Services in 2011.

https://www.imediaethics.org/neurosurgeon-sues-seattle-times-libel-quantity-care-special-investigation/

FDA Authorizes Marketing of the New Dexcom G6® CGM Eliminating Need for Fingerstick Blood Testing for People with Diabetes | Business Wire

This seems like good news. Whether it will be available for lower income people through medicare/medicaid would mean a lot to help them monitor their glucose levels.

FDA Authorizes Marketing of the New Dexcom G6® CGM Eliminating Need for Fingerstick Blood Testing for People with Diabetes
— Read on www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180327006343/en/FDA-Authorizes-Marketing-New-Dexcom-G6®-CGM

One-of-a kind collaboration expected to train health care workers on Peninsula – PDN

This is a great idea to try and work to train and bring on qualified local people quickly.  Thanks to the Littlejohns and the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe for also helping to fund the initiative. Jefferson Healthcare has tried with little success to find medical professionals willing to relocate here for the long term. I personally have seen them pass over qualified local candidates in favor of people from elsewhere, only to see them leave after a few years of work here. Now this program presents the opportunity to grow candidates on the peninsula, which is far more likely to having them stay for the long haul. A good use of our tax dollars, I’d say.

PORT ANGELES — Peninsula College is teaming up with health care providers from Clallam and Jefferson counties in a wide-ranging $1 million effort funded by state lawmakers, the college foundation, local hospitals and others. The goal: Add registered nurses, medical assistants and certified nursing assistants to a rural medical industry workforce on the North Olympic Peninsula that is typically starving for job applicants.

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/one-of-a-kind-collaboration-expected-to-train-health-care-workers-on-peninsula/

Amid Statewide Mental Health Care Crisis, UW Looks to Shutter Psychiatric Unit – The Stranger

A sad state of affairs. The mentally ill are perpetually short changed by our State government. And if you have a mentally ill adult child up until this recent session you had virtually no way to try and get them into a facility against their will no matter how bad they got, other than being sent off to jail for behavioral issues. At least that was made easier this session.

It seems like there never is enough for the military in this country given the last federal budget that both Democrats and Republicans voted in favor of funding yet our mentally ill facilities are struggling. I personally would be glad to have a mechanism on my tax form to at least state what % of my taxes should go to the military vs. healthcare and other social and infrastructure needs. It could at least act as a guide for grading how our legislators work.

When the American College of Emergency Physicians graded every state back in 2014, it gave Washington a D+. Among our state’s worst marks: psychiatric beds. Washington has just 8.3 beds for every 100,000 people, worse than all but two other states.

https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2018/04/03/25990360/amid-statewide-mental-health-care-crisis-uw-looks-to-shutter-psychiatric-unit

Medicine affordability recommendations made for the U.S

From the Consumer Health Digest

An ad hoc committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has issued a 235-page report on Making Medicines Affordable: A National Imperative. The report includes 14 findings about the complexity of the biopharmaceutical marketplace, 18 findings about factors influencing affordability of prescription drugs, and these eight recommendations (each accompanied by suggested actions):

  • Accelerate the market entry and use of safe and effective generics as well as biosimilars, and foster competition to ensure the continued affordability and availability of these products.
  • Consolidate and apply government purchasing power, strengthen formulary design, and improve drug valuation methods. This includes modifying existing legislation to allow the Dept. of Health and Human Services to negotiate drug prices for Medicare and other programs (p. 127).
  • Assure greater transparency of financial flows and profit margins in the biopharmaceutical supply chain.
  • Promote the adoption of industry codes of conduct, and discourage direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs as well as direct financial incentives for patients.
  • Modify insurance benefits designed to mitigate prescription drug cost burdens for patients.
  • Eliminate misapplication of funds and inefficiencies in federal discount programs that are intended to aid vulnerable populations.
  • Ensure that financial incentives for the prevention and treatment of rare diseases are not extended to widely sold drugs.
  • Increase available information and implement reimbursement incentives to more closely align clinicians’ prescribing practices with treatment value.

Pages 52 and 53 cover Medicare drug price negotiation in detail. Pages 96 to 98 discuss drug reimportation. The full report can be read online or downloaded free of charge by registered users of the Academy’s site.