• Ohio doctors settle in angioplasty overuse case

    The settlement covered accusations that the doctors and the hospital, then known as the EMH Regional Medical Center, had billed Medicare for unnecessary medical care from 2001 to 2006. The hospital agreed to pay $3.9 million to settle the accusations, and the physician group, the North Ohio Heart Center, agreed to pay $541,870, according to a Justice Department statement.

    Federal regulators had accused the doctors and the hospital of performing unnecessary procedures known as angioplasties, in which a clogged blood vessel is opened. The procedure often requires insertion of a device called a stent to keep the blood vessel from closing again.

    Read the rest in The New York Times. Background, by me, on the science and use of coronary stents at the AcademyHealth blog.


    • Let’s see! A community with a large number of orthopedic surgeons receiving special compensation from companies who make joint prosthetic devices, a neurosurgon with a back surgury business involving financial arrangements to encourage referrals, a cancer specialist who suddenly returned home to Pakistan leaving a $70 million charge to a State’s excess profesional liability fund, a compounding pharmacy that sold a product that caused untreatable fungus infections, a drug company that “bought-out” a new manufacturing plant and closed it rather than have a generic product available, a company that sold albuterol inhalers without any albuterol in the inhaler, IV chelation therapy AND a Federal law that prevents HHS from sponsoring any analysis of the public health issues related to mass murder episodes. How can anyone trust in their health care when this continues to go on and on? And, this is especially so since we have no capacity to sponsor the on-going reform of our nation’s healthcare industry. By almost any measure, it is the most inefficient in the world. A state of affairs that is totally unacceptable when compared to our agricultural industry. It is the most efficient in the world, by a wide margin.

      To magnify this issue, we are proposing to spend at least an extra $100 billion a year on a system of health insurance that no one can understand. Is there any possible rationale for doing this when our nation is going bankrupt? Do I understand that many employers may abandon any health insurance commitment to their employees with this transition? On this possibly green earth, what is the sense in all of this?

      We are the care-takers of the greatest expiriment for improving the fundamental social contract for a nation. 500 years in the making, we are saddled with living now within a world-wide community of interdependent nations. This community involves nations that have not evolved since the crusades, 2 thousand years ago. They are pre-feudal. We will NOT retain our autonomy within the interdependent character of this world without FIRST fixing our nation’s economy. Since the cost of our nation’s healthcare industry is the worst contributor to our deficits, it should come first. Based on the life-time research of Professor Elinor Ostrom (Nobel Prize 2009, economics), it is highly unlikely that any centralized control of healthcare would fix it.