Archives for 2011
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Doctors, you’ve worked for years to learn the skills of emergency medicine. You’ve struggled and learned. You have stayed awake at all hours, caring for the sick, the injured, the ridiculous and the demanding. You may be finishing residency or out in the work world. Wherever you are, I have something to ask you.
Are you tired of leftist academic nonsense? Are you weary of being told you should ‘just give a little more’ to people who take from you all the time? Are you sick of administration keeping you continually under its thumb while you feel entirely powerless?
(No, I got no remuneration for this post).
And, it’s not a tiny company with very limited resources, either…
He can’t talk to us because Apple fires employees who talk with the press without permission, but also because the company must walk a fine line in the medical arena. Right now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seems set on regulating the software that runs on the iPad, not the device itself, but if the FDA were to decide that Apple is marketing the iPad for regulated medical uses, it could unleash a regulatory nightmare on the company.
Apple has to carefully watch what it says when it talks about the iPad in medicine, says Bradley Thompson, a partner with the law firm Epstein Becker Green and an expert on FDA regulations. As long as they promote it as a general-use computing device, Apple should be fine. But “if they were promoting it for specific medical device uses,” he says, “they would cross a line.”
For those who wonder why many of us are against the regulate-everything environment…
I think I just found what I want for Christmas…
Welcome to The Journal of Irreproducible Results
In six funny issues a year, JIR offers spoofs, parodies, whimsies, burlesques, lampoons, and satires. JIR appeals to scientists, doctors, science teachers, and word-lovers. JIR targets hypocrisy, arrogance, and ostentatious sesquipedalian circumlocution. We’re a friendly escape from the harsh and the hassle. JIR makes you feel good :-. Subscribe
I like it when science makes fun of itself.
Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow.
Nearly $2 million worth of vehicles were wrecked in a 14-car crash in Japan on Sunday. The pileup involved eight Ferraris, a Lamborghini, three Mercedes-Benzes and two Toyotas.
Worth your time.
It’s Not Like the Rest of Us, But It Should Be
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
To their credit, even Europeans aren’t buying this gibberish.
It is with great pleasure that I announce the winners of this year’s poetry contest.
I’m a little slow on this one, so go and see who won the Limerick contest.
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?”
Condolences to the family of the deceased.
via @Skepticscalpel on twitter.
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.
Condolences to Captain Tembe’s family.