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medicare children

Delays in Treatment and Missing Medication Follow New Health Care Plan for Illinois Foster Kids on Medicaid

On February 1, 2020, nearly 2,500 children and young adults provided care through the Illinois foster care system lost their healthcare coverage due to what a Department of Healthcare and Family Services spokeswoman for the agency that runs the state Medicaid program, described as a “glitch” in a computer program. Although the state started transitioning its Medicaid program in 2011 from a traditional fee-for-service model to managed care, the move has remained troublesome for more an estimated 19,000 former foster children and approximately 17,000 more. The sensitive population in need of medical care through physician visits, therapies, and medication includes children who are victims of abuse and neglect, many of whom have highly complex physical, mental and behavioral health issues, but also those born with cognitive and physical disabilities.

According to several Illinois news reports:

access to medical records

Changes to An Individuals’ Right of Access to Health Records 

In January 2018, Georgia-based Ciox Health filed suit against the Department of Health and Human Services, arguing that some sections of the HIPAA Right of Access rules around third-party requests for patient records are impermissible under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Fast forward two years this month when a federal judge in the District Court for the District of Columbia vacated the “third-party directive” within the individual right of access “insofar as it expands the HITECH Act’s third-party directive beyond requests for a copy of an electronic health record with respect to protected health information (“PHI”) of an individual … in an electronic format.”

Additionally, the court held that the fee limitation should only apply to an individual’s request for access to their records, and does not apply to an individual’s request to transmit health documents to a third party.

mother dies in childbirth

New CDC Report Shows U.S. Maternal Death Rate is Still Terrible

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics System, for the first time in more than a decade, has released a new estimate of the maternal death rate in the U.S., and the numbers aren’t good. After a plea from medical researchers and women’s advocate groups surged in 2016 regarding huge problems with how maternal deaths were being inaccurately reported or not reported, the new data published on January 30, 2020, shows that the U.S. maternal mortality rate was 17.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live birth in 2018.

According to the report, in 2018:

military malpractice lawsuitGovernment Is Ready to Process Military Malpractice Claims

Since 1950, U.S. Military members have been barred from suing the U.S. government for injury or death resulting from their military duties, including all claims of malpractice, under the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Feres doctrine. But after Army Sgt. First Class Richard Stayskal led a fight to file a $5 million claim for negligence by his Army physicians, a new law is in place that allows active-duty personnel to seek compensation for harm caused by a military health provider.

A bill dubbed the SFC Richard Stayskal Medical Accountability Act led lawmakers to include these changes in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act on December 20, 2019. The Act now allows troops (or their surviving family members) to file claims for personal injury or death caused by negligence or wrongful acts by a Department of Defense employed health care provider in a military hospital or clinic.

emergency room crisis death

Wisconsin Woman Died Soon After Leaving Emergency Room

A daycare teacher who was waiting to be seen in a Milwaukee hospital emergency room passed away just a few hours after she decided to leave and try an urgent care facility instead. News reports distributed by CNN on January 17, 2020 say she sought emergency medical care at Froedtert Hospital after experiencing chest pains and shortness of breath.

According to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner report, after waiting more than two hours, the 25-year-old left and went to seek help at an urgent care. She then collapsed as she arrived at the facility parking lot, and was pronounced dead not long after.

picu nurse mistakes

Report Shows PICU Nurse Distractions from Work Phones Could Be Cause of Medication Errors

A late 2019 research study published in JAMA Pediatrics shows that not only are pediatric nurses multitasking and overworked in intensive care units (ICU), they are receiving too many distracting calls on their work phones that may lead to mistakes in administering medications to young patients.

An overview of the report titled Association Between Mobile Telephone Interruptions and Medication Administration Errors in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit includes:

chicago lakeshore hospital

Department of Public Health Plans to Remove License from Chicago Lakeshore Hospital, Federal Funding Revoked

Without federal funding from The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and a facility license provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Chicago Lakeshore Hospital may finally pay for its continued failures in compliance by jeopardizing patient health and safety. CMS recently announced it would terminate a Medicare agreement, which provides accompanying federal funding to the psychiatric hospital formerly known as Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital, and IDPH released plans to revoke the facility’s license. Both agencies cited ongoing allegations of abuse, safety violations, and deficiencies that threaten the overall wellbeing of patients as the cause.

  • Chicago Lakeshore Hospital is a private psychiatric facility located in the northside of the city.

stage 3 lung cancer claimed life of mother

Woman’s Estate Wins $8.1 Million For Failed Cancer Diagnosis and Wrongful Death, Represented by Levin & Perconti

In 2016, Levin & Perconti attorneys John J. Perconti, Michael F. Bonamarte IV and Daniel A. Goldfaden filed a lawsuit on behalf of the estate of a woman who should have been diagnosed with cancer when she was first X-rayed in 2013. It wasn’t until doctors at another hospital diagnosed her with stage 3 lung cancer in October 2014 that her illness was known. The delayed diagnosis caused Althea Wright’s disease to progress and go untreated. Sadly, she later died in 2015 at the age of 68. The suit was filed on behalf of Wright’s two children.

During a week-long trial in December 2019, a Cook County jury determined the estate of the deceased radiologist, Palmer Jane Blakley, MD, and the corporation tied to her closed practice must pay $8.125 million to remedy the missed cancer diagnosis. Blakley reviewed Wright’s scans, which showed a “rounded density” in her left lung, but she did not identify the mass or note any abnormality in Wright’s chart.

legionairres' outbreak investigation

Legionella-Related Cases Being Investigated at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage

Becker’s Hospital Review is reporting that three individual cases of Legionnaires’ disease are being investigated at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage in Winfield, Illinois. According to the report, one individual was an inpatient at Central DuPage, while the other two had outpatient visits.

In Illinois, state and local health departments typically take the lead in investigating possible Legionella cases but may request help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) when necessary, such as during an outbreak. In 2018, state health departments reported nearly 10,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease, a rate which has grown by nearly nine times since 2000.

Legalized Marijuana

Patient Harm at the Hands of Impaired Clinicians

Many reports on the issue of drug and alcohol use among those in the medical profession have found that substance abuse is widespread. However, rigorous standards are in place to keep patients safe from negligently “high” doctors. But recently adding to the issue is the possible impact the legalization of sales and recreational use of marijuana in Illinois may have on a physician’s performance. Undoubtedly, some doctors and health care professionals are likely to take a personal interest in the consumption of legal pot, especially as environmental triggers and workplace stressors commonly felt by overworked medical professionals are known to drive a person toward chemical or substance dependencies.

We hope that these practitioners appreciate the boundaries related to performing the duty of care owed to their patients and that they understand some users may be incapable of fulfilling that duty and as a result – cause harm to their patients.

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