Nysha Recent News

Hospital News

November 22, 2016

By Mendy Hecht, Hamaspik Gazette

Docs’ healthcare app usage booming

According to a recent survey of doctors taken by Physicians Practice, an industry resource company, the number of physicians using healthcare-related apps on their mobile devices went from 50 percent in 2013 to 78 percent in 2016. 

Among the survey’s top ten most popular healthcare apps for 2016 are: TouchCare, a telemedicine app boasting secure, private live-streaming virtual visits with personal physicians; MDCalc, which frees doctors from mentally calculating a wide range of medical criteria, scores and equations in daily rounds; and Medibabble, which translates “Medicalese” into five languages for non-English-speaking patients, including Spanish, Russian and Chinese.

Study: nearly one of four ER visitors hit with surprise bill

So you have a medical emergency—say, a broken leg—that forces you to go to the nearest ER.  The first thing on your mind is treatment.  And just about the last thing on your mind is payment.

But let’s say you even manage the presence of mind to ensure that your ER of choice is covered by your insurance plan—only to get a bill of $600 or more from the ER doctor who treated you.

What gives?

What gives, according to Yale public health professor Dr. Zach Cooper, is that today’s ERs frequently contract with physicians who do not take the insurance that the ER does take. 

That means that when the hospital tells you, “Sure!  We take Insurance X,” they often don’t mean that the doctors who work in their ERs also take Insurance X.

In other words, according to Prof. Cooper’s study, some 22 percent of people visiting in-network ERs nationwide have had to deal with bills from out-of-network doctors—at the same hospital.

The analysis of some two million ER insurance claims from one major insurance company, recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, estimated that the average surprise hospital ER bill from an out-of-network ER doctor is around $622.

According to Prof. Cooper, the problem’s best solution would be to legislatively require hospitals to bill the insurance company for a “bundled,” or all-in-one, emergency-room treatment “that includes both facility and professional fees.”

However, complicating the matter is the apparent existence of local economic forces on ER arrangements.  The study found surprise-billing rates as high as 89 percent in McAllen, Texas, but nearly zero in Boulder, Colorado and elsewhere.

That means that that different hospitals, insurance-company policies, state or other local laws, or any combination thereof, across the country, result in different surprise-billing rates.

In the meantime, if you’re hit with a surprise ER bill, here’s one thing you can do: ask that the claim be processed again as in-network care because you had no way of knowing that the ER doctor was out of network.

Cooling therapy doesn’t aid in-hospital cardiac arrest: Study

Therapeutic hypothermia, or cooling the body for medical purposes, is a relatively new treatment for cardiac arrest that is largely standardized today.  In cardiac arrest, where the heart simply stops, patients are commonly cooled to between 94 and 96 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lowering body temperature is believed to help preserve organs and limit brain damage.  But a data review by the Mid America Heart Institute now finds little to no benefit in therapeutic hypothermia for people having cardiac arrest while in hospitals.  About 200,000 cardiac arrests occur each year in U.S. hospitals.

The review looked at records of over 26,000 U.S. cases of in-hospital cardiac arrest from 2002 to 2014.  All the patients were initially resuscitated.  The review found that while six percent of patients were treated with therapeutic hypothermia, their long-term survival rates compared to the 94 percent not treated with therapeutic hypothermia yielded no long-term benefit.

The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.