Saturday, January 2, 2016

Slow Saturday Special: Not a Good Steward

I may no longer have the heart for it:

"Judge refuses to block plans to open cardiac unit in Fall River" by Felice J. Freyer Globe Staff  December 19, 2015

The legal dispute centers on cardiac catheterization, a procedure that threads a slender tube through a blood vessel into the heart to diagnose a blockage. Diagnostic cath labs are required to perform at least 300 procedures a year, on the theory that medical teams who perform a service often make fewer errors. But demand for the procedure is declining; thus, a competitor that draws away patients can ultimately cause another hospital’s unit to shut down.

Steward Health Care System, a for-profit group that owns 10 hospitals in Eastern Massachusetts, wanted to transfer a cardiac cath lab from the now-closed Quincy Hospital to St. Anne’s Hospital in Fall River. That threatened to draw patients away from two Southcoast cardiac services: Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, which is 2 miles away, and St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, which is 15 miles away.

It's a shark tank out there.

A 2008 moratorium prohibited new cardiac cath units within a 30-minute ambulance ride of an existing one. But just as Quincy Hospital was heading toward closure, the state Department of Public Health adopted a narrowly written exception to the moratorium that allowed the cardiac lab to be transferred from Quincy to St. Anne’s.

Southcoast accused John Polanowicz, then the health and human services secretary, of pushing the exception through for Steward’s benefit at a time when he was hoping to be rehired there. Polanowicz has since returned to a job as a Steward executive....

Kind of $tops your heart for a minute, doesn't it?


Also see: Calling Avon 

Because they love you.

UPDATE: Dr. Lawrence H. Cohn, 78; ‘master of masters’ in cardiac surgery