Thursday, October 8, 2009

Patient Dumping In Chicago

"Patient Dumping is the practice of dumping those that cannot afford medical services or those that would burden the system onto other medical care providers. At the University of Chicago Medical Center, patient dumping appears to be a routine practice." - Adam Bitely NetRightNation

or how to get rid of all the "riff raff" clogging the emergency rooms... so other paying customers (i.e. more lucrative sick people) could be waited on... and this scheme has Michelle Obama's fingerprints all over it. Many of the same people involved in this practice of patient dumping are now crafting the healthcare "reforms" that will be crammed down our throats from Washington DC.

Mr. Bitely reports:
In 2002, Michelle Obama became the Executive Director for Community Affairs at UCMC. Interestingly, Susan Sher, who hired Michelle for the UCMC gig, currently serves as Michelle Obama's chief of staff at the White House. Shortly after Barack Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Michelle received a promotion to become the Vice President for Community and External Affairs. Also serving on the board during this time was Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to the Obama administration.

In this new position, one of Michelle's top priorities was to solve a problem of too many poor patients or those on Medicare and Medicaid clogging the emergency room at UCMC. To deal with this problem, Michelle helped create the Southside Health Collaborative. This project served to provide a way to shuttle away patients to other medical clinics to receive care. This was blatant patient dumping.

As the program grew, Southside Health Collaborative eventually changed its name to the Urban Health Initiative. After hiring David Axelrod's public relations firm, the name was changed again.

Now we arrive in 2009. Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL) who represents the district where UCMC is located, sent a letter requesting an investigation into the apparent acts of Patient Dumping to Congressman Edolphus Towns. Mr. Towns is the Committee Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, the committee that Mr. Rush requested to look into this matter.

The letter from Mr. Rush, dated May 25, 2009, has apparently gone unanswered. We have attempted to reach Mr. Towns' office but our message has gone unanswered.

The actors in this Patient Dumping scheme are the same actors designing the new Health Care system. These types of matters must be addressed before this debate is allowed to go any further.

Malkin also reported on it.

In February 2009, outrage in the Obamas’ community exploded after a young boy covered by Medicaid was turned away from the University of Chicago Medical Center. Dontae Adams’ mother, Angela, had sought emergency treatment for him after a pit bull tore off his upper lip. Mrs. Obama’s hospital gave the boy a tetanus shot, antibiotics, and Tylenol and shoved him out the door. The mother and son took an hour-long bus ride to another hospital for surgery.

I’ll guarantee you this: You’ll never see the Adams family featured at an Obama policy summit or seated next to the First Lady at a joint session of Congress to illustrate the failures of the health care system....

Rewarding political cronies at the expense of the poor while posing as guardians of the downtrodden? Welcome to Obamacare.

Nice ...
Poor people being shoved out of the UCMC door.

Now that's Change you can believe in.


Catherine said...

Are you even from Chicago?

My mom works as a charge nurse in one of the largest ERs in the medical district here in Chicago (and has since 1989)....and I can tell you that this story sounds like an urban legend and/or overblown reporting.

Can you link to an actual news report of this alleged event with the Adams family and/or how Michelle Obama would have been involved, especially as it took place in February of 2009, after she was already the First Lady?

The logic as I follow here is somewhat specious....even for a native Chicagoan such as myself.

Judy Aron said...

Catherine here you are - straight from the Chicago Tribune

ER doctors condemn University of Chicago plan to divert patients
Group says move is “dangerously close” to breaking law, calls for congressional probe

By Bruce Japsen
February 20, 2009

Executives at the University of Chicago Medical Center had hoped their initiative to divert some patients from its emergency room would spark a healthy national debate.

Now they’ve got one.

The nation’s largest group of emergency physicians on Thursday condemned U. of C.’s plans, saying it comes “dangerously close” to violating federal law and calling for a congressional investigation. U. of C.’s initiative is aimed at clearing its ER of patients with non-urgent injuries and illnesses by redirecting them to community hospitals and clinics.

The American College of Emergency Physicians cited the Tribune’s coverage last week of the hospital’s Urban Health Initiative and of 12-year-old Dontae Adams, who was attacked by a pit bull and sent to another hospital for surgery.

The U. of C. maintains its Urban Health Initiative is about getting patients the right treatment at the appropriate location amid a tough economic climate and that the plan does not violate the law.

