September 22, 2007
Habana is one of thousands of nursing homes across the nation that large Wall Street investment companies have bought or agreed to acquire in recent years.Those investors include prominent private equity firms like Warburg Pincus and the Carlyle Group, better known for buying companies like Dunkin’ Donuts.
As such investors have acquired nursing homes, they have often reduced costs, increased profits and quickly resold facilities for significant gains.
But by many regulatory benchmarks, residents at those nursing homes are worse off, on average, than they were under previous owners, according to an analysis by The New York Times of data collected by government agencies from 2000 to 2006.
The Times analysis shows that, as at Habana, managers at many other nursing homes acquired by large private investors have cut expenses and staff, sometimes below minimum legal requirements.
September 13, 2007
And why the tax payers should foot the bill for preventable mistakes made by a hospital? This should have happened long ago.
Medicare has told hospitals that they will soon be responsible on their own for the expenses that incur from many common preventable mistakes they make. As of Oct. 1, 2008, Medicare will no longer reimburse hospitals for the extra costs of treating injuries from eight preventable conditions. Medicare officials said they plan to add three more conditions to the no-pay list next year. The eight conditions are patient falls, pressure ulcers, urinary tract infections, vascular-catheter-associated infections, mediastinitis, air emboli, removal of objects left in the body during surgery, and injury caused by use of incompatible blood products. Moreover, the rule change also prohibits hospitals from billing the patients for “any charges associated with the hospital-acquired complication.”
September 11, 2007
September 9, 2007
THE CALIFORNIA EXPERIENCE
Thirteen years after the state’s severe $250,000 cap on damages was enacted (MICRA, passed in 1975), “doctors’ premiums had increased by 450 percent and reached an all-time high in California.” But in 1988 California voters passed a stringent insurance regulatory law, Proposition 103, which “reduced California doctors’ premiums by 20 per within three years,” and stabilized rates.
In the thirteen years after MICRA, but before the insurance reforms of Prop. 103, California medical malpractice premiums rose faster than the national average. In the twelve years after Prop. 103 (1988-2000), malpractice premiums dropped 8 percent in California, while nationally they were up 25 percent. Moreover, the law has led to public hearings on recent rate requests by medical malpractice insurers in California, which resulted in rate hikes being lowered three times.
The “liability insurance crisis” of the mid-1980s was ultimately found to be caused not by legal system excesses but by the economic cycle of the insurance industry.
Just as the liability insurance crisis was found to be driven by this cycle and not a tort law cost explosion as many insurance companies and others had claimed, the “tort reform” remedy pushed by these advocates failed. It has failed again.
September 9, 2007
The state Chamber of Commerce recently issued a study asking for still more “tort reform” in Michigan. “Tort reform” is a public relations phrase to describe limits on the right to civil trial by jury, and special loopholes and favors for powerful interests.These special interest pleas for more corporate welfare are just plain repulsive.For more than 20 years, big business lobbyists have promised that if we give them just one more special immunity or additional get-out-of-jail-free card, they will make so much money we will all be better off. Sadly, our lawmakers have listened and believed. And we let them.The insanity seems especially apparent if you realize that Michigan is arguably the most “tort reformed” state in America.
September 7, 2007
Wreck Victim’s Family Sues GM for Wrongful Death
A product liability suit is filed against General Motors, the manufacturer of the 1995 GMC Suburban driven in the accident.Plaintiff’s attorney Joel Howell said Burns died because an interior compartment switch opened the door when it was hit by moving luggage.Macon testified she was driving when the vehicle veered right and went into a spin. She said her sister’s shoulder went toward the door, the door opened, and Burns was ejected.Defense attorney Paul Cassissa is representing General Motors. He contends GM is not responsible because the switch was not made by the company.
September 6, 2007
Popcorn, the favorite snack of millions of Americans, can cause a potentially fatal health condition known as popcorn workers’ lung, an alarmed public is discovering.
A love of microwave buttered popcorn caused a relatively healthy 53-year-old American to develop severe breathing problems. The cause of his illness was tracked down to the microwave popcorn he loved so much that he would inhale steam from the bag as it came out of the oven.
The link between the man’s illness and popcorn was established by Dr Cecil Rose, who had been dealing with popcorn workers’ lung for years as a consultant to the food industry. "I said to him this is a very weird question but bear with me, are you around a lot of popcorn?"
September 4, 2007
On August 30, 2007 the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Gentry v. Superior Court of Los Angeles, a former customer service manager of Circuit City filed a class action lawsuit against Circuit City, his employer, for overtime wages and unfair business practices. Based upon an arbitration agreement Gentry signed at the beginning of his employment that contained a class-action arbitration waiver, Circuit City compelled Gentry to arbitration to pursue his claims on an individual basis. On review, the appellate court determined the class action waiver contained in the arbitration agreement was valid and that the agreement was not procedurally unconscionable, as it had a 30-day opt out provision. </a> </br>The California Supreme Court, however, did not necessarily agree. Although the Court did not conclude that all class action arbitration waivers are invalid, its decision requires trial courts to extensively scrutinize such provisions in arbitration agreements with regards to overtime wage litigation.