Viewpoints: Lessons On Fixing Unnecessary Medical Errors In Hospitals; Price Is Gone From HHS, But Someone Else Needs Stronger Oversight
Opinion writers weigh in on these health issues and others.
We Know Medical Error Is A Deadly Problem. Why Haven’t We Fixed It?
Research shows that the majority of medical errors can be traced to poor teamwork and communication as patients — and their medications, charts, labs, and scans — are passed between doctors, nurses, pharmacists, lab technicians, and other providers. In response, healthcare organizations have launched numerous initiatives to improve communication and coordination, such as checklists and structured information-sharing tools for high-risk moments like surgery briefing and debriefing. So, two decades after the IOM report and a slew of attempts to prevent medical mistakes, why is it still more dangerous to have a medical procedure than to go sky diving? (Margaret Luciano, 11/29)
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Vanity Projects Cast Doubt On Leadership At Federal Agency
Dr. Tom Price’s taste for travel by pricey private jets cost him his job two years ago as U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary. So why did the agency recently honor his few, scandal-plagued months of service with a reception this month to unveil an official photo portrait? The Nov. 19 event was especially galling because it’s still unclear whether HHS has recovered the dollars Price spent needlessly chartering aircraft instead of flying commercial. ... The case for stronger oversight is strengthened by a subsequent example of dubious spending by another top HHS official. Seema Verma, the Trump appointee who leads the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), has been dogged for months by troubling questions about her agency’s use of expensive outside consultants. (11/27)
Hospice Is More Than Dying And More Families Need To Know That
Every year, more than 1.5 million Americans with a terminal diagnosis choose hospice care because it provides a broad range of services tailored to meet their unique needs. Hospice care is unlike any other service in our healthcare system, and it is still not widely understood, despite being part of Medicare’s benefits since the 1980s. Sadly, many of the families we serve here in Middle Tennessee say they wish they had learned about hospice sooner. (Kimberly Goessele, 11/29)
Senate Bill Would Limit Or Stop Office-Based Medication Infusions
As gastroenterologists, we treat patients in Portland, Ore., and Des Moines, Iowa, with challenging disorders like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis who sometimes need infusions of medications. Legislation before Congress could make it difficult — and potentially impossible — for us to provide this important care in our medical practices. That could force our patients to go to hospitals or large medical centers for their infusions, which is less convenient for them and more expensive for the health care system. (Rajalakshmi Iyer and James Regan, 12/3)
The Wall Street Journal:
Of Gun Rights And A Cup Of Coffee
Can the U.S. Supreme Court trust the politicians of New York City to protect the Second Amendment? Believe it or not, that question consumed the biggest chunk of Monday’s oral argument in the first gun rights case the Justices have heard in 10 years. The answer is no, and the lawyer for the city proved the point during oral argument. The four liberal Justices tried mightily on Monday to support the city’s claim that the case is moot because the NYPD has changed its regulation to allow gun owners to transport licensed firearms outside the city. The liberals want the Court to drop the case without a ruling that might reaffirm the right to bear arms, and toward that end they say there is no longer a live controversy to decide. (12/2)
Cleveland Plain Dealer:
'STRONG' Ohio Bill Will Make A Difference In Controlling Gun Violence
The “STRONG Ohio” initiative to reduce gun violence is a meaningful response to Ohioans who demanded we “do something” about the all-too-frequent gun violence on our streets and in our homes, and to horrific events such as the mass shooting in Dayton. I agreed to be the sponsor of Gov. Mike DeWine’s gun reform bill because it is constitutional, effective and, most importantly, will save lives. (Matt Dolan, 12/3)
St. Louis Post Dispatch:
Parson Should Be Leading The Campaign For A Missouri Vaping Tax, Not Ruling It Out.
Missouri already imposes the lowest cigarette tax in America, which deprives the state of needed revenue to counter tobacco’s health care costs and misses an opportunity to nudge potential new smokers away from starting. Now Gov. Mike Parson says he has no interest in learning from the state’s mistake, nor following the lead of other states that are confronting growing health concerns about vaping by boosting the taxes on it. So-called “sin taxes” are an effective way to contain potentially harmful markets that can’t realistically be outlawed (tobacco, alcohol, gambling) and to recoup some of the fiscal and societal costs they inflict. Why close off that option at the start of a new and growing health crisis? (12/2)
I’m Conservative, Republican And Transgender. The Supreme Court Should Protect My Rights
As a transgender woman, I was grateful to see many of my friends and neighbors following the LGBTQ employment discrimination cases heard before the Supreme Court in October. These cases — which will decide whether federal law protects LGBTQ people from workplace discrimination — are incredibly high stakes. The outcome will affect millions of LGBTQ people working across our country. I know. I was fired from my job after coming out as transgender. (Erin Dotten, 12/2)