When Government Manages Health Care!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2004
When Government Manages Health Care!
Sun, 09-12-2010 - 9:33am
From the Chicago Tribune:

H1N1 vaccine demand peters out

Health departments left with thousands of surplus doses

April 02, 2010|By Jeff Long, Tribune reporter

People waited in line for hours last fall for the H1N1 vaccine as officials warned about the spreading pandemic. But, due to less demand than expected and production delays, local health departments now are getting rid of thousands of surplus doses that have become so much medical waste.

The CDC shipped 126 million doses of the vaccine under a $1.6 billion federal program, but officials estimate that only between 72 million and 81 million people have been vaccinated across the country.

In Illinois, more than 3.5 million vaccines have been distributed to local health departments, but very rough estimates say just 1.6 million had been administered by the end of March, said Melaney Arnold, a spokesperson for the state health department.


"If you think back to (the fall), we had demand that outstripped supply, and then as we started getting all the vaccine in December, the demand just really fell off," said Paul Kuehnert, executive director of the Kane County Health Department. "It's certainly disappointing, the timing and the fact that we have vaccine on our hands now."

Thomas Skinner, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, explained that federal officials decided "to be sure we had a dose for everyone who wanted it. There was a lot of uncertainty about what we were going to be up against."

Illinois began a new advertising campaign this week warning people that the virus is still a threat through the flu season that ends in late April or early May, and urging them to consider vaccination.

"A lot of people have become complacent about it," Arnold said.

The H1N1 strain of the flu never became the widespread problem that health officials once feared. In Illinois, the illness hospitalized a little more than 3,000 people, killing 105 — including a person in Cook County last month, according to Arnold.

Now, local health departments are contracting with medical waste disposal companies to get rid of thousands of doses of vaccine that began expiring this week.

Lake County will dispose of about 2,400 doses of the spray vaccine that have expired. About 15,500 doses of the injectable vaccine remain of the 100,000 the county ordered, officials said.

"We were very lucky that the virus was not as virulent as it could have been," said Mark Pfister, the county's population health services director.

The Lake County Health Department provided some of its remaining vaccines on Thursday to people at New Hope Christian Fellowship Church in Mundelein, where Mexican immigrants had come to apply for Mexican passports.

Gregorio Flores, 44, of Mundelein, said he decided to take advantage of the free shot after applying for his passport because he hopes it keeps him from getting the flu this year.

"I was working a lot last year and didn't have an opportunity to get the vaccine, so this was my first chance," he said.

The Cook County Department of Public Health has received 199,235 vaccines and distributed nearly 163,000 by early March, said spokesperson Amy Poore.

In Will County, the health department received about 85,000 doses of the vaccine, mostly in early December. More than two-thirds of the supply remains undistributed, officials said.

About 22,000 doses of the injectable vaccine expired on Wednesday, said Vic Reato, a county health department spokesman.

"They're taken out of the refrigerator and they‘re locked away," Reato said. "They're just stored away in an office somewhere."

The Kane County Health Department received about 68,000 doses of the vaccine, of which 43 percent remain unused.

"We're continuing to see some demand — it's obviously much lighter than it was in the fall — and we‘re continuing to make the vaccine available to folks in our community," Kuehnert said. "We still have our hot line set up and on a daily basis we're probably seeing a dozen calls or so."

While praising the speed with which the new vaccine was brought to market, Kuehnert said it arrived too late to match the spread of the epidemic in the fall.

The DuPage County Health Department received 140,098 vaccines and administered 96,685.

"We support the public health message that your best protection is to get vaccinated and we still have appointments for free vaccine, said spokesman David Hass. "It is also clear that the public interest in vaccine is declining at this time."

Freelance writers Robert Channick and Ruth Fuller contributed to this report.



iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2004
Sun, 09-12-2010 - 9:38am

From Aboutlawsuits.com:

Published: June 3rd, 2009 • Comments: 8

feature photo

A congressional panel will look into the recent problems at VA Hospitals that occurred in at least three states, where thousands of veterans were potentially exposed to HIV, Hepatitis C and other diseases caused by unsterilized equipment.

