No matter the outcome of the presidential election this year, it’s likely that Americans will be spending more of their money on healthcare going forward. Dr. Davis Liu, a family physician at the Permanente Medical Group in California (and a contributor to this blog), has written a primer on how to get the most bang for your healthcare buck. The Thrifty Patient: Vital Insider Tips For Saving Money And Staying Healthy is a helpful little book for those smart enough to read it.
The first step to becoming a “thrifty patient” is to reduce your need for professional healthcare services. This lesson is perhaps the most important of all: lifestyle choices are the largest controllable determinant of how much healthcare you will consume. Daily exercise, healthy eating, and preventive care services (such as vaccines and screening tests) are the most effective ways to avoid expensive healthcare.
Dr. Liu offers tips for selecting a doctor, questioning the necessity of tests and procedures, choosing less expensive treatments, getting a second opinion, and learning to get the most out of a short doctor visit. He explains why annual check ups may not be necessary, and lists all the preventive health screening tests you’ll need (according to age) to maximize your chance of avoiding many major diseases or their expensive outcomes.
According to Liu, an excellent primary care physician (PCP) can be the best ally in avoiding unnecessary medical costs. Without a PCP’s guidance, 60% of patients select the wrong specialist for their symptoms or concerns. This can trigger a costly cascade of extra testing and referrals. Liu recommends trustworthy websites that can aid in disease management and patient education – suggesting that “Dr. Google” may not be so bad after all, armed with a correct diagnosis from a healthcare professional and links to credible sources of information.
Being thrifty isn’t necessarily “sexy” – but practical tips for avoiding unnecessary and expensive interactions with the healthcare system could add up to some pretty amazing savings (both financially and emotionally). Anyone who takes Dr. Liu’s advice to heart is likely to live longer and better – I just hope that the people who could benefit most from these tips find their way to this book. Perhaps you know someone who needs an early Christmas gift?
The Thrifty Patient can be purchased here on Amazon.com
Medical Marijuana: Advocates are pushing forward a California ballot initiative that would create a Board of Medical Marijuana Enforcement to oversee the state’s burgeoning industry, Lisa Leff reports for the Associated Press. We’re imagining the snacks at board meetings.
Health Reform: California Healthline’s Dan Diamond highlights five health reform issuesfor reporters and policymakers to watch closely in 2012. First among them: the Supreme Court review of health reform’s constitutionality.
Medicare: Scammers create intricate webs of Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Reporting on Health - The Reporting on Health Daily Briefing*
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced that it has taken action against eight California surgical centers and the marketing firm 1-800-GET-THIN LLC, for misleading advertising of the Lap-Band, an FDA-approved device used for weight loss in obese adults. The FDA issued Warning Letters to Bakersfield Surgery Institute Inc.; Beverly Hills Surgery Center; Palmdale Ambulatory Center; Valley Surgical Center; Top Surgeons LLC; Valencia Ambulatory Center LLC; Cosmopolitan Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery; San Diego Ambulatory Center LLC; and to 1-800-GET-THIN because Lap-Band is a restricted medical device that is misbranded as a result of misleading advertising by these groups. In the letters, the FDA warns that billboards and advertising inserts used by recipients of the Warning Letters to promote the Lap-Band procedure fail to provide required risk information, including warnings, precautions, possible side effects and contraindications. The FDA also is concerned that the font size of information related to risks on the advertising inserts is too small to be read by consumers.
We have blogged on 1-800-Get-Thin and Lap-band surgery in general before. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Truth in Cosmetic Surgery*
Well, what better time to post my interview with Erin at Tales of a School Zoned Nurse than now, when everyone’s headed back to the classroom?
Erin is a school nurse in the “cash strapped state of California.” Her position covers two elementary schools and a middle school – almost 2000 students!! She has been blogging since last year and her blog has definitely become one of my favorites.
She says she was never too set on working in a hospital. After nursing school, she worked at a couple of summer camps, which gave her the idea to look into being a school nurse. She was hired right away and “leapt in without a second thought.” She is starting her second year in this position.
Erin’s daily schedule is quite varied: Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at code blog - tales of a nurse*
Could breastfeeding kill a newborn? That is the question a California district attorney will ask a jury at the trial of a breastfeeding mother. Most women do not intend to harm their children but substance abuse and addiction comes with a heavy price. Such was the case of Maggie Jean Wortman, who has been charged with second degree murder after medical tests revealed that her newborn son died from methamphetamine intoxication obtained through her breast milk. Wortman’s 19-month-old daughter also tested positive for methamphetamine and was placed in protective custody. How could this happen?
The transfer of drugs from the mother’s blood to human milk depends on the chemical composition of the drug. Antibiotics such as penicillin will remain in the mother’s blood for long periods of time whereas certain types of blood pressure and heart medications will remain in the milk. During the first three days after birth, higher concentrations of medicine remain in breast milk. Wortman’s attorney is attempting to argue that methamphetamine in breast milk could not kill a baby but here’s why he’s wrong: Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway*