If you didn't get enough of former HealthSouth Corp. Chairman and CEO Richard Scrushy during his turbulent tenure, indictment on accounting fraud, lengthy trial and acquittal, you may be able to see more of him in a theater near you. Already, one movie deal has been inked and another could be in the works.
Gener8Xion Entertainment, an obscure movie label based in Los Angeles, has bought the rights to produce a Scrushy documentary that will focus on his life and trials, including the part that ended in him walking away free from the $2.6 billion accounting fraud that occurred at the company he founded. Terms of the deal weren't released.
Two of Scrushy's attorneys, Donald Watkins and Jim Parkman, also have had preliminary discussions about the other project, a movie that would show the lawyers' point of view during the trial, says Charlie Russell, a Scrushy spokesman.
A spokesman for Gener8Xion Entertainment says the Scrushy movie would fit into the label's model of producing family or faith-based movies. If the company's news release is any indication, the film will show how prayer influenced the verdict.
"I remember hearing about the grass-roots support rallies, courtroom prayer sessions and how the tide began to change," writes Matthew Crouch, chairman and chief executive officer of Gener8Xion. "Was Mr. Scrushy's faith genuine? Did prayer make a difference in the outcome of the trial? These interesting questions are the touch points for the greater debate on the legitimacy of the roles that faith and religion play in modern-day America."
It's unlikely Scrushy will play himself, but "you never know with Richard," Russell says.
Complications Part D
It's one thing to have an error in a newspaper or magazine, but imagine trying to retract an error with significant financial implications for millions of people. That's what the CMS is faced with.
Some 35 million handbooks describing the new Medicare Part D drug benefit have been mailed to beneficiaries. The booklet contains a significant error in stating that all of the plans available for those with limited assets and income-$14,355 for an individual or $19,245 for a couple-have no premium. In truth, only about 40% of such plans don't.
Gary Karr, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, says inadequate proofreading was behind the mistake. He says the agency will work with private-sector groups to help people get the correct information. The CMS will also instruct companies that are not approved to offer zero premiums on what they can tell potential enrollees.
The mistake may be minor in the grand scheme of things. A recent survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 29% of seniors said they did not understand the benefit at all and 31% said they did not understand it "too well."
There's good reason. Beneficiaries are about to get hit by a blizzard of offerings from more than two dozen plans in a given market. Some are stand-alone drug plans, others enable seniors to sign up for health plans offering both drugs and Part B coverage. Then there's the byzantine copayment structure: Less-expensive plans have a gap in coverage in which seniors first must meet a $250 deductible, then pay 25% of costs up to $2,250 per year, then 100% of costs from there up to $5,100, then 5% thereafter.
The time frame for sorting through the cornucopia of options is short. People can begin signing up for coverage on Nov. 15 for plans taking effect Jan. 1, 2006.
Hip-hop in the surgery suite? Patients feeling soothed by it? Outliers senses an oncoming generational change.
The Associated Press reports that Frank Gentile, the chairman of the anesthesiology department at Edward Hospital in Naperville, Ill., has a second job as the "DJ of the OR."
Each day he loads an eclectic range of CDs onto the anesthesia cart headed for the operating room. "I choose my music strategically. I know my surgeons' tastes," he says.
Those tastes range from opera to Sinatra and all the way to 50 Cent (rap) and Metallica (take a guess). Surgeons, he reports, like different types of music for different stages of surgery. Many prefer up-tempo beats for the final stage, and one doctor "always closes to J-Lo."
Many U.S. operating rooms have sound systems, so playing music during surgery has become commonplace. Some doctors say it eases tension; studies have shown it can also benefit patients, even reducing the need for anesthesia during surgery.
In many hospitals, the task of selecting OR music often falls to the anesthesiologist, and it's one many take seriously-for good reason. "Sometimes surgeons will say, `I won't work with that anesthesiologist because he's a fuddy-duddy and I don't like the kind of music he plays,' " says Doug Reinhart, an anesthesiologist in Ogden, Utah.
Gentile says the DJ task falls sort of naturally to anesthesiologists, given their role in the surgery suite. While their medical duties continue after a patient is asleep-including monitoring vital signs and administering intravenous fluids-anesthesiologists are often more free to walk over and change a CD.
Patients' tastes must be considered when surgery involves only a local anesthetic, Reinhart says. "We're not going to play rap when there's a 90-year-old lady in there-it would scare them to death."