The U.S. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs oversight and investigations subcommittee scheduled a hearing for June 16, 2009, to inquire about the issues that resulted in letters being sent to10,555 former VA hospital patients recommending that they obtain blood tests because they were treated with equipment that was not properly cleaned between patients.

As of May 18, 2009, more than 8,000 patients had been tested. Five of those patients tested positive for HIV and 43 tested positive for hepatitis.

The congressional subcommittee intends to look at what caused the VA hospital problems, which affected patients at VA facilities in Miami, Fl., Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Augusta, Ga., where patients were exposed to improperly cleaned or operated endoscopic equipment used primarily for colonoscopies.

At the Alvin C. York Medical Center in Murfreesboro, where the first VA hospital contamination problems were first discovered, an incorrect valve may have caused contaminated bodily fluids to be transferred from person-to-person.

A subsequent review of procedures at all facilities led to the discovery of similar problems at Miami Veterans Affairs Healthcare System and the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta.

The potential exposures occurred during treatments as far back as April 2003 at the Tennessee GI Clinic, May 2004 at the Miami GI Clinic and January 2008 at the Augusta ENT Clinic.

The Department of Veteran Affairs identified human error and improper training as key factors in the problems. For example, at the Miami VA clinic, a colonoscopy tube was cleaned only once per day instead of after every use.

While it is unclear whether the problems at the VA hospitals directly led to the reported cases of HIV and hepatitis infections, the subcommittee chair, U.S. Rep Harry Mitchell (D-AZ), said last week, “whether it came from these improper procedures or not, the VA has a responsibility to take care of these patients.”

Over 100 VA personnel at the three hospitals have been assigned to make sure that potentially affected veterans receive prompt testing and counseling.

In the wake of the initial discovery of potential contamination a Murfreesboro last December, the VA has investigated potential problems at 153 facilities nationwide. VA officials also reportedly discovered problems at 12 other facilities, which they did not identify. None of those problems have required follow-up blood tests, according to the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Tags: Colonoscopy, Florida, Georgia, Hepatitis C, Infection, Tennessee, VA Hepatitis Outbreak, VA Hospital, VA Medical Center, Veteran Affairs

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-25-2010
Sun, 09-12-2010 - 10:30am
This is a problem everywhere. Lack of staff. lack of oversight use of outdated methods. Yet it can be fixed and the proper staffing can be achieved.

xvx Pictures, Images and Photos

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2010
Sun, 09-12-2010 - 10:43am

"This is a problem everywhere. "

Then why is it the minority of health facilities (government ran) outnumber the majority of health facilities (for profits) with problems like these?

I can think of 3 stories off the top of my head with people dying in waiting rooms, some waiting over a day for treatment, in government ran facilities but no comparables for those in privately ran facilities?

I know first hand government healthcare is a joke. Government standard is substandard.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-25-2010
Sun, 09-12-2010 - 11:03am
That is why the single payer is the key. Government does not need to "run" (administer) when we already have the paper pushers in place.
The organizations that are here can handle that problem. The pay comes from the government with oversights for fraud as we have a problem with human greed. The chance for everyone to have state of the art care is easily achievable.

xvx Pictures, Images and Photos

Avatar for papparic
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 09-12-2010 - 2:25pm

"I know first hand government healthcare is a joke."

How about letting us in on the joke? I'm always game for a good laugh.

Of course, my experience is just the opposite. I think private healthcare is the real joke, except the joke is on us and the only people laughing are those who force prices unhumanly high and make getting health care a question of the size of ones wallet.

Health care in Canada, Belgium, France, Sweden, Norway, Finland to name a few that I know to some degree, provide excellent care, to anyone who needs it, regardless of wallet size.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-28-2009
Sun, 09-12-2010 - 2:29pm

...and if there hadn't been enough of the vaccine for everyone and people were dropping like flies with H1N1, the government would have been to blame for that, too.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-28-2009
Sun, 09-12-2010 - 2:32pm

This crime was committed by a private physician.


