Articles Posted in Community Involvement

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Crains Chicago Business published a story recently on the progress of certain hosptials in Illinois. There are a growing number of hospital “ranking” systems and safety measures. Each has a somewhat different approach to collecting information and measuring these facilities against one another in term of patient outcomes. In general, the more data the better, as patients are well-served by having open access to important statistics about the quality of care they are likely to receive at various facilties. At the same time it is important not to get overwhelmed by the growing information. It is easy to get confused about how to read the information and determine what is most relevant.

The Crain’s story discussed local hosptials ranked as part of the “Leapfrog Group” survey of facilities. Leapgroup is a non-profit group representing employers who purchase healthcare packages for their employees. According to the story, 118 Illinois facilities were ranked. Of that group, five received the lowest grade possible–an F. Four of those facilities were Chicago-area “safety net” hospitals. Two other Chicago facilities received the second-lowest grade of D. The full report outlines how all 118 facilities statewide fared in the scoring.

The facilities scoring the lowest grades in the Chicago area include: Jackson Park Hospital & Medical Center, Roseland Community Hospital, and Loretta Hosptial.

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Levin & Perconti will sponsor the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy’s Chicago Lawyer Chapter this coming year. ACS is an organization of legal professionals including lawyers, judges, law professors, students, and policymakers that seek to uphold the fundamental principles of human dignity, rights for individuals, justice and equality continue to hold a central place in American law.

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Four years ago, an investigation concluded that it was easier for consumers to find out information about their building contractors than for patients to get information about their doctors. In response, the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners promised to enhance its website to inform the public about doctors. But recently, the board removed medical malpractice lawsuit settlement and judgment information from the doctors’ online records. One State Senator stated that the statute covering the website was not very specific, but added “if we have to spell it out, then we’ll spell it out.”

People should have a right to the medical malpractice history of their doctors to make better informed decisions. Any board hindrance on consumer research into their own health care is unacceptable.

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Levin & Perconti’s Steven Levin and John Perconti are 2008 Illinois Super Lawyers! Chicago Magazine has honored the two for the fourth year in a row as top Illinois Injury Attorneys. John and Steve have practiced Chicago medical malpractice law for over twenty five years.

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“Sicko – Musings on Healthcare From an Insider” is a new blog that has proven to be informative, relevant and straightforward. Author and speaker Anthony Cirillo, a healthcare expert, advocates for elder adults, working to assure their dignity and respect. Recent postings have included information about healthcare reform and doctor fees.

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Pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers have access to information regarding which medications doctors prescribe for the reason that they are able to buy the information from the American Medical Association (AMA), and from companies that match the AMA’s data with pharmacy records. The AMA is holding its annual meeting in Chicago, where this topic is sure to be raised as an important issue. Some groups are planning to protest during the meeting in front of the Hilton Chicago. The information is being used to increase the sales of newer, more expensive drugs whereas it could be used to improve quality, safety of care, and lower drug prices. Many states, including Illinois, are proposing bills after noticing the correlation between the release of such information and the rising health care costs consumers face. Doctors that are not members of the AMA, about two thirds, are unaware that this information is being released. The AMA is planning to publish ads in medical journals to spread the information to doctors unaware of the fact that they can opt out of this practice.

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Victims of medical malpractice are mobilizing to help prevent medical errors and promote patient safety. Sorrel King created the Josie King Foundation to fund safety initiatives at hospitals in honor of her 18-month-old daughter who died after a series of medical mistakes. She also donated some of the financial settlement to the hospital where the errors occurred in order to start a children’s safety program. King launched a new web site, josieking.org, with advice and information for patients and the medical community on how to increase patient safety and what to do if medical errors do occur.
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