Universities Turning to New Unconventional Strategies to Prevent Medical Errors

4 Indest-2009-3By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

A study by patient safety researchers published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2016 revealed that common medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States. Now, universities are looking to address this problem by focusing on ways of teaching students, clinicians and administrators to look at these problems in a new light.

Click here to read the study published in the BMJ.

Teaching a Martian to make a PB & J Sandwich.

These new programs focus on the importance of communicating medical directions. So, what does making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich have to do with preventing medical errors? Well, the program sheds new light on just how carefully worded medical directions need to be. For example, students in these new programs are directed to explain how to make the sandwich to someone who is completely unfamiliar with the English language, such as a Martian.

Simple directions become much more confusing to those who are not familiar with our ways of speaking. Donna Woods, an associate professor who directs this new course work, further elaborated on this concept by saying, “Invariably the student will write, ‘open the bag of bread’ and so the acting patient (the Martian) rips the bottom of the bag of bread instead of opening the twisty tie at the top of the bag.”

The new method is meant to teach the students that their directions can often be misunderstood and not carried out as intended. Therefore, medical professionals need to be aware of this and be very precise in their delivery of medical directions.

The Importance of Doctor-patient Communications.

The new course also focuses on doctor-patient communications and has implemented an unconventional method of teaching it. The class splits into two teams and are directed to build the tallest building possible. They are to build according to how the customer or in their case, the patient desires it. In this study, the patients were instructed to only reveal how they wanted their building to look if asked. This method highlights how in the hustle and bustle of the medical world, the act of asking patients what they need and want is often overlooked.

This type of course, paired with new methods, are designed to show students why the medical field can be so complicated and the ways in which they can improve it to avoid common medical errors.

To learn more on the dilemma of medical errors in the U.S., click here to read one of my prior blogs.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Representing Health Care Professionals and Providers.

At the Health Law Firm we provide legal services for all health care providers and professionals. We represent physicians accused of wrongdoing, in patient complaints and in Department of Health investigations. This includes physicians, nurses, dentists, psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health counselors, Durable Medical Equipment suppliers, medical students and interns, hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, pain management clinics, nursing homes, and any other healthcare provider. We represent facilities, individuals, groups and institutions in contracts, sales, mergers and acquisitions.

The lawyers of The Health Law Firm are experienced in both formal and informal administrative hearings and in representing physicians in investigations and at Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathic Medicine hearings.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.ThehealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Sweltlitz, Ike. “Teaching a Martian to make a sandwich helps clinicians catch medical errors.” The Boston Globe. (November 7, 2016). Web.

White, Jesse. “5 strategies for hospitals to prevent medical errors.” Healthcare Business Technology. (May 19, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

Key Words: New course work to prevent medical errors, medical errors in the health care field, legal representation for medical errors, importance of communicating medical directions, importance of doctor-patient communications, medical errors defense attorney, medical negligence defense attorney, legal representation for health care professionals, legal representation for medical students, legal representation for medical fellows, legal representation for medical residents, medical student defense attorney, defense attorney for medical fellows and residents, reviews of The Health Law Firm, The Health Law Firm attorney reviews

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Normalization Of Business Relations With Cuba Could Lead To U.S. Patients Seeing Lower Drug Prices

4 Indest-2009-3By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

The Obama administration announced on October 14, 2016 its decision to lift a long-standing ban on importing Cuban pharmaceuticals into the United States.  If the policy change is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), this could bring Cuba’s low-cost, creditable medicines to the U.S.  This presents an interesting side effect for the normalization of business relationships that we have not seen before.  That is, if patients will be able to obtain drugs at the much lower prices that Cuba pays for them by importing them from Cuba?

Benefits Of A Policy Change.

This policy change could allow American researchers the chance to lead joint research with Cuba’s researchers and the opportunity for Cuba’s care-delivery models. These models are known worldwide for their essential care and conveying solid results in spite of their lack of resources.  Dr. Pedro Greer, a Cuban-American who is associate dean for community engagement at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University, made a statement that Cuban vaccines are recognized for there high quality.

According to the Cuba Business Report, multiple Cuban drugs have already been approved or trialed in countries like Europe, Asia and Canada. To read the full report, click here.

