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Caregivers' limited English skills can add to hospital stay

Children hospitalized with infections are likely to stay in the hospital longer if their parent or other primary caregiver speaks limited English, says a study published online May 2 in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Such patients also are 80% less likely to be referred for home health care services than patients whose caregivers speak proficient English. The findings are significant, given that about one in five U.S. residents speaks a language other than English and about half of those have limited English proficiency, the study said . "The most concerning consequences of such disparities always fall on the patients," said Michael N. Levas, MD, lead study author and third-year pediatric emergency medicine fellow at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo. "Families that have a prolonged length of stay have to deal with more time off of work, child care issues for the children not admitted and cost of a prolonged hospital stay." Researchers studie ...

Disclosing medical errors can lower liability lawsuit expenses

Disclosing medical errors to patients mitigates medical liability lawsuits, increases safety and ensures long-term financial benefits for medical practices, according to a new report. The report, released online May 12 by the privately owned international insurance broker Lockton, reviewed previous studies on error disclosures between 1987 and 2010 and analyzed the financial impact of such disclosure on health care professionals. The Lockton report cited an analysis of the University of Michigan Health System's 2001 medical disclosure approach. The study, in the Aug. 17, 2010, issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, showed: About 20 fewer lawsuits each year were filed after the program's implementation. Lawsuit resolution time went from 1.36 years before the program started to 0.95 afterward. The average cost per lawsuit decreased from $405,921 to $228,308. Research shows that disclosure programs make the best financial sense for health care organizations, along ...

Economists and scholars defend Medicare pay board

Washington -- More than 100 academics, analysts and economists are pressing Congress to preserve the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board to promote new payment methods and improve the program. Momentum has been building in Washington, led by House Republicans, to pass legislation that would repeal the board as authorized by the health system reform law. A House bill sponsored by Phil Roe, MD (R, Tenn.), has 120 co-sponsors, including several Democrats, who support eliminating the IPAB. President Obama instead has called for the cost control board's charter to be expanded in an effort to curtail Medicare spending growth. A letter from 106 professionals at universities and think tanks across the country urges lawmakers to keep the board intact. "The IPAB is a tool designed to help the Congress slow the rapid projected increases in health care costs in the federal budget and to improve the delivery of health care," the May 20 letter states. "Increases in Medicare, Medicai ...