Thursday, January 14, 2016

Public Health the first to go under Republican Governors.

Anti-government Republican governors are killing us with an agenda that’s only just starting to rev up.

The evidence in piling up dangerously fast; Scott Walker had let the Lincoln Hills youth prison reel out of control before acting and is doing the same for water pollution and algae blooms growth, Gov. Rick Snyder knowingly let Flint Michigan residence drink high concentrations of lead in water, and now Gov. Rick Scott in Florida did away with their statewide standards for children’s heart surgery.

There are two jaw dropping takeaways in this tragic Florida story; The 38-year-old administrative standards were dropped because they were never officially passed into law (the hospital objecting to the standards donated lots of money to Scott), and a judge ruled in favor of the state. Here’s the outrageous "reasoning" from Florida Administrative Law Judge John Van Laningham said:
(The notion that hospitals) "would suddenly stop providing quality pediatric cardiac services immediately upon repeal of the Standards rests on pure speculation -- and is a little insulting to the health care professionals who personally deliver those services. Many people derive personal satisfaction from doing a job well, whether the job is, e.g., painting a house or performing open-heart surgery, and they strive to deliver a quality product, not in obedience to the superintending guidance of the administrative state, but because they want to."
By the way, that is exactly the same logic lawmakers used for Wall Street, resulting in banks lying to investors, who then lost everything in the Great Recession. Alan Greenspan admitted as much.

This wasn't the first bad decision from Judge John Van Laningham:
Van Laningham is no stranger to controversial opinions. In 2014, he said a doctor accused of beating and handcuffing a patient during a yearlong sexual relationship should be allowed to continue practicing medicine.
The offending hospital, Tenent Healthcare's St. Mary's, finally stopped performing child surgeries, but not after complaining and...
...At least nine babies died after heart surgeries there over the course of 3½ years, from the end of 2011 to June 2015.

"I've seen botched surgeries. I've seen cases where they did the wrong surgery," says Dr. Edward Bove. 

Dr. Joseph Forbess, director of cardiac surgery at Children's Medical Center Dallas, says he's seen the same. "By the time they send them to us, the child is dying," he says. "It's very difficult for us because you know you could probably have done it better.
St. Mary's and the state were unmoved:
Babies continued to die at St. Mary's. And, after CNN's investigation, the state rushed to the hospital's defense. Within days, Department of Health spokeswoman Tiffany Cowie told reporters that state data showed St. Mary's mortality rate wasn't nearly as high as CNN had found.

But Cowie didn't mention a crucial detail: The state data she referred to didn't take into account half of the babies' deaths. Those babies had surgery at St. Mary's, but when their health spiraled downward, they were transferred to other hospitals. Those hospitals could not save them. The database Florida uses did not include those deaths, according to experts who manage that database. 

Even though the state defended St. Mary's mortality rate, in August the hospital closed its pediatric heart surgery program and the CEO resigned.
If you have the time check out the additional summary below and the links. It's horrific. Where are all those pro-life groups when you need them:
CNN: Heart doctors outraged Florida dumps hospital standards after big gifts to GOP: The state of Florida is putting thousands of children with heart defects at risk, a group of cardiac doctors say, because of a change in policy that came after Tenet Healthcare contributed $200,000 to Florida Republicans.

In a widely publicized investigation in June, CNN revealed that a program at a Tenet hospital in Florida had failed to live up to state quality standards for children's heart surgery. Less than two months later, the state decided to get rid of those standards. That decision came after the giant for-profit hospital chain made contributions to Republican Gov. Rick Scott and his party that dwarfed those the company made to candidates or parties in other states.

Doctors from around the state say the decision came right from the governor's office. The doctors argued that the quality standards have been in place since 1977, saved children's lives and had become a model for other states.

When the standards were dropped anyway, the parents of four children with heart defects took the state to court. Florida's Department of Health said the quality standards had to go because the Legislature had never given permission to put them in place. The standards have been in place and uncontested for 38 years.
"Our number one priority is the health of all Floridians, especially children," Department of Health spokeswoman Mara Gambineri said in an email to CNN ... "the department's authority is limited to those functions statutorily delegated by the Legislature." 
In July, the state announced it would repeal hospital standards for children's heart surgery. In December, a judge ruled in the state's favor and said the standards for pediatric heart hospitals could be taken off the books. Florida Administrative Law Judge John Van Laningham didn't base his ruling on the state's argument that it lacked the legislative authority to enact the standards. Instead, he said the parents who took the state to court had failed to prove that getting rid of the standards would lower the quality of their children's care.

Now, the cardiac doctors are considering whether to appeal the judge's decision.

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