What Are The Changes?

The Obama administration’s changes would also include legalizing imported Cuban merchandise such as alcohol and cigars. The administration feels that this change would open a world of business, as well as research opportunities, for American manufacturers and academic institutions.  Dr. Greer said that the Cuban biotech industry is mature and ready for a joint venture with a U.S. company or even an academic institute.

Dr. Ross McKinney, chief scientific officer at the Association of American Medical Colleges believes this policy change could be an opportunity to gain knowledge from one of the most cultured healthcare delivery and training programs in Latin America.

Dr. McKinney said, in terms of research, Cuban academics have a lot of knowledge to provide Americans, especially when it comes to vector-borne illness such as the Zika virus.  Dr. McKinney predicts U.S. medical researchers will want to engage in joint clinical trails with Cuba, as they have already done so with Caribbean islands such as Puerto Rico and the Bahamas.

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys.

The Health Law Firm routinely represents pharmacists, pharmacies, physicians, nurses and other health providers in investigations, regulatory matters, licensing issues, litigation, inspections and audits involving the DEA, Department of Health (DOH) and other law enforcement agencies. Its attorneys include those who are board certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law as well as licensed health professionals who are also attorneys.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at http://www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:
Rubenfire, Adam. “Cuban Pharmaceutical Imports To U.S. Could Lead To Lower Drug Prices. “Vital Signs. (October 26, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. http://www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords:  U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Obama administration lifting ban on Cuban imported pharmaceuticals, The Health Law Firm, Cuban imports of medical products and equipment, complex health care business transaction attorneys, defense of pharmacy and pharmacists attorney, reviews of The Health Law Firm, The Health Law Firm attorney reviews, consumer reports of Cuban medical business, consumers reducing prices of medications, legal representation for pharmaceutical companies, legal representation for FDA investigations, doing business with Cuba legal counsel, legal counsel for research studies, medical research defense attorney, legal opinion on complex medical business transactions, legal opinion on complex health care business transactions

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

MetroHealth’s Former COO Charged In Dental Program Bribery Scheme

4 Indest-2009-3By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On October 25, 2016, former MetroHealth Medical Center Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Dental Director Edward Hills was charged for running an intricate bribery and kickback scheme selling positions in the medical center’s residency program.  According to an unsealed indictment in Ohio federal court, three other former hospital dentists were also charged for being involved in the conspiracy.  MetroHealth Medical Center is located in Cleveland, Ohio and is an integrated health system that sees around one million patients a year.

Bribed With Lavish Gifts and Cash.

Hills also served as MetroHealth’s interim president and chief executive officer. Allegedly, Hills started receiving lavish gifts back in 2008. These gifts included a $3,879 Louis Vuitton briefcase, a 55-inch television, as well as cash and checks from the three dentists.  Being the director of MetroHealth Dental, Hills allegedly used his title to inflate monthly bonuses to $92,829. Hills also had residents working at private clinics and charged it to the hospital, according to the prosecutor’s statement on October 25, 2016.

Guaranteed A Spot In Dentistry Program.

Edward Hills solicited bribes from attending dentists Sari Alqsous, Yazan Al-Madani and Tariq Sayegh to pay them for working full-time at MetroHealth, while the three ran their own clinics.  Allegedly, Alqsous, Al-Madani and Sayegh were guaranteed residencies in the Dentistry program at MetroHealth by Hills in exchange for bribes.

Hills and the three other dentists are charged with Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act violations, multiple counts of conspiracy, mail fraud and obstruction of justice.  In addition, Hills is charged with making false claims on his tax returns. The monies coming from this kickbacks and bribes were also allegedly not included in his tax returns.

The three dentists, Alqsous, Al-Madani and Sayegh, also allegedly accepted more than $75,000 in bribes from the Jordanian perspective dental residents for admittance into the MetroHealth dental residency program. Hills took advantage of the residents even further by using unpaid dental residents to staff Alqsous and Al-Madani’s private clinics.

The indictment also states that Hills allegedly gave the attorney that was representing him in foreclosure proceedings free dental work including implants and crowns.  The dental work was done by another dentist who falsely claimed that the services were for educational purposes.

