Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Morning Musings

Monday already, and too much work over the week-end. No rest for the weary, as they say. We might as well get to the news:

Some GOP governors are wary of a GOP proposal to convert Medicaid to block grants.
Block granting changes the financing, but doesn't give states the increased flexibility they are looking for. And maybe that's good, since there are states that want to limit certain benefits, like prescription drugs, which will just mean people will skip their meds and get sicker, and Medicaid will have to pay for the costs of the resulting health care.

A doctor in California is charged with murder for over-prescribing narcotics, tranquilizers. Now, before we say three cheers for nailing an irresponsible doctor, think about what this does to the availability of pain meds for patients with legitimate needs. If a doctor can be prosecuted for murder for prescribing drugs that are then used with alcohol or otherwise abused, that makes all doctors afraid of prescribing these drugs -- and that causes a problem for chronic pain patients. We need a real solution to this problem. Creative prosecution is not the answer.

Is consent really informed consent when you aren't told of all of your options? Interesting survey shows that patients aren't getting the information they need to participate in their health care decisions.

You go to an in network hospital, but the radiologist is out of network and you get a big bill. How could this happen? Happens all the time, especially if you go to an emergency room.
The hospital may be in-network but the ER, the ER doc, radiologist, etc