The Boston Globe series that Steward Health took to court — before the stories ran

The Globe’s narrative story about one man’s struggles with his mental health care is running this week. And the company that runs one of the hospitals where he was treated was not allowed to read it first.ssLast week:  

A Suffolk Superior Court judge ruled Thursday that Steward Health Care System has no right to review the reporting or records collected by The Boston Globe for a yet-to-be-published article about a man’s journey through the mental health care system.

Judge Jeffrey Locke said the for-profit health care company may comment broadly to the newspaper and answer limited questions on the patient’s care without violating medical privacy laws.

Steward, in a suit filed against the Globe Wednesday, asked the court to permit release of the patient’s private medical records, which the company said it needed to rebut a Globe story that is scheduled to be published this weekend.

The hospital chain also served papers to the man profiled in the story. Read the full story above a full run-down of the legal contortions hospital lawyers performed to argue that they were not going after the patient or trying to repress the story.

This is more about more than a thin-skinned story subject.  Health care reporters seeking comment or information for stories can come up against overly broad interpretations of patient privacy laws.  Worth watching.

Finally, a question: What would The Cheescake Factory do? 

 

NYTimes story on #readmission prevention coaches features Rhode Island program

From the NY Times New Old Age Column:

The transitions coach ducks into your mother’s hospital room for a brief introduction before she’s discharged. The coach explains that her job is to help keep patients safe at home and asks if she can call to set up a home visit.

Health researchers know that transitions — the hand-offs from one setting to another, as in hospital to home — often go awry.

“It’s so abrupt,” said Dr. Eric Coleman, a geriatrician at the University of Colorado, Denver (and a certified McArthur Foundation genius). “For three days people do everything for you, and then, 11 minutes before you leave, they turn the tables. ‘Nowyou take over.’ ”

Your parent is often sleep deprived and medicated at the time; little wonder that nationally, about one Medicare patient in five returns to the hospital within a month…

To lower that figure, Dr. Coleman began developing the Care Transitions Intervention program 15 years ago. If patients agree, a coach comes to their homes two to four days after discharge. She’s not there to change dressings or help them bathe; home health nurses or aides do that. Instead, over 45 minutes to an hour, the coach — generally a nurse, sometimes a social worker or other health care professional — asks about patients’ goals as they recover.

Here’s the RI program mentioned in the story.

Could lunch lady fare be healthier than school lunch from home?

Seems the fluffernutter  has moved from the cafeteria to the lunch sack. The Globe offers a story about the joys of getting a kid to eat a healthy lunch.   Tufts found that the contents of those brown bags sometime fall short on the nutrition scale.

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The nutritional shortcomings of school lunches have been a matter of national debate for decades — but the focus has been on what schools serve, not on what moms and dads pack in the lunch bags.

Now Tufts University researchers have looked inside all those bags — and discovered that none of the lunches met all five National School Lunch Program standards, which emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low- or nonfat dairy, and only 27 percent of the lunches met at least three of the goals.

So, now that the lunch lady has moved beyond tater tots, lets give him or her some credit.

 

 

Today and this weekend: Code Black: Documentary by #ED doc at MFA #hospitals

Have not seen this but it looks good. Thursday, Friday and Sat afternoons at the Museum of Fine Arts. From the film’s promo:

In his vivid and thought-provoking filmmaking debut, physician Ryan McGarry gives us unprecedented access to America’s busiest Emergency Department. Amidst real life-and-death situations, McGarry follows a dedicated team of charismatic, young doctors-in-training as they wrestle openly with both their ideals and with the realities of saving lives in a complex and overburdened system. Their training ground and source of inspiration is “C-Booth,” Los Angeles County Hospital’s legendary trauma bay, the birthplace of Emergency Medicine, where “more people have died and more people have been saved than in any other square footage in the United States.” CODE BLACK offers a tense, doctor’s-eye view, right into the heart of the healthcare debate – bringing us face to face with America’s only 24/7 safety net.

 

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#NEJM #Relman obit: “A master in the use of the bully pulpit” #HCR

A not entirely objective perspective on the  career of the journal’s storied editor. Here’s the last paragraph:

In the increasingly complex world of health care, Bud Relman was a prophetic figure, larger than life. He acted nejmas our conscience. In his writing and speaking, he always reminded us that the medical profession is far more than a business and that as physicians, we have the responsibility to do what is right for patients and for the community as a whole. As distinguished as he was as a researcher, clinician, editor, teacher, and administrator, Bud Relman will be most remembered for the way he fought for a fundamental reshaping of our nation’s health care system. His passionate commitment to that cause will forever secure his position in the pantheon of leaders in medicine.

 

 

Boston Globe reports: Biolab & ebola

Two recent Boston Globe items of note:

Local hospitals prep for ebola

emergencyIn response to the West African outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, some Boston hospitals are instructing clinical staff to ask patients as soon as they arrive about their travel histories, and reminding doctors and nurses of the symptoms.

But hospital officials say they would be ready to quickly identify the illness and prevent its spread if an infected patient showed up, using protocols and equipment already in place.

Column : Local biolab sits mostly empty as the CDC copes with its own lab safety crisis.

Over a decade of community protests, Boston University has beaten back lawsuits aimed at closing the lab and won City Council backing. Final approvals are still pending from the Boston Public Health Commission and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Its critics, though, have been given fresh ammunition: The CDC confessed earlier this month to sloppy handling of anthrax and avian flu at its laboratories elsewhere, exposing dozens of employees to the deadly bacteria. The mistake was the kind that proponents of the Albany Street lab had called nearly impossible.

“The CDC example is a wake-up call, if you needed a wake-up call,” said David Ozonoff, a Boston University professor and the longtime dean of its department of environmental health who opposes the lab.

How to feel a little bit better about ordering a $42 steak

Some need the excuse of a birthday or anniversary to splurge at celeb chef Jody Adams’ Rialto. Entrees at the Harvard Square restaurant run from $26 for roasted eggplant agrodolce (golden raisins, pine nuts, mozzarella, saffron tomatoes, chickpea arancini ) to $43 for grilled Tuscan sirloin steak (portabella, arugula, Parmigiano Reggiano, truffle oil).

For those interested in global health, here’s another. Louinique Occean, Rialto’s hePHIad baker, and Adams, James Beard Award-winning chef, are working with Partners in Health to create healthy meals with local ingredients at University Hospital in Mirebalais.


“Occean, who is Haitian-American, and Adams, a PIH trustee, have come at the request of the medical team to help the kitchen staff make healthier meals for patients, using locally sourced ingredients.

In Haiti, lack of access to nourishing food is at the root of many health problems. About 22 percent of young Haitian children show signs of chronic malnutrition. Doctors and nurses often see poor nutrition exacerbating the effects of other health problems, including tuberculosis, HIV, and diabetes. Malnutrition puts women at greater risk of dying in pregnancy and childbirth.”

Link here to her recipes.

Here is another tip for PHI supporters. For everyone who takes PIH’s 3-question, online quiz, a donor will contribute 50 cents to PIH’s maternal health efforts.

 

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