healthcare

Several years after the ACA ("Obamacare") passed, healthcare costs continue to rise in America. The question of why -- and, perhaps more importantly, how much of these costs should be covered by the government  -- continue to spark intense political debate.

New research funded by the Gates Foundation and led by Joseph Dieleman of the University of Washington may shed some light on this issue. The researchers investigated global patterns of healthcare spending, and their results are published in The Lancet.

For their investigation, the team analyzed healthcare spending (which was adjusted for inflation and purchasing power) in 184 countries from 1995 to 2014. Then, they conducted regression analyses, with the general aim of making two broad determinations: (1)...

We have entered dangerous times in my beloved medical profession. Non-doctor health professionals, backed by powerful lobbies, are increasingly interested in the easing of certain practice restrictions. New titles like “clinician” or “advanced practitioner” or “provider” are masking a stark reality - people will be able to practice medicine without ever having to attend medical school, perform rigorous residencies or be comprehensively and extensively trained as physicians.

This is not to diminish the powerful benefits of nurses. Far from it. But nurses are not doctors and the people most likely to get medical treatment from people who are not doctors are among the poorest that health care reform was supposed to improve. We shouldn't cave into it. From an ethics perspective...

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) just published distressing accounts of three patients who endured irreparable damage to their vision after seeking treatment at the same unnamed “stem cell” clinic in Broward, Florida.

Shortly, we will address where things went very, very wrong and how such situations can be avoided. But, first, let’s discuss what happened.

The women aged 72-88 years old suffered blindness to near blindness as a direct result of untested “stem cell” therapies being injected into their eyes while being fleeced $5000 for the procedures. Promised “revolutionary” therapy, they were left with catastrophic reminders of the unfortunate and unnecessary ordeal.

Each patient had age-...

For the first time, President Trump is giving a speech to a joint session of Congress*. Since the President has a habit of keeping us all guessing, here is a wish-list of things we would like to hear Mr. Trump talk about.

Healthcare reform. The Affordable Care Act had good intentions. It is obviously within society's best interest to have as many people covered by health insurance as possible. However, the ACA is flawed. Medical costs keep rising. CNN Money reported in September 2016 that "[p]rices for medicine, doctor appointments and health insurance rose the most last month since 1984." Our award-winning resident pediatrician, Dr. Jamie Wells,...

Three separate bills have been introduced (2 in the House, 1 in the Senate) to drive a stake into a vampire like Board, which has no members, little funding and bipartisan support for its demise – the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). [1] Created as part of the Affordable Care Act, you know it as ObamaCare, it is a cost-control mechanism designed to maintain per beneficiary costs of Medicare within certain guidelines. IPAB’s Renfrow, the person giving the undead Board life is Paul Spitalnic, the actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) who believes that Medicare costs will exceed the statuary limits in 2017 and require awakening the IPAB. 

Like other vampires, there are restraints on its powers. Specifically, it cannot reduce benefits and cannot...

Atul Gawande popularized the concept of medical ‘hot spotting” - originally, hot spotting was the practice of focusing on known crime areas and it became vital for reducing crime in New York City - to health matters in a 2011 article in the New Yorker. Medical hot spotting was using data to identify patterns (models) to identify which groups can be targeted for further intervention pr even prevention. Ben Green, et al., in this week’s JAMA Internal Medicine, extend hot spotting in a new direction, to rampant gun violence in Chicago, so I am wading...

 

Official Health Report for SANTA CLAUS

 

 

 

 

CLAUS, SANTA

One St. Nicholas Icy Drive

North Pole, Arctic

Date of Birth (DOB):  Immortal

Medical Record #:  12-24-0000

This letter reflects the official summary of SANTA CLAUS’ (aka St. Nick) recent health visit to determine medical fitness to serve as himself on Christmas Eve in a global capacity.  As the Director of Medicine and a Board-Certified physician at the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), I can...

Are you shocked by this news?  Me, not so much.  But, hats off to the Harvard research team and their new approach to tackling gender inequality in medicine by getting back to the basics:  Let the evidence speak for itself.  And, it does (to a certain extent).

Since all most people care about is who lives and dies or patient outcomes, why not study if the physician’s gender plays a critical role in the all-important realm of survival?

Ok, so for full disclosure, this article brings me joy.  For so many reasons.  On so many levels.  Mainly, for the chuckle and laughter I already have enjoyed in response to some reactionary, knee-jerk posts on social media and in person that range from dismissing the publication as another feminist attack that would never be granted in the...

A study by the UK National Cardiac Arrest Audit (NCAA) echoes previous global data that hospital survival is reduced for those admitted on weekends and at night. (1) 

Specifically, it concludes “IHCAs (in-hospital cardiac arrest) attended by the hospital-based resuscitation team during nights and weekends have substantially worse outcomes than during weekday daytimes.  Organizational or care differences at night and weekends, rather than patient case mix, appear to be responsible.”  

Translation:  The skeleton crew available during these shifts is being stretched thin and cardiovascular and alternative monitoring or lack thereof is inconsistent dependent upon location within a facility and between institutions.  Witnessed versus unwitnessed events are directly related to...

If the photo attached to this article does not make you smile, then I question whether you have a soul.  The act alone contributes to such known positive health benefits.  So, take a little look inside and find your joy - whether it is with animals or an activity.  Your world and the one around you will be enhanced.

We always hear that pediatric and veterinary medicine are similar, but is this true?  I often thought there were commonalities, but after becoming a pet parent and experiencing the other side I am certain.  Let’s journey through the lessons I have learned.

I always wanted an English Bulldog.  They made me laugh.  I crossed the street and was perpetually diverted whenever I encountered one.  But, the refrain was always ‘you are in medical school you won’t have...