It’s a shame that that so much of medicine has become “about the money.”

This has become particularly true in the area of concussion and traumatic brain injury. It is not just here in Stamford, but also in Fairfield County, throughout the state, and across the United States. In Fairfield County, hospital networks have gobbled up medical practices. Stamford Health System, Inc. is the behemoth that was once Stamford Hospital. Moreover, has affiliations with Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. Greenwich Hospital went on to monopolized Yale-New Haven; as was Bridgeport Hospital. Also, Norwalk Hospital became part of Western Connecticut Health Network along with Danbury and New Milford Hospitals. They all run concussion programs. Fancied as the go-to provider in Connecticut for rehabilitation following major trauma, so does Gaylord Hospital. All despite the fact that Gaylord refuses to permits its health care providers to cooperate with their patients’ attorneys in litigation.

Much of these marketed services are a major rip-off for patients whose injuries are legally actionable because of car accidents, falls, and other trauma. Because our law practice is Stamford based; we also have a satellite office in Fairfield; we see it most often with Stamford Health’s Concussion Center.

Did you know that physicians who are now employed by the aforementioned hospital- based networks have financial incentives to keep their referrals “in network?”
 Examples are Stamford Health, Yale Health, Western Connecticut Health, and Westmed based in Westchester CountyEven when there are better options of more qualified doctors in another network, many patients with concussion and traumatic brain injury receive referrals for additional services within the same network. Moreover, referrals are often made without consideration of the total services truly required for a patient. For example, Stamford Health’s Concussion Center does little for the patient and potentially compromises the rights of a patient who has a viable negligence claim. While not addressing the skills of any particular health care provider, the neuropsychologist who directs the concussion center has refused not only to meet with a patient’s attorney, but has also refused to cooperate with offering court testimony. That attitude is harmful to the patient.

 At Stamford Health’s Concussion Center, the routine has been to periodically acquire updated histories concerning symptoms, and to administer a routine ImPact® test.

 While ImPact testing has proven useful for monitoring the progress of some basic cognitive symptoms following concussion and comparing baseline functioning to post-head injury performance, particularly for student athletes, it really is not a full neuropsychological assessment, and it comes nowhere near the type of forensic neuropsychological assessment required in civil litigation. So how do patients benefit from monthly ImPact testing? If a patient remains symptomatic from post-concussion syndrome with headaches, problems concentrating, and memory issues, they really don’t benefit. How does Stamford Health System benefit? About $704.09 per monthly session – that’s how. Stamford Health System is not alone in overly complicating the outpatient treatment of concussion patients. Gaylord Hospital’s Center for Concussion Care has also been guilty of soaking patients and insurance companies with its abbreviated “Neurobehavioral Status Exam,” for which it has charged nearly $3,000.

 It is our judgment that concussion clinics operated by institutions or medical practices that have become big business are not better for patients.

 Patients benefit more from a good concussion physicians. Usually neurologists or physiatrists (physical medicine and rehabilitation); who can diagnose and refer their patients for appropriate interventions. Such interventions may include physical, vestibular, occupational, and/or speech therapy. As well as, comprehensive forensic neuropsychological assessment, and, as needed, advanced neuroimaging modalities.

Contact us or call (203) 325-8600 to discuss your case.

By Stewart M. Casper. Posted February 4, 2019