Health Costs: In an unusual stance, a leading doctor’s group has issued ethical guidelines that include taking cost into account when recommending medical treatments for patients, Rob Stein reports for NPR’s Shots blog.
BioMed Jobs: A Texas biomedical research center that was supposed to create 5,000 jobs with a $50 million state grant has fallen far short of those goals, and the private company that received 70 percent of the money has pulled out of the project, Matthew Watkins reports for The Eagle.
Health Reform: What’s happening in health reform this year? Sarah Kliff of the Washington Post lays out some key dates for 2012.
Medicare: Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Reporting on Health - The Reporting on Health Daily Briefing*
The vast majority of U.S. physicians are moderately to severely stressed or burned out on an average day, with moderate to dramatic increases in the past three years, according to a survey.
Almost 87% of all respondents reported being moderately to severely stressed and/or burned out on an average day using a 10-point Likert scale, and 37.7% specifying severe stress and/or burnout.
Almost 63% of respondents said they were more stressed and/or burned out than three years ago, using a 5-point Likert scale, compared with just 37.1% who reported feeling the same level of stress. The largest number of respondents (34.3%) identified themselves as “much more stressed” than they were three years ago.
The survey of physicians conducted by Physician Wellness Services, a company specializing in employee assistance and intervention services, and Cejka Search, a recruitment firm, was conducted across the U.S., and across all specialties, in September 2011. Respondents Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at ACP Hospitalist*
Our ailing economy has boosted the number of people who are unemployed, without health insurance or with minimal coverage. The popularity of high deductible health plans is soaring as employers and individuals look for affordable insurance. Twenty-nine percent of bankruptcies are said to be caused by medical bills. Many of us now choose health care services and providers carefully, trying to stay within tight budgets.
The American people, long protected from the price of health care by insurance, are now forced to act as consumers. This situation is a free marketer’s dream. According to this model, we will rationally calculate the price/quality trade-offs of each doctor visit, procedure, test and drug. We will stop overusing services. We will demand better care. And the result will be reduced health care costs for the nation while the quality of care and the health of individuals will remain the same, if not improve.
There’s nothing like a good theory.
But the theory can only be tested if a) It’s easy to find publicly reported, relevant quality information about the services we need, matched with what we would pay out of pocket; and b) We use that information as the basis of our health care decisions. Neither of these conditions can be met today.
A new Cochrane review Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Prepared Patient Forum: What It Takes Blog*
All of us have been to fast food establishments. We go there because we are in a hurry and it’s cheap. We love the convenience. We expect that the quality of the cuisine will be several rungs lower than fine dining.
We now have a fast medicine option available to us. Across the country, there are over 1000 ‘minute-clinics’ that are being set up in pharmacies, supermarkets and other retail store chains. These clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners who have prescribing authority, under the loose oversight of a physician who is likely off sight. These nurses will see patients with simple medical issues and will adhere to strict guidelines so they will not treat beyond their medical knowledge. For example, if a man comes in clutching his chest and gasping, the nurse will know not to just give him some Rolaids and wish him well. At least, that’s the plan.
Primary care physicians are concerned over the metastases of ‘minute-clinics’ nationwide. Of course, they argue from a patient safety standpoint, but there are powerful parochial issues worrying physicians. They are losing business. They have a point that Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at MD Whistleblower*
This is depressing:
A 24-year-old Cincinnati father died from a tooth infection this week because he couldn’t afford his medication, offering a sobering reminder of the importance of oral health and the number of people without access to dental or health care.
According to NBC affiliate WLWT, Kyle Willis’ wisdom tooth started hurting two weeks ago. When dentists told him it needed to be pulled, he decided to forgo the procedure, because he was unemployed and had no health insurance.
When his face started swelling and his head began to ache, Willis went to the emergency room, where he received prescriptions for antibiotics and pain medications. Willis couldn’t afford both, so he chose the pain medications.
The tooth infection spread, causing his brain to swell. He died Tuesday.
It can’t be denied that his poor decision-making was the proximate cause of this guy’s death (and many times I’ve gotten the maddening call from the pharmacy, “Doctor, the patient only wants the narcotics”). The underlying cause, however, was the fact that he was uninsured. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Movin' Meat*