Amateur Astronomer Snaps Historic Photo Of Another Galaxy | Fox News

This is the power of a technological revolution.

A New Zealand man was Monday being hailed as the first amateur photographer to capture an image of another solar system, after he photographed the star Beta Pictoris using a 10-inch 25cm telescope at his home in Auckland.Rolf Olsen, who moved to New Zealand in 2003 from Denmark, put the photograph on his website, sparking congratulations and amazement from members of the scientific community around the world.”I realized it was a special thing but I didn’t realize it would generate such a stir,” Olsen, who lives in Titirangi west of central Auckland, told news website stuff.co.nz.

via Amateur Astronomer Snaps Historic Photo Of Another Galaxy | Fox News.

via @SteveMartinToGo on Twitter. Yes, Steve Martin is a) on Twitter and b) apparently at least links Fox News.
[Read more…]

Exposing the Cost of Health Care – Technology Review

I really like this idea, but …  well, see after the quote.

It’s easy to compare prices on cameras, vacations, and homes. But in the United States, patients fly blind when paying for health care. People typically don’t find out how much any given medical procedure costs until well after they receive treatment, be it a blood draw or major surgery.

This lack of transparency has contributed to huge disparities in the cost of procedures. According to Castlight Health, a startup based in San Francisco, a colonoscopy costs anywhere from $563 to $3,967 within a single zip code. EKGs can range from $27 to $143, while the price for a set of three spinal x-rays varies from as little as $38 to as high as $162.

When someone else is picking up the tab, mystery pricing is not much of a problem. But these days, even the 59.5 million Americans who get health benefits through large self-insured employers are increasingly expected to pay a percentage of the costs for their medical care.

Castlight aims to do as its name suggests: cast light on the actual costs of medical care, so that people can make informed decisions…

via Exposing the Cost of Health Care – Technology Review.

Finally! Some price transparency! Huzzah! I WANT people to recognize that spending money when there’s no clue to the charge (not cost, charge) is directly responsible for a ton of the runaway cost in medicine.

This is better then nothing. It is, and while I don’t begrudge people making money on their great idea, is this the best model?

The company sells its tool to self-insured employers, who pay a fee per covered member per month, and in turn offer employees access so they can become more responsible users of their benefits. It has raised $81 million in venture funding to date. Current customers include Safeway and Life Technologies, a leading maker of genomics tools.

“Castlight is further along than anybody else in helping big employers show their employees that the individual decisions they make on health care actually do have a cost that affects benefits and wages,” says Matthew Holt, co-chairman of Health 2.0, a health-care consultancy firm.

Okay, better than nothing, and a start in the right direction. Good for them.

 

Thanks Emergency Nurses

via J&J



You Rock. Dunno if you know that…

Mayo Clinic drops Medicare- in 2010

Update: this happened 2 years ago. So, I wrote this thinking it was a new development, but it isn’t. Anyone know how this experiment has played out?

 

I’ve wondered for years if hospital organizations (and big organized clinics) had done the math on whether they could do without Medicare, and apparently Mayo has. More after the quote

President Obama last year praised the Mayo Clinic as a “classic example” of how a health-care provider can offer “better outcomes” at lower cost. Then what should Americans think about the famous Minnesota medical center’s decision to take fewer Medicare patients?

Specifically, Mayo said last week it will no longer accept Medicare patients at one of its primary care clinics in Arizona. Mayo said the decision is part of a two-year pilot program to determine if it should also drop Medicare patients at other facilities in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota, which serve more than 500,000 seniors.

Mayo says it lost $840 million last year treating Medicare patients, the result of the program’s low reimbursement rates. Its hospital and four clinics in Arizona—including the Glendale facility—lost $120 million. Providers like Mayo swallow some of these Medicare losses, while also shifting the cost by charging more to private patients and insurers.

via Medicare and the Mayo Clinic – WSJ.com.

First thought: the docs at the Mayo Clinic must have gotten some amazing assurances from the clinic to drop Medicare for 2 years. (If a physician opts out of accepting medicare, and it’s an all or nothing proposition, and under current law they cannot get their medicare billing back for 2 years. No doubt this was done to keep docs from using their opt-out as political leverage, and then get it restored when payments went the way they wanted).

Second thought: Mayo just became a Concierge Clinic. Interesting.

Third: I’m very interested in knowing what administrative advantages would follow dropping Medicare. EMTALA would no longer apply, but this is a clinic, not a hospital/ED, so I’m not sure that would affect them much. (I may misunderstand the role and capabilities of this Arizona Mayo Clinic, so let me know if I’m wrong here).

There are always strings attached with taking Uncle’s money, and they don’t lessen over time, they compound. I think HIPAA is linked to Medicare, too, so that gigantic unfunded mandate could stop.

Interesting…

Never underestimate the stupidity of smart people in large groups

EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration

EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.

Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.

via EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration – Telegraph.

To their credit, even Europeans aren’t buying this gibberish.