Who is To Blame For Las Vegas Hepatitis C Crisis?
Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, May 19, 2008 8:23 AM EST

The first official report is in on who is to blame in the Las Vegas Hepatitis C outbreak, the largest hepatitis C scare in U.S. history that has more than 40,000 scrambling to find out if they have the infectious disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that health care workers at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada routinely failed to practice basic standards of infection control.

In all about 400 cases of hepatitis C have been identified - 85 cases of hepatitis C likely resulted from the lacking standards at the Endoscopy Center and a sister clinic. Seven cases are directly linked, 78 individuals have no other risk factors for the infectious blood-borne hepatitis C other than their visit to the endoscopy clinic for a colonoscopy or other diagnostic procedure.

The others may have some complicating risk factors for hepatitis C such as injected-drug use or multiple partners.

Workers from the CDC were called in to observe the clinic in January after two people were diagnosed with hepatitis C. Generally no more than four cases are reported all year.

There the CDC observed several missteps that include: reusing a syringe if more medication was needed; workers routinely failing to wash their hands and wear gloves when administering medication; IV equipment was not properly cleaned; the disinfectant bath for cleaning colonoscopy equipment was reused; and vials were reused – that is just some of went on behind the doors of the centers, owned by Dr. Dipak Desai, who is now prevented from practicing medicine.

Backflow from the reused syringe could easily infect a vial of sedative, the report concludes and “this was considered the most likely mode of transmission”.

Dr. Desai reportedly routinely boasted he ran the most cost- effective clinic in the country according to health care workers.

The Las Vegas Sun reports that one nurse told a patient, when he complained he was going to sue for a bandage that came loose while at home, “You ought to sue us for a lot of other things that go on here…“You don’t know what goes on here. I hate my boss.”

The patient dismissed her as a disgruntled employee.

The clinics have been closed and Dr. Desai has been fined $500,000. He recently was stopped from exporting two of his personal vehicles, luxury Mercedes, out of the country and into Dubai.

But that is just the beginning of his troubles.

Patients are also being tested for blood-borne infections, HIV and Hepatitis B, though no cases have been found. More cases are expected among patients of the clinics and/ or their partners since these are contagious diseases.

Several class action lawsuits are underway and law enforcement both local and federal are investigating the clinic and Dr. Desai and his partner Dr. Eladio Carrera, for possible fraud connected to the clinic. Dr. Carrera has also had his medical license suspended.

There is no cure for hepatitis C which causes swelling of the liver, stomach pain, and jaundice. It may eventually lead to liver failure.

For consumers who do file a lawsuit, the state legislature passed emergency tort reform in Nevada in 2004 creating a cap of $350,000 for pain and suffering resulting from medical malpractice.

The largest hepatitis C outbreak occurred in Nebraska in 2001 where 99 patients were infected at an oncology center and at least one died.

Better surveillance, education and oversight is needed to prevent another hepatitis C outbreak in Nevada, according to a federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

Recently, New York hospitals began finding ways to greatly reduce hospital infections.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2010
Sun, 09-12-2010 - 5:58pm

"How about letting us in on the joke?"


Brother's wife went in 3 times to get checked out thinking she was pregnant. Diagnosis:

#1: Not pregnant

#2: Not pregnant

#3: Not pregnant + you're getting fat. You need to lose some weight.

They finally went to a civlian doctor. Surpise, pregnant. 6 months no less.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2010
Sun, 09-12-2010 - 6:10pm

"That is why the single payer is the key. Government does not need to "run" (administer) when we already have the paper pushers in place."

The whole notion of single payer is to save money by eliminating the 30% 'overhead' caused by insurance administration. That's how it 'saves' money, by firing those millions of paper pushers you mention.

Unfortunately single payer projections doen't include the increased unemployment costs to cover those millions of former paper pushers.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2010
Sun, 09-12-2010 - 6:10pm

...and if there hadn't been enough of the vaccine for everyone and people were dropping like flies with H1N1, the government would have been to blame for that, too.