Posts Tagged ‘hospitals’

Medical roundup

Medical roundup

  • “Doctors as Data Entry Clerks for the Government Health Surveillance System” [Jeffrey Singer, Cato]
  • “Judge Orders Spine Surgeon to Pay Discovery Fees Over Funding Model” [Greg Land, Daily Report Online (Atlanta); defense lawyer says case “throws a harsh light on the interaction between personal injury lawyers, healthcare providers and litigation funders”]
  • What if feds’ enforcement policies on truthful off-label pharmaceutical promotion run aground on First Amendment considerations? [James Beck, Drug and Device Law]
  • Chronic pain patients: “Civilian Casualties Continue to Mount in Governments’ War on Opioids” [Jeffrey Singer] Feds’ tightening of opioid scheduling cut refills, but increased number of pills initially prescribed [same] So sinister for psychiatrist to take cash payment and keep night hours in a rented office, or is it? [Ira Stoll]
  • Certificate-of-need laws: “North Carolina Doctor Sues to Break Up State-Enforced Medical Cartels” [Christian Britschgi, Reason]
  • Law firm of Morgan & Morgan, awarded contingency contract for Kentucky opioid suit, holds fundraiser for Kentucky AG Andy Beshear [Legal NewsLine]

Medical roundup

Digital advances in ambulance chasing

“Patients sitting in emergency rooms, at chiropractors’ offices and at pain clinics in the Philadelphia area may start noticing on their phones the kind of messages typically seen along highway billboards and public transit: personal injury law firms looking for business by casting mobile online ads at patients. The potentially creepy part? They’re only getting fed the ad because somebody knows they are in an emergency room.” [Bobby Allyn, NPR]

Opioids roundup

  • Prisoners die of drug overdoses at a high rate in their first week after release. That’s in part a prohibition-related problem [Jeffrey Miron, Cato]
  • “Drug testing kits can detect the presence of fentanyl and other contaminants — but in many places, including Illinois, they are classified as illegal drug paraphernalia.” [Steve Chapman]
  • “Hospitalized Patients Are Civilian Casualties in the Government’s War on Opioids” [Jeffrey A. Singer, Cato, more]
  • Texas: “Opioid lawyers pumped $110K into LaHood’s campaign after Bexar County DA hired them” [David Yates, Southeast Texas Record] “State senator working with Watts on home turf opioid lawsuit, lawyers billing Hidalgo County $3,800 an hour” [SE Texas Record]
  • “Cities Vs. States: A Looming Battle For Control Of High-Stakes Opioid Litigation” [Daniel Fisher on Tennessee AG’s intervention]
  • All 50 states have now adopted prescription drug monitoring programs, but do they work as intended? [Jeffrey Singer, Jacob Sullum]

Hospital to pay $89,000 for failing to accommodate employees who objected to flu shots

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has announced that Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C. will pay $89,000 for Influenza vaccinefailing to accommodate employees “who declined flu vaccinations based on their religious beliefs.” [EEOC press release] Mission had in fact agreed to exempt employees from the flu shot based on religious objections, but required that they declare their intention ahead of time. And that turned out to be not accommodating enough, since not requiring that extent of advance notice would not in the EEOC’s view have posed an undue hardship on the employer — hence the expensive lesson.

At our religious discrimination tag can be found cases of employees who claimed a Title VII religious discrimination right not to serve alcoholic drinks as part of the duties of a flight attendant, not to haul beer as part of a job as a trucker, not to participate in an employer’s hand-scanner system for fear that it was connected to the Biblical “Mark of the Beast,” and to take prayer breaks in groups as large as 11 at an employer that did not think it could spare that many workers off the floor at the same time.

Under federal law enacted in 1972, employers regularly come under legal constraint to grant such accommodations to workers of many different religious sects. Although from much of the current debate one might imagine that liberals were historically skeptical of accommodation requirements, the actual history is more complicated. As I wrote a while back, “Surprisingly or otherwise, the pressure for federal law to become more indulgent toward private employees’ demands for religious accommodation [has] come both from liberal lawmakers like John Kerry and Hillary Clinton and from conservatives like Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal.”

Under the elastic “undue hardship” standard, employers may face much uncertainty as to how much disruption of their business they must put up with in the name of accommodation. The flu-shot example suggests that risks to co-workers, customers, and the general public might sometimes enter the calculus as well — an expensive guessing game at best.

P.S. I’ve got a post at Cato making a related point: is it really libertarians who should catch flak for being too indulgent toward persons who want to be excused from vaccination?

Medical roundup

Medical roundup

  • “Oral Contraceptives Should be Free (From the Third-Party Trap)” [Jeffrey Singer, Cato]
  • Arbitrator awards $17.5 million after hospital fires neurosurgeon: in retaliation, or because he didn’t disclose problems with the law unrelated to practice? [Mike Baker, Seattle Times]
  • Idea of empowering government to rewrite recipes for packaged food has gotten more traction in British public health sector than here [Sean Poulter, Daily Mail]
  • Encyclopedia time: you can look up a variety of health topics in the now-online Encyclopedia of Libertarianism including Michael Cannon on health care generally, Gene Healy and Bruce Benson on illegal drugs, Jeffrey Schaler on psychiatry. And the Routledge Encyclopedia of Libertarianism includes Jessica Flanigan on libertarianism and medicine;
  • If treatment deviating from the standard of care is the standard for malpractice, then some patients in pursuit of unconventional therapy choose it, and the law of waivers and of assumption of risk should respect their autonomy [Nadia Sawicki via TortsProf]
  • About the Washington Post’s big opioid-legislation exposé, a few questions [Robert VerBruggen]

Medical roundup

  • New Mercatus report on certificate-of-need laws, which operate to suppress competition in health care;
  • “Hospitals don’t dispense perfectly safe but expired drugs because that may expose them to regulatory penalties or lawsuits.” [Mike Riggs, Reason]
  • California unions push law setting minimum staffing requirements for dialysis centers [L.A. Times]
  • Glaxo neither made nor sold the pill he took, jury tells it to pay $3 million anyway [Roni Caryn Rabin, New York Times]
  • Maryland and Michigan suits seek to characterize patient falls as non-medical negligence; Kentucky suit aims to avoid medical review panel requirement [Andis Robeznieks, AMA Wire]
  • “Ohio Drug Price Initiative Gives Taxpayer Money to Unnecessary Lawyers” [Hans Bader, CEI]

A tale of research permission

“Scott Alexander” recounts with much humor an episode in which, observing an apparent weakness in the way patients are screened for bipolar disorder, he suggested that the effectiveness of the screen be put to a study as his hospital. That meant human subjects research, which meant submitting the idea to an institutional review board, which meant a sustained encounter with the federally prescribed regulatory apparatus that empowers IRBs. [Slate Star Codex] Our earlier coverage of IRBs is here, and Philip Hamburger has a much more formal and sustained critique, with footnotes, in this 2007 Northwestern University Law Review paper (“they require the licensing of speech and the press [when directed toward] the pursuit of scientific knowledge.”) See also Zachary Schrag, “You Can’t Ask That,” Washington Monthly, 2014 and, on the recent changes in regulation, Kate Murphy/New York Times and Richard A. Shweder and Richard E. Nisbett, Chronicle of Higher Education.