Charles Prize: Winners of the 2011 Charles Prize for Poetry

It is with great pleasure that I announce the winners of this year’s poetry contest.

via Charles Prize: Winners of the 2011 Charles Prize for Poetry.

I’m a little slow on this one, so go and see who won the Limerick contest.

Idiot quote of the Year

You cannot make this up.

While police and medics were clearing up that disaster, 27-year-old Matthew Mitchell attempted to navigate his Chevy Impala through the swirling sea of flashing lights of the fleet of police cruisers and ambulances on the scene. Unfortunately, he plowed into the life-flight chopper’s tail fin. (Damages to the chopper were minor and it was apparently able to whisk an injured woman to a local hospital.)

A DPS trooper on the scene quoted Mitchell thusly:

“Why was the helicopter flying so low?”

via East Texas DWI Mayhem Kills One, Injures Three, Damages MedEvac Chopper, Spawns Stupid Quote of Year – Houston News – Hair Balls.

Condolences to the family of the deceased.

via @Skepticscalpel on twitter.

Truman CO dies after collapsing – Navy News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq – Navy Times

Carrier Command. On the path to Stars. Died at age 49.

The Navy has confirmed the death of the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman’s skipper.Capt. Tushar R. Tembe died suddenly at a Portsmouth, Va., hospital Tuesday morning after collapsing as he was leaving the ship, moored at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth.Tembe, 49, was debarking at roughly 10 a.m. when he fell, according to Naval Air Force Atlantic. The carrier’s medical team provided immediate medical assistance. Tembe was then transported to Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center in Portsmouth, where he was pronounced dead, AIRLANT said.

via Truman CO dies after collapsing – Navy News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq – Navy Times.

Condolences to Captain Tembe’s family.

We Are All Criminals Now : PANDA BEAR, MD

Panda has resurfaced.

This is not a Panda that eats bamboo, but from all appearances feasts on spleens. Angry ones.

In fact, I was once texting while standing at the nursing station and some supervisor of something-or-another told me that cell-phones were not allowed and then looked on in helpless fury as I laughed and took his pictures to text to my friend. This is a good way to make enemies and I’m sure I’m going to be the first one up against the wall when “Papa Doc” Press Gainey is installed as out Great Leader and Ruler for Life but I did not come through the irritating hell of medical school and residency to be scolded by a bureaucrat like some wayward candy striper.

via We Are All Criminals Now : PANDA BEAR, MD.

I wish I wrote that well.

Happy Veterans Day

We still have a lot of troops in the field, many in direct combat with our enemies. Thanks to all our veterans.

November 11, or what has come to be known as Veterans Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor Armistice Day – the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918. In legislature that was passed in 1938, November 11 was “dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day.’

via Veterans Day | Military.com.

Happy Birthday, Marines!

I post this every year, and I still enjoy it…
original poster from: stores.ebay.com/WONDERFULART

The Crime is always worse than the coverup

“The coverup is always worse than the crime” assumes no coverups work, which is unlikely. It does increase the penalty: nobody likes a liar.

Apropos of nothing whatsoever.

The ED of the Future

Let’s say, hypothetically, you could design the ED of the Future. I say hypothetically as there may be a new (like New) ED in my future. Maybe; it sounds like a heck of a challenge. Considering we’re a Trauma Center and currently see nearly 100K/year in volume, and have an admission rate that’s between 18-35%,

What would that new ED look like, from the following viewpoints :

  • the patient
  • the triage nurse (is there one?)
  • the treating nurse
  • the ED doc
  • the consultant
  • the hospital admissions team (billing)
  • the OR
  • the Tele units
  • the Floor units
  • ED discharge areas
  • physical plant

I have a few ideas, but am frankly hamstrung by a lack of ‘out there’ imagination. Let’s hope you’re not similarly limited. Don’t feel like you need to answer all of these, but I’m interested in your ‘out of the box’ ideas…which you’ll get full (if ephemeral) credit for.

[AP] Doctor in nurse retaliation surrenders license | arafiles, retaliation, roberts – Odessa American Online

Update: 2 months in jail, then probation.

TO recap: Sheriff Roberts and County Attorney Tidwell got jail time for their role in this sordid misuse of power, and the doctor at the center of this mess now cannot practice medicine.

We’ll have to wait to see if he gets jail time from this.

[AP] Doctor in nurse retaliation surrenders license

November 04, 2011 4:19 PM

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

AUSTIN A doctor accused of retaliating against two whistle-blowing West Texas nurses has agreed to surrender his medical license.

Dr. Rolando G. Arafiles signed an agreed order with the Texas Medical Board Friday stating he will stop practicing medicine.

via [AP] Doctor in nurse retaliation surrenders license | arafiles, retaliation, roberts – Odessa American Online.

Unfortunately, it’s still not over. Arafiles is still under indictment for aggravated perjury in Andrews County for his statements in the Nurse trial.

None of this restores the careers of the two nurses who were the victims of this.