Most Connecticut hospitals will lose some of their Medicare reimbursement payments over the next year as penalties for having too many readmitted patients, according to new data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Statewide, 25 of the hospitals evaluated – or 89% – will have reimbursements reduced, to varying degrees, in the 2021 fiscal year that started Oct. 1, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of CMS data. Nationwide, almost half of hospitals, or 2,545 of them, will have their Medicare reimbursements cut, according to Kaiser Health News. The latest penalties were calculated using data from June 2016 through June 2019, meaning the influx of patients to hospitals seen amid the pandemic didn’t factor in.
Four nurses were recently disciplined by the state Board of Examiners for Nursing for drug and alcohol abuse and for photographing a patient without consent. The state placed Sara Scobie’s practical nurse license on probation for one year and fined her $500 for photographing a juvenile patient and sharing details of the patient’s personal and clinical information without parental consent, according to her signed order. Scobie was also reprimanded by the state Department of Public Health (DPH). Scobie of Milford, who was providing home care for a medically compromised child through All Pointe HomeCare of Cheshire, photographed the patient and then shared those photos without permission, according to the signed order. During the probation period Scobie cannot be employed as a nurse by any personnel provider service, home health agency, or assisted living agency, according to the order.
As the state readies for open enrollment for health insurance beginning November 1, those who have lost their jobs or have recently moved to Connecticut can get coverage now through Access Health CT (AHCT). For those who don’t have a qualifying event for special enrollment—such as getting married, giving birth or adopting a child—open enrollment for 2021 health insurance plans begins Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 15. Consumers can begin “window shopping” and comparing plans on Oct.
Students at the University of Connecticut asked UConn professors who taught the summer COVID-19 course what they think about the pandemic’s impact on the upcoming election. The COVID-19 pandemic that has put the world to a halt for the past seven months has now also reached the highest office in the country. President Donald Trump announced early Friday morning that he and his wife, Melania, have tested positive for COVID-19 and would begin quarantining. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, tested negative, according to a Tweet from Pence’s press secretary. At this time, nearly 34 million people have contracted the virus and over a million have died worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
The state Medical Examining Board agreed Tuesday to fine two doctors $5,000 each and issued a cease and desist order to a woman without a Connecticut medical license who performed a procedure that led to an infection. Dr. Bryan Boffi, of Avon, a psychiatrist at the Hospital of Central Connecticut, was fined $5,000 and his license was reprimanded after he issued a patient a prescription for Ativan, a sedative, without consulting with the person’s regular mental health clinician, documents said. Boffi cared for the patient while the person was admitted to HOCC’s psychiatric ward in May of 2016, but failed to talk to the person’s out-patient psychiatrist about the patient’s history or inpatient treatment strategy before prescribing the medication, a consent order said. The state Department of Public Health (DPH) began investigating Boffi after receiving a complaint from the patient’s family, papers said. Boffi has since completed 150 hours of continuing education in the treatment of depression, addiction and the use of Benzodiazepines, such as Ativan, DPH officials said.
Janet Rice’s home is filled with pictures of her son, Shane Oliver, a tall, gregarious man who never began a day without checking on his grandmother and never ended one without having a long talk with his mother. He was 20 when he was fatally shot, just a few minutes from the family’s Hartford home. “He was my only child and my best friend,” Rice said. Today Rice is the outreach coordinator for Fairfield-based Connecticut Against Gun Violence, work in which she believes her son shares. This summer has been a particularly difficult time to be working against gun violence in Connecticut.
The state Medical Examining Board voted Tuesday to discipline two physicians including issuing a $4,000 fine and one-year probation to a Bolton doctor who prescribed opioids to at least two patients but failed to provide adequate drug screening and documentation. The board also agreed to modify the terms of discipline for two physicians including a Fairfield County doctor who had done federal prison time as part of a compound medication cream scheme. The Department of Public Health (DPH) began looking into the practice of Dr. Ronald Buckman, of Bolton, in 2018 after receiving a complaint from an employee, according to a consent order. While the agency didn’t substantiate any issues with the way Buckman’s family-based practice was being managed, investigators did find that he had “deviated from the standard of care” for at least two patients for whom he had prescribed opioids, DPH papers said. Buckman failed to adequately document and examine one patient to whom he had prescribed painkillers while the patient was also taking muscle relaxers, an anti-seizure drug and possibly an antidepressant, prescribed by other physicians, the DPH said.
Over the past several months, the state Board of Examiners for Nursing has disciplined the following nurses for improper patient care, drug abuse and falsifying license paperwork, among other violations. • The registered nurse (RN) license of Sashni C. Popp of Norwalk was recently reprimanded and placed on probation for one year for failing to properly care for a patient’s wound and for not meeting the standard of care for wound treatment, according to her signed consent order. • The Connecticut RN license of Amy Slepica, of Lakeville, Minn., was revoked because she made false statements on her application for a CT nursing license in December 2017 and again on her license renewal in November 2018. Slepica, whose Minnesota RN license was disciplined in 2017 and 2018 for failure to provide adequate patient care and to maintain adequate patient records, indicated on her CT applications that her RN license had not been the subject of disciplinary action in any other state. • The RN license of Nicolette Strizzi of Windsor has been suspended indefinitely while the board investigates allegations of substance against her, according to her signed interim consent order.
In states where Medicaid was expanded under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), women are more likely to receive breast cancer diagnoses at an early stage, compared with women in other states, new research shows. Among women younger than 50, the average rate of diagnosis at advanced stages lowered from 23% to 21% between 2012-13 (before most states expanded Medicaid) and 2015-16 (after expansion), according to a Yale Cancer Center study published today in JAMA Surgery. In states where Medicaid wasn’t expanded, the average rate of advanced-stage diagnoses stayed constant at 26% during those years. “It’s a small percentage change [in expansion states] but it was statistically significant,” said Dr. Tristen Park, senior author of the study and a breast cancer surgeon at the Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital, especially since the drop was evident over just a few years. “It’s quite exciting.
The pace of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes has slowed to its lowest level since mid-April, but cases rose to 8,322 up from 7,875 the week prior. Nursing home deaths represent 60% of all COVID-related deaths, figures released Friday by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) show. For the week, 208 nursing home residents died, compared to 263 the week prior. In all, 2,398 Connecticut residents have died in nursing homes, up from 2,190. Of the state’s 213 nursing homes, 167 (78%) have at least one confirmed case of COVID-19, up from 165 a week ago.