Health Care category archive
For the first time in San Jose and just the third time in the state, the California Dental Association operated a free dental clinic to anyone willing to wait, marshaling more than 1,700 volunteers — including 800 dentists, hygienists and lab assistants.
More than 2,000 people, many traveling by BART and bus from the East Bay and beyond, waited for hours on end. Some arrived as
Their swollen jaws, painful grimaces and reluctant smiles gave them away.
“I’ve been in line since 5 a.m., and I’m not leaving,” said Carrie Flores, 49, of San Jose, who was hoping a dentist inside the cavernous tent building behind the San Jose McEnery Convention Center would extract two or three of her back teeth and maybe save another. She’s been in so much pain she can’t sleep or eat any solid food.
Also, pigs, wings.
PoliticalProf offers a fable about how we establish the cost of health care.
It has a moral, but not morals.
My local rag has a long and fairly level-headed article about the security of your computerized health records and related identification information. A nugget, chosen to illustrate the level-headedness:
In 2009, the federal government started tracking breaches of personal health information more closely, requiring organizations to report those that posed a significant risk of harm. Now, breaches affecting 500 or more people are posted on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.
The number has dropped each year since 2010, said Chris Hourihan, principal research analyst at the Health Information Trust Alliance. However, it’s not yet clear whether that’s because security is improving or because organizations changed their conception of what constituted a significant risk of harm. Starting this year, all breaches are considered potentially harmful and must be reported unless proved otherwise.
Notice the lack of the “OMG we are all going to die!” that is typical of such reports, a lack of the hysteria that keeps Dick Destiny busy over at his place.
Follow the link, check it out.
It includes a list of things you, as opposed to healthcare providers (who must police their own stuff), can do to help protect yourself; most of them are fairly standard stuff that anyone who pays attention to computer security is already doing, such as
- Don’t open attachments from unknown emailers,
- Keep an eye on your credit card statement, bank accounts, and credit reports,
- Be cautious in deciding to enter information in forms at websites, and so on.
The only hint that I would question is the one to use a “virtual private network” (VPN) when connecting to the internet when away from home (for example, at a coffee shop or library with open wireless).
Since most persons likely don’t know what a VPN is, let alone how to set one up on the fly, I would have suggested “Don’t use open wifi for email or confidential business–just don’t–unless you can use a VPN.”
Robyn Blumner reflects on Time Magazine’s recent article on hospital costs (paywall). A nugget:
Brill’s excellent 25,000-word expose, “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us,” sheds light on this opaque world where even nonprofit hospitals, with their tax exemptions and do-gooder images, are profit-generating machines that mercilessly squeeze uninsured patients until they have no assets left.
In nonprofit hospitals where top executives often are paid lavish compensation of $1 million or more, Brill documents how patients are gouged, charged hundreds of dollars for X-rays and other services that Medicare would have reimbursed at little more than $20. In one typical case, a dose of life-saving cancer medicine, already expensive at $4,000, was marked up by the hospital to $13,700 — with no explanation given.
It’s the free market* at work.
Except that, in this case, it’s a seller’s market, so the magickal mystickal competition fairy need not apply.
An increasing number of employers are cutting health insurance for spouses. Thankfully, the numbers are still quite small, but the increasing numbers of spouses being dropped should be reason for concern.
Besides record corporate profits, the insurance companies have been doing quite well also — but this move suggests they want even higher profit margins, since spouses who are not working tend to use health insurance more.
The only thing “insurance” companies want to ensure is executives’ country club memberships.
In case you wondered why television is littered with ads for products you can’t buy without a doctor’s order, Barnum had the answer: There’s one born every minute.
The practice, which can contribute to higher health care costs, was found to be more likely among doctors who received free drug samples or free food from drug companies or who had financial relationships with drug companies.
A doctor began to wonder where his patients were getting their outlandish ideas about supplements and miracle cures.
He dared to look behind the curtain and found himself in a TV wonderland.
To understand where his patients were getting their health advice, Charlap began watching the program. “I was shocked that someone with his credentials — someone who apparently still operates on patients and therefore must still be fully cognizant of a physician’s first priority, which is to do no harm — would be recommending all types of different pills, many that had never undergone rigorous scientific scrutiny, as miracle cures or magic pills to a very susceptible audience.”
Much more at the link.
Your for-profit hospitals are at work, demonstating how competition lowers prices.
A nugget from a long story in the Charlotte Observer:
It’s true for services ranging from heart tests to routine office visits. And it’s part of a national shift that experts say is raising costs but not quality.
Hospitals are increasingly buying doctors’ practices, then sending bills for routine services that are significantly higher than those charged by independent doctors.
Just gotta pay for those country club memberships so the hospital administrators can get their exercise.
We need single payer.
Listen to this lady’s story.
From the website:
BETH ANN SWAN is dean and professor at the Jefferson School of Nursing at Thomas Jefferson University. With 30 years working as a nurse clinician, researcher, educator and administrator, it would seem likely that she would be more able than most to navigate our complicated health care system, but after her husband Eric suffered a serious brain stem stroke while on a trip to Chicago, Swan learned first hand how challenging it can be for patients who are still recovering to transition from hospital to home. Swan has written about their experiences in an article, “Narrative Matters”, published in the November 2012 issue of Health Affairs. She joins us in this hour of Radio Times to talk about how fragmented the health care system can be, what she learned from being a caregiver and the valuable role nursing can play in assuring the health and well-being of patients. We’ll also hear from MARY NAYLOR of the University of Pennsylvania who has developed an innovative model of care relying on advanced practice nurses to help people make the difficult transition from hospital to home.
Follow the link or listen below:
This is twice my salary for my first full-time job:
The underspending rebate checks mandated by the ACA are starting to arrive.
Wonder how many insurance company country-club memberships will go begging?
Aetna told Averback, a freelance writer in Huntingdon Valley, that it was sending her the money because of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. The law requires that insurers spend 80 percent of premium dollars on actual health care and quality improvement, not administration, or pay a rebate. (The threshold is 85 percent for plans with more than 50 people.)
In the Pennsylvania individual market, Aetna Life Insurance Co., which also sells health insurance, spent just 67.1 percent of the money collected from subscribers in 2011 on health care. Averback’s check was a rebate.
Once she realized that the check was real, she had another thought. “I guess that shows you how much they were ripping me off,” she said.
Papa John’s claims that providing health care for employees might cost as much at fourteen cents a pizza.
That’s too much for Colbert:
There has to be a line we do not cross. And it’s fourteen cents.
If we sit idly by while everyone gets access to doctors for fourteen cents a pizza, tomorrow it may be three cents a taco.
Hospital bill to rape victim for the post-rape examination.
Via Contradict Me.
death panel Republican state legislature at work:
The flaw in that logic is that taxpayers wind up picking up the tab anyway.
Republicanism, your choice for governance with a mean streak by persons with mean streaks on behalf of persons with mean streaks.