Daily Rounds: Reform Winners & Losers; Hospital Chain Profits; Home Violence Screening; Slump Suicides

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Health law benefits some Mass. hospitals, penalizes others (The Boston Globe) - "Steward Health Care System, which ­includes struggling Carney Hospital, will not qualify for millions of dollars in special payments under the new Massachusetts health care law, because legislators said they did not want to subsidize a for-profit company. The provision is one of several buried in the 350-page bill that penalize or benefit certain hospitals. The cost-control law also targets three Harvard-­affiliated hospital systems — Partners HealthCare, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center — to pay a one-time $60 million tax to fund health programs. Legislators rewarded three small hospitals considered too isolated or too specialized to fail: Athol Memorial, Fairview in Great ­Barrington, and Franciscan Hospital for ­Children in Boston will get boosts in Medicaid payments."

More on hospital money: HCA, giant hospital chain, is blazing a profit trail (The New York Times) "HCA’s emergence as a powerful leader in the hospital industry is all the more remarkable because only a decade ago the company was badly shaken by a wide-ranging Medicare fraud investigation that it eventually settled for more than $1.7 billion. Among the secrets to HCA’s success: It figured out how to get more revenue from private insurance companies, patients and Medicare by billing much more aggressively for its services than ever before; it found ways to reduce emergency room overcrowding and expenses; and it experimented with new ways to reduce the cost of its medical staff, a move that sometimes led to conflicts with doctors and nurses over concerns about patient care."

Brief screening for domestic violence doesn't help, study shows (LA Times) - "Women who were screened for partner violence and given a list of resources to help didn’t have better health or less partner violence a year later than women who were not screened, researchers found. The research follows a call from numerous public health agencies, including the Institute of Medicine, for such screening, the researchers wrote in Tuesday’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Assn. They note that several other agencies including the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force have concluded there’s not enough evidence to support the screening."

1,000 suicides linked to hard economic times in Britain? (NBC) "A painful economic recession, rising unemployment and biting austerity measures may have already driven more than 1,000 people in Britain to commit suicide, according to a study published on Wednesday. The study, a so-called time-trend analysis which compared the actual number of suicides with those expected if pre-recession trends had continued, reflects findings elsewhere in Europe where suicides are also on the rise. "This a grim reminder after the euphoria of the Olympics of the challenges we face and those that lie ahead," said David Stuckler, a sociologist at Cambridge University who co-led the study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ)."

This program aired on August 15, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.