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Michigan appeals court upholds statue of limitations in liability case

Refusing to make an exception to the state's statute of limitations on pursuing medical liability lawsuits, a Michigan Court of Appeals said a patient could not go forward with a case against Henry Ford Health System. The decision reversed a trial court ruling that said the lawsuit could go forward even though it was pursued more than six months after Mary O. Dennis discovered that she may have a medical liability claim. The lawsuit arose after Dennis was hospitalized for an unrelated issue on Sept. 11, 2008, and physicians told her she had colon cancer that had existed for at least five years, court documents show. When Dennis asked doctors why the cancer wasn't detected during a colonoscopy two years earlier, the physicians did not answer the question, according to court records. She filed her notice of intent to sue -- the first step plaintiffs must take when filing a medical liability suit in Michigan -- about a week after the six-month filing deadline. Dennis argued that ...

Health industry consolidation raising prices, lawmakers say

Washington -- Rapid consolidation in the health care industry has a key panel of lawmakers examining federal antitrust laws and physician payment models. The House Ways and Means health subcommittee held a Sept. 9 hearing to gather testimony on the impact of hospitals acquiring physician practices and insurers dominating community health care market shares. Lawmakers said these developments have caused higher prices and increased spending on health care by patients, businesses and governments. Rep. Wally Herger (R, Calif.), the subcommittee's chair, pointed to research showing that when hospitals merge, the prices charged to insurance companies increase. But consolidation does not necessarily lead to greater efficiency and improved quality of care, he said. "When hospitals purchase physician groups, hospitals are able to further increase revenue by controlling referral patterns and creating a situation in which they could pressure their physicians to perform more procedures," ...

Diabetes risk increases with duration of obesity

Research has long shown that obesity might increase an individual's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But a new study encourages health professionals to assess how overweight the individual is and how long he or she has been obese to get a more accurate idea of the person's diabetes risk. Authors of the study, published online Sept. 5 in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, compared the relationship between excess weight and developing type 2 diabetes with the link between smoking and the risk of lung cancer. "The amount of excess weight that you carry, and the number of years for which you carry it, dramatically increases your risk of diabetes," said lead study author Joyce M. Lee, MD, MPH, assistant professor in the division of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Michigan Health System. Dr. Lee recommends that physicians, particularly pediatricians and family physicians, help their young, overweight patients shed pounds to prevent them from becoming ...