But in an unusual attack, the emergency physicians organization said the hospital is failing in its obligation to treat emergency patients. The group, which represents 26,000 doctors nationwide, also expressed “grave” concerns that U. of C.’s policy is “dangerously close to patient dumping,” a practice made illegal by the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. The group also is concerned other medical centers across the country could adopt similar strategies to cope with long waits for emergency treatment and rising health costs amid the deepening recession, which is what U. of C. said were the primary drivers of its initiative.

“The medical center is reducing emergency care access to its local community,” said Dr. Nick Jouriles, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. “If other community, non-profit hospitals follow this example and shift the lion’s share of resources to its high-revenue elective patients and procedures, it will leave many emergency patients virtually out in the cold.”

The emergency physicians group also raised the broader issue of whether the U. of C. hospital has an obligation to treat all who seek care there because it is a non-profit organization and enjoys tax-exempt status. The medical center said that as a specialized teaching facility, its costs are much higher than other hospitals’, and that it makes more sense to refer patients elsewhere when possible.

The academic medical center in the Hyde Park neighborhood has said 40 percent of the 80,000 patients who go to its emergency room each year do not need to be there. These visits cost the hospital tens of millions of dollars a year in time spent by staff and specialists whose attention is redirected to cuts, bruises and other less critical conditions that can be treated at community hospitals or health centers.

“Like nearly every hospital in the country, [University of Chicago] faces challenges relating to appropriate use of our limited emergency department resources and are seeking creative solutions,” the medical center said in a statement responding to the criticism.The U. of C. also said the group’s disapproval related to Adams’ case is “unfounded.”

“We regret [the group’s] distortion of this case and its mischaracterization of our efforts to responsibly address a nationwide crisis in health care,” U. of C. said.

The hospital’s effort to manage patient care began with a group of executives that included First Lady Michelle Obama, who was involved in early efforts to educate patients on the best use of the emergency room. The Urban Health Initiative is now run by one of President Barack Obama’s closest friends, Dr. Eric Whitaker.


Judy Aron said...

Under the escalated program, U. of C.’s emergency department will be reorganized to provide more evaluations from doctors and nurses before care is provided. In the past, U. of C. treated the patients and then educated them about health clinics, setting appointments at doctors’ offices and community centers for follow-up care.

Other hospitals that treat large numbers of poor and uninsured say the Obama administration should include emergency care in his health-care reform plan, which is expected to be discussed next week in his first address to a joint session of Congress.

“It raises a much bigger issue of how do hospitals survive in this economic environment,” said Dr. Leslie Zun, chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital on Chicago’s West Side. “The Obama administration put it on their agenda to address health care, but that’s a macro issue.”

Mt. Sinai executives say they treat everyone who comes for an emergency unless a patient needs specialized care that the hospital is not equipped to handle, such as severe burns or amputations.

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act requires hospitals to provide emergency care to people regardless of insurance or Immigration status. It’s legal to transfer patients from one emergency room to a clinic, another hospital or a government-run system like Cook County’s without treating them.

Zun pointed out that the act allows for varying degrees of medical judgment on who is admitted and who is cared for elsewhere.

“You could either do the bare minimum, which would include a medical screening … or everything. And we have decided to do everything, which includes lab tests and X-rays,” Zun said.

Defending the medical center’s treatment of Dontae Adams in a letter published in the Tribune this week, Dr. David Song wrote that Adams’ family took him to the medical center’s ER six hours after the dog attacked him.

“The medical team concluded that closing the wound might result in a significant risk of infection and possibly even leave this young boy with a more severe deformity,” wrote Song, director of the resident training program at U. of C.’s Pritzker School of Medicine.

Song said the team cleaned and dressed the boy’s wound before sending him home.

But Dontae’s mother, Angela Adams, said neither statement is true.

“They doped my boy up and told us to move on,” she said.

Adams, a medical assistant, said she went first to another hospital but decided she couldn’t wait for care there. So, she said, she dressed the wound herself and took Dontae to the U. of C. medical center because she believed the wound was serious, and she wanted to get the best care possible. She estimates she waited at least three hours at U. of C. before any medical personnel from the ER saw Dontae.

“I did not wait six hours before taking my son to the hospital,” she said. “We waited hours before anyone at the university would even see us.”

Judy Aron said...

And no - thank goodness... I am NOT from Chicago.

BTW - all you have to do is Google "Dontae Adams" - you'll get other articles as well.