The IRS’ Kathy A. Enstrom from the criminal division stated, “These government-funded programs were designed to help the men, women and children of Cuyahoga County, but these individuals defrauded them for their own personal gain and used their companies as personal piggy banks.”

After more investigation into the scheme in 2014, Hills and the three dentist allegedly threatened anyone who had knowledge of their actions with criminal and civil litigation, termination and deportation.

Consult With An Attorney Experienced in the Representation of Dentists.

We routinely provide legal representation to dentists, dental hygienists and other health professionals being in licensure, administrative and criminal cases, negligence cases, civil cases or disciplinary cases involving other health professionals. We also represent professionals in defense of Medicare and Medicaid fraud allegations, actions for overpayments, False Claims Act (whistle blower) cases, and civil monetary penalty cases.

The lawyers of The Health Law Firm are experienced in both formal and informal administrative hearings and in representing dentists and dental hygienists and other health professionals in investigations and at Board of dentistry hearings and other legal matters. Call now or visit our website http://www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Rhodes, Adam. “Ex-Hospital COO Indicted In Dental Program Bribery Scheme.” Law360. (October 25, 2016). Web.

Heisig, Eric. “Former MetroHealth Executive Arrested In Federal Criminal Probe.”Cleveland Court Justice. (October 25, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. http://www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Dental Program Bribery Scheme, illegal kickback scheme to defraud the U.S. government, submitting false claims to the government, False Claims Act (FCA) defense attorney, legal representation for False Claims Act violations, medical education attorney, graduate medical education defense lawyer, legal representation for dentists, The Health Law Firm Reviews, health defense lawyer for dentists, defense lawyer for allegation of illegal kickback scheme, The Health Law Firm, reviews of The Health Law Firm, legal representation for illegal kickback allegations, The Health Law Firm attorney reviews, health fraud defense lawyer, The Health Law Firm reviews, medical student defense attorney, graduate medical education program lawyer, medical resident’s defense attorney, medical intern’s defense lawyer, medical fellow’s defense lawyer

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

 

Study Finds States That Allow Medical Marijuana May Have Less Opioid Use

8 Indest-2008-5By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On September 15, 2016, a new study was released from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, that suggests people in states that allow medical marijuana may be using fewer opioid painkillers. Researchers analyzed crash data in 18 states from 1999 to 2013 and revealed that states that allow medical marijuana use saw a reduction in opioid involvement in fatal car accidents.

The Relationship Between Medical Marijuana Laws and Opioid Use.

The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, is the first look at how the relationship of medical marijuana laws might affect the use of opioid painkillers. “After the implementation of a medical marijuana law, there appears to be less opioid use, at least among young and middle-aged adults,” study lead author June Kim said. He’s a graduate student in epidemiology at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.

The researchers used data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System database of about 69,000 drivers from 18 states who died in auto accidents between the years 1999 and 2013. Tests for alcohol and other drugs had been conducted on the drivers.

In states where medical marijuana law was legal and easily accessible, the study found that drivers between the ages of 21 and 40, had almost half the chances of testing positive for opioid painkillers, than those who crashed before such a law was implemented. The results further add to evidence suggesting that patients with chronic pain may substitute marijuana for a prescription painkiller in states where the option is available.

The study authors stressed that it’s not clear if the opioid painkillers — or, for that matter, marijuana — contributed to any of the car accidents.

Click here to read the published article in the American Journal of Public Health.

To read one of my prior blogs on the use of medical marijuana as a treatment for opioid addiction, click here.

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys for Medical Marijuana Concerns.

The Health Law Firm attorneys can assist health care providers and facilities, such as doctors, pharmacists and pharmacies, wanting to participate in the medical marijuana industry. We can properly draft and complete the applications for registration, permitting and/or licensing, while complying with Florida law. We can also represent doctors, pharmacies and pharmacists facing proceedings brought by state regulators or agencies.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Ingraham, Christopher. “Study: medical pot means less opioid use.” Orlando Sentinel. (September 16, 2016). Print.

Dotinga, Randy. “Do medical pot states have less opioid abuse?” WebMD News from HealthDay. (September 15, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

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“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.