patients

Patients and their advocates are getting an ever-larger voice in how medical research is carried out. They participate in the design of experiments and have a greater say in what outcomes they care about most — and it's not always simply living longer.

Sharon Terry has lived through a couple of decades during which patients went from being complete outsiders to participants. She worries now that they risk being co-opted by the medical research juggernaut.

St. John's County

Former employees of a medical clinic accuse the St. Johns County Commissioner and his mother of improperly billing for nearly 40 Medicaid patients, illegally storing controlled substances and forging prescriptions, the Florida Times-Union reports. 

The expansion of Medicaid managed care is the reason for the elimination of 85 state jobs at the Florida Department of Health in Polk County, the Lakeland Ledger reports. Among the positions that will be eliminated are registered nurses, advanced registered nurse practitioners, licensed practical nurses and health support workers. According to the Ledger, 28 of the positions are vacant.   

A Tampa-based trial lawyer who has won millions in damages by suing nursing homes, penetrating the corporate veil to go after investors, vendors and contractors, may see his strategy blocked by a bill in the Florida Legislature. As the Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau reports, Jim Wilkes says he “follows the assets” as he seeks large punitive damages from nursing homes that abuse or neglect patients.

International patients come to South Florida facilities bring millions of dollars, and as the Miami Herald reports, the new owners of Miami’s Metropolitan Hospital may increase efforts to capitalize on that market.

Carolina Hidalgo / Tampa Bay Times

Bay Gardens Retirement Village in Tampa no longer has a license to operate as an assisted living facility. As the Tampa Bay Times reports, the facility lost that license in 2010 after years of endangering and neglecting patients.

A federal judge in Hartford, Conn., has thrown out a lawsuit filed by the Center for Medicare Advocacy on behalf of 14 beneficiaries who were socked with thousands of dollars in unexpected charges for nursing-home admission after a hospital stay, Kaiser Health News reports. 

If you’re an elderly patient with cancer, where you live may play a big part in how aggressive your medical treatment is during the last month of life, the Tampa Bay Times reports. According to a study by the Dartmouth Atlas Group, about 28.8 percent of cancer patients across the country were admitted for intensive care in their last days.

Doug Engle / Ocala Star-Banner

Dr. Michael Addair Tarver’s license has been suspended by an emergency order from the Florida Department of Health, the Ocala Star-Banner reports (paywall in effect). According to DOH records, the dentist allegedly tried to cover up two separate incidents involving 4-year-old patients having a reaction to anesthesia.

Steven Martine / Florida Trend

Two separate profiles put a spotlight on two people who work in health care.

Douglas R. Clifford / Tampa Bay Times

Consumer groups are angry over the possibility that the cost of copying medical records could shoot up sharply for patients and their lawyers,the Tampa Bay Times reports. 

The Florida Board of Medicine will consider the issue on Friday at a meeting in Deerfield Beach, and a consumer group is planning to protest.

Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

Rather than run separate summaries on the various misdeeds, here’s a roundup:

http://www.omfs-pensacola.com/

The Florida Department of Health has imposed emergency restrictions on an oral surgeon  accused of sexually assaulting patients while they were sedated, the Pensacola News Journal reports. The public complaint, which says one of the patients was 16 years old, notes staff members saw that the dentist was touching the patient and was “sexually aroused.” 

When the American Psychiatric Association releases its new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders -- DSM-5 -- this weekend, lots of journalists and commentators will refer to it as "psychiatry's bible."

That's a term that makes the manual's authors and other mental experts cringe.

Former employees of the National Deaf Academy in Mount Dora have filed a whistleblower lawsuit that alleges managers are covering up reports of abuse and neglect at the residential facility for deaf and psychiatric patients, the Orlando Sentinel reports.  

Tampa Bay Times

The very device that once reassured patients like Kevin Fountain is now causing lots of worry, the Tampa Bay Times reports. The 53-year-old knew something was wrong when he saw an imaging scan that showed the wires poking out of the Riata defibrillator. Doctors don’t really know what to do with the 128,000 heart patients who have the device.  

Picture this: Your spouse or child has collapsed and isn't breathing. You call 911, and the paramedics rush in and take charge. But you are banished to another room while the medical people try to bring your loved one back to life.

It's about the most stressful scene imaginable. And it's what usually happens.

Patients who don’t want the inconvenience of going to the lab can pay LabRetriever to dispatch a phlebotomist to their home or office to draw blood.