Cross posted at Daily Kos

This is the first in what I hope to make a regular series here on Booman.  My goal is to highlight a few healthcare related articles that I feel would be of particular interest to this community. I hope to make this fairly regular, maybe every day or at least every other day. Please take the poll and let me know if you feel this is a worthwhile effort.

More Below the Fold.

First up today is an article from The titled Court ruling clears way to ax TennCare rolls. For those who are not familiar with the Tennessee Medicaid program, TennCare is the Medicaid managed care portion of the program (with a very high percentage of Medicaid patients being enrolled with TennCare). There has been an effort over the recent months to purge the TennCare rolls of 320,000 + recipients.

The cuts were originally halted by a decision by a federal judge in Nashville. That decision has since been overturned by the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals. The courts have yet to determine the methodology for removing these recipients from the system, as well as, how these recipients will be notified of their new-found ineligibility.

It is well documented that the TennCare program (one of the finest Medicaid programs in the country) has put a tremendous strain on Tennessee’s annual budget, but I can’t help but feel that dropping over 300,000 state residents into the realm of the uninsured will be anything but catastrophic.

Next up is an article from the Washington Post regarding poor disciplinary response to DC area physician misconduct entitled D.C. Council Hearing Planned on Oversight of Doctors. The DC city council is planning a hearing to review the DC Board of Medicine’s response to physician misconduct within the city’s medical community. The council’s review of the board’s disciplinary actions indicated that there are more than a dozen physicians whom had not been suspended or reprimanded in DC while having received disciplinary action in Maryland or Virginia for sexual misconduct, criminal convictions or questionable medical practices.

Councilman David Catiana is leading the charge in this investigation.

“I can’t have a Board of Medicine that protects doctors more than it does the public, and that’s what it appears to be doing,” Catania said in an interview. “If our Board of Medicine is doing such an uninspiring job of policing doctors, there’s no wonder why our malpractice insurance premium is so high.”

The result of this type of lack of oversight is an across the board spike in malpractice premiums, as opposed to charging more to those who have blemishes on their records. This causes those physicians who practice in good faith to pay higher overhead costs to remain in practice in the DC metropolitan area, which are then passed on to the consumer (patients), many of whom are part of DC’s very large uninsured population.

Next up is an article from the New York Times entitled Hospital Business in New York Braces for a Crisis. This article outlines the chilling situation regarding hospital availability in New York. In the last 27 months, 12 New York hospitals have closed their doors, with many others shutting down wings and non profitable departments. Many of the facilities in financial danger suffer due to low Medicaid rates in the state and traditionally poor paying managed care payers who have made NY their stomping grounds (HIP, GHI, etc).

What this means is that in due time, there will be a shortage of available facilities in areas where their services are more greatly needed. When a hospital closes its doors, along with it goes the emergency department. When a community loses an emergency department, wait times and quality of care suffer at the remaining facilities.

The main reason why I am personally concerned by this trend in New York is that it will also become an issue in other areas of the country, due in part to the expected Medicare and Medicaid cuts, as well as, the ever growing uninsured population.

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