A recent report published in JAMA revealed some harrowing facts about the failure of our strained hospital system. Payment controls and other regulations are causing physician workloads to exceed safe levels which results in the death of patients. The hospitalist model of care is hurting patient outcomes. Never before has it been so important to have your primary care physician advocate for you in the hospital. In response to this crisis of our healthcare system, I developed the Inpatient Advocate Service. With this service, I put the patient first to insure good heathcare delivery and good outcomes. As more payment controls placed by the government’s “fixed pricing” model reeks more havoc, we are seeing the problems arise. I speculate that as this situation gets worse, we may start demanding more free market choices and a reassessment of the command and control planning that Medicare and the other 3rd party payers seem to be promoting. It is time for consumers to stand up for themselves, after all – it’s your money and your life!
Bloomberg News (1/29, Pettypiece) reports, “Almost half of hospital doctors said they routinely see more patients than they can safely manage, leading in some cases to unneeded tests, medication errors and deaths, according to a survey by researchers at Johns Hopkins University.” Researchers found that “seven percent of 506 hospital-based physicians surveyed said their heavy workload likely led to a patient complication, and 5 percent reported it probably caused a death over the past year.”
Kaiser Health News (1/29, Tran) reports, “Among the 506 doctors who completed the survey, forty percent reported that their patient workloads exceeded levels they deemed safe at least once a month.” Meanwhile, “thirty-six percent said they exceeded their own notions of safe workloads more than once a week.” Additionally, “nearly a quarter believe their workloads negatively affected patient outcomes by preventing full discussion of treatments.”
Modern Healthcare (1/28, McKinney, Subscription Publication, 71K) reports, “Patient satisfaction scores and 30-day readmission rates take a hit when physician workload exceeds safe levels, according to some respondents.”
HealthDay (1/29, Mann) reports that study co-author Dr. Henry Michtalik “said numerous factors have come together to put the squeeze on already busy doctors. First of all are new limits placed on the hours that resident physicians (new doctors in training) can work, and some states have also passed laws that seek to fine-tune the nurses’ working environment.” While “well-intentioned, these measures often lead to more work for doctors working in hospitals, Michtalik said.”
MedPage Today (1/29, Petrochko) reports, “Some potential fixes the researchers suggested included regular evaluation of workloads for attending physicians and cutting healthcare costs without increasing workloads to compensate for payment reductions.” Medscape (1/29, Lowes) also covers the story.