In This Spring 2013 Issue:
Sally Wojtkiewicz sued Middlesex Hospital for injuries resulting from a fall from her bed on May 28, 2006 claiming that employees' negligence caused her accident. She suffered injuries to her left arm and shoulder.
Because her lawsuit was commenced on October 29, 2008, more than two years from the date of her injuries, Middlesex Hospital claimed that her lawsuit was barred by the statute of limitations. The Superior Court agreed and dismissed the lawsuit.
On appeal, Ms. Wojkiewicz asserted that because she remained in and was continuously treated at the Hospital after her fall on May 28, the running of the statute of limitations was tolled (interrupted) and that her treatment at the hospital after August 29, 2008, apparently as an outpatient, gave her the ability to maintain her claim.
Since it was undisputed that she became aware of her injuries on the date of her fall, the statute of limitations began to run from that point, the Connecticut Appellate Court held. “The focus is on the plaintiff’s knowledge of facts,” the court ruled, “rather than on discovery of applicable legal theories.” Ms. Wojtkiewicz’s efforts to extend the statute of limitations were rebuffed and her case was dismissed.
Wojtkiewicz v. Middlesex Hospital, Docket No. AC 33758, March 12, 2013.
Saint Francis Care, Inc. (SFC) the parent organization of Hartford’s Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center made a blockbuster announcement at the beginning of the New Year. SFC has signed a letter of intent with Ascension Health Care Network “opening the way for Saint Francis Care to join Ascension . . . with the vision of building a statewide, clinically integrated healthcare delivery system . . . .”
While Ascension is an affiliate of Ascension Health Alliance, described in the announcement as “the largest Catholic health system in the nation,” it is also a for‑profit, taxable entity believed to be the first for‑profit Catholic healthcare system which “provides an appropriate return to those whose investments have helped create . . . value.” Ascension Health Care Network is described in the announcement as “a joint venture with Oak Hill Capital Partners that provides an alternative funding source for the acquisition of Catholic hospitals . . . .”
It is not clear whether SFC and Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center will become for‑profit entities, although it is believed that every effort will be made to avoid taking this step, given to the obvious federal, state and local tax advantages of retaining their tax exempt status.
Dr. Paul S. Mueller reports in the March 1, 2013 issues of Journal Watch, a newsletter published by the Massachusetts Medical Society, that ACL surgery may not need to be rushed.
Dr. Mueller reports that, 128 patients having a mean age of 26 with acute anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears were randomized to early reconstructive surgery or optional later reconstructive surgery-after receiving rehabilitation. After “five years, no differences were noted between the groups” in the various benchmark categories.
The author notes in this study by European investigators that young active patients who delay ACL surgery after rehabilitation may be able to avoid surgery entirely. Although the study group did not include less active individuals or professional athletes, the authors are quoted by Dr. Mueller as observing that “clinicians and young active adult patients . . . (should) consider rehabilitation as a primary treatment option.”
The impact of this approach, if validated in larger studies, could mean significant cost savings as well as reduced morbidity among young ACL surgery patients.
According to a recent article in Senior Housing News, nursing homes will be underpaid by more than $7 billion in 2012 by the Medicaid system. A study by Eljay LLC released by the American Health Care Association states: “for a typical 100-bed skilled nursing facility where, on average, 63% of residents rely on Medicaid to cover the cost of their care, the 2012 projected shortfall translates to a loss of more than $500,000 a year.”
Existing legislation will also result in reducing Medicare payments to skilled nursing facilities. These reductions will arise primarily in the short term stay and outpatient therapy settings.
All in all, a dismal prognosis.
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