Dec. 24, 2014

1. Stand-alone emergency rooms emerge in Central Florida
Orlando Sentinel
From Sept. 3: When the Hunter's Creek Emergency Room opened on John Young Parkway in June, the people of that burgeoning community suddenly had a center that could treat medical emergencies ranging from heart attacks to broken bones. The off-site hospital emergency department was the second such facility to open in Central Florida in the past year, and two more will open in the next year or so. That puts Orlando in the forefront of a trend of full-service emergency medicine facilities rising miles from hospitals.More

2. 5 myths about the ER, debunked
From April 17: The hospital emergency room is the front door of the health care system. Most people will only have to visit a handful of times in their lives, but visiting an ER can be both a lifesaving and frightening experience. However, several myths prevail about what happens in the ER and what you can expect. Here are five that need to be declared DOA.More

3. When patients read what their doctors write
From Aug. 27: The woman was sitting on a gurney in the emergency room, and I was facing her, typing. I had just written about her abdominal pain when she posed a question I'd never been asked before: "May I take a look at what you're writing?" At the time, I was a fourth-year medical resident in Boston. In our ER, doctors routinely typed visit notes, placed orders and checked past records while we were in patients' rooms. To maintain at least some eye contact, we faced our patients, with the computer between us.More

4. HCA to close Florida hospital as inpatient volumes dwindle
Modern Healthcare
From Sept. 25: For-profit hospital giant HCA said it will close one of its hospitals in Florida because of excess inpatient capacity in the region — a sign that healthcare reform continues to push patient volumes away from inpatient hospital settings and toward lower-cost outpatient facilities.More

5. Evaluating patients for possible Ebola virus disease: Recommendations for healthcare personnel and health officials
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
From Oct. 8: The purpose of this HAN Advisory is to remind healthcare personnel and health officials to: (1) increase their vigilance in inquiring about a history of travel to West Africa in the 21 days before illness onset for any patient presenting with fever or other symptoms consistent with Ebola; (2) isolate patients who report a travel history to an Ebola-affected country and who are exhibiting Ebola symptoms in a private room with a private bathroom and implement standard, contact, and droplet precautions (gowns, facemask, eye protection and gloves); and (3) immediately notify the local/state health department.More

6. Hospitals in the US get ready for Ebola
The New York Times
From Aug. 20: Hospitals nationwide are hustling to prepare for the first traveler from West Africa who arrives in the emergency room with symptoms of infection with the Ebola virus. Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has said such a case is inevitable in the United States, and the agency this month issued the first extensive guidelines for hospitals on how recognize and treat Ebola patients. The recommendations touch on everything from the safe handling of lab specimens to effective isolation of suspected Ebola patients. But one piece of advice in particular has roused opposition from worried hospital administrators.More

7. Bill expanding medical powers for nurses passes Senate committee
The Florida Current
From March 26: The Senate Health Policy Committee just barely voted in favor of a bill that would expand medical authority to advanced practice registered nurses despite staunch opposition from some panelists. SB 1352, by Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, passed the committee with a vote of 5-4 after roughly 30 people chiefly from various nursing associations spoke in favor of it. Grimsley's proposal gives advanced practice nurses authority to prescribe controlled substances and initiate the Baker Act on a patient who may require an involuntary psychiatric evaluation. Also, the bill would allow nurses to release patients brought in for the involuntary test.More

8. Florida to spend millions on Ebola preparation
Health News Florida
From Oct. 22: The nation's Ebola crisis has yet to reach Florida, but state officials want to spend millions to prepare for a possible outbreak. This week, top health official asked for permission to redirect money from federal grants to buy full body suits for health care workers who may have contact with any potential victims of the virus.More

9. Variation in hospitalizations from ER costs billions
Medical News Today
From Sept. 25: It sounds like the setup for a joke: Two identical patients go to two different hospital emergency entrances, complaining of the same symptoms. But what happens next is no laughing matter, according to a new University of Michigan study published in the September issue of Health Affairs. While one patient may get treated and released from the emergency department, the other gets sent upstairs to a hospital bed — at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars.More

10. Health law impacts primary care doc shortage
Health News Florida
From Dec. 10: When Olivia Papa signed up for a new health plan last year, her insurance company assigned her to a primary care doctor. The relatively healthy 61-year-old didn't try to see the doctor until last month, when she and her husband both needed authorization to see separate specialists. She called the doctor's office several times without luck. "They told me that they were not on the plan, they were never on the plan and they'd been trying to get their name off the plan all year," said Papa, who recently bought a plan from a different insurance company.More