Articles Posted in Hospitals

drscope-300x200The public health restrictions put on much of the nation to battle the Covid-19 pandemic also have created complications for patients’ receiving other kinds of health care — a reality that the nation will need to deal with in the weeks ahead.

Doctors and hospitals will need to see whether their coronavirus case loads are such that they can begin to reconsider providing what were deemed nonessential medical services, including often performed procedures like shoulder, knee, and hip surgeries.

Most hospitals, responding to federal and state requests, put off elective procedures, notably because they did not want to put patients and heightened risk and because medical facilities nationwide have experienced desperate shortages of personal protective equipment and drugs. Some institutions have pressed ahead with operations they have deemed needed, despite questions from critics.

covidtestinggapnyt-300x185Public health experts and many politicians agree that the pursuit of any next steps in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic will rely on testing, testing, testing. The nation will need significantly more tests, with faster and better results, that show who is infected now. Further, many, many more people will need to take blood antibody tests to determine who was infected with the disease and may have some level of immunity from it.

This is the problem: Weeks after the novel coronavirus swept the nation, infecting hundreds of thousands and killing thousands, the testing available is too scant, takes too long, and — despite much bloviating and promises — is mired in unacceptable ways.

The gulf between the needed level of testing and what is occurring is Grand Canyon sized (see NYT graphic, based on Harvard University research, above), and this is a giant problem in potentially relaxing Covid-19 restrictions now in place.

courtgavel-billoxford-300x166Although big businesses in recent years have developed their legal equivalent of a great white shark — a big system churning along to savage disputes involving potentially many small claimants — innovators may have found a new way to start to tame beastly aspects of the process known as forced arbitration: Scoop up lots of small fish and jam them into the menace’s maw so it cries mercy.

Metaphors aside, the New York Times reported that legal startups have already “scared to death” corporations that swear by this dubious legal practice.

Forced arbitration is a booming part of the legal system that rips important constitutional protections away from ordinary individuals who have disputes with big businesses, compelling them to have their cases considered in private systems with huge ties to the very corporate interests that appear in them as parties in legal controversies.

covidstayhome-sharonmccutcheon-200x300With President Trump, members of his administration, and other politicians shoving back against public health officials’ recommendations on when to get Americans out of their homes and returning to work, the ultimate decision may be up to individuals: Do we give up the existing physical-distancing guidance? Or not?

The data on Covid-19 infections and deaths is still building, but it may be worth reviewing what is known about the disease, whom it afflicts, and how.

Based on the deaths of those diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, it has been deadlier for men than women. It is taking a terrible and disproportionate toll among African Americans, with Latinos afflicted at high rates, too.

hopkinsnursinghome-300x169The news about the institutional care of vulnerable seniors during the Covid-19 pandemic just keeps getting worse in too many unacceptable ways. Just consider:

axiosjoblesschart-300x169With 10 million Americans suddenly jobless due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a  smack in the face may be coming to partisans who have spent a decade assailing the Affordable Care Act, the landmark measure that offers people help with their health insurance.

Obamacare, studies have shown, already has helped to reduce the ranks of the uninsured by 20 million.

It may play a significant role now in helping the unemployed, too many of whom not only lost their steady income but also their employer-provided health insurance. The preponderance of Americans — more than 150 million of us — get our health coverage through our workplaces.

aged-alexboyd-300x200The Covid-19 pandemic is forcing many Americans to think and act on tough issues they otherwise might wish to avoid, and they’re getting thoughtful reminders on ways they may want to proceed with advanced or end-of-life medical planning and decisions on whether to keep elderly loved ones in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities or to bring them into their residences.

These are hard topics to deal with in the best of times. But failing to do so can leave families with not only a lifetime of regrets but also possibly significant financial consequences. Americans long have insisted that they want to have maximum control over medical decisions that affect their care.

So, thinking ahead about our own advanced medical plans, and revisiting the institutional care of beloved seniors may not only be appropriate, but necessary as the world struggles with the Covid-19 pandemic and medical caregivers are overwhelmed and may be stretched to their limits.

ACAsigning-300x176As the coronavirus pandemic causes Americans sky-high anxiety about their health and how they might access and afford extensive medical treatment if infected, the nation slid with only modest public attention into the second decade of one of its landmark health care experiments — the Affordable Care Act.

Obamacare became the law of the land on March 23, 2010, when the 45th president signed the 2,000-page bill for which he had campaigned long and hard. Republicans in the White House and Congress have attacked the ACA relentlessly ever since.

Researchers have spent a decade scrutinizing the ambitious act’s outcomes with zeal. The New York Times summarized some of the independent, nonpartisan evaluations, finding key areas that the public may wish to recognize in how Obamacare changed the complex U.S. health care system, on which Americans spend more than $3.5 trillion annually. In brief, as a result of the ACA, the newspaper reported (with boldface emphases mine):

coronamapjh-300x134As the Covid-19 pandemic slams the United States — with infections exceeding 100,000 and deaths spiking  beyond 2,000 — the battle with the viral outbreak underscores the axiom that a crisis brings out true character, good and bad.

Our highest praise continues to go out to first responders and medical personnel who have demonstrated huge courage and resolve in treating the sick and dying, despite too few resources still and at giant risk to themselves.

Institutions have stepped up to provide valuable information and services, including:

faucifacegrimace-300x210Even as Covid-19 wreaked unprecedented harms, there also have been actions that might lead even the most jaded observer to cry out:  What were these people thinking?

The pandemic’s global toll has risen to hundreds of thousands of infections and thousands of deaths. The U.S. toll at the end of the third week in March, the New York Times reported, exceeded 21,000 infections and nearly 300 deaths, with 1 in 5 Americans also now living under tough restrictions that have shut non-essential businesses, schools, colleges and universities, restaurants, gyms and health clubs, and sports and cultural events.

In the throes of such calamitous circumstances,  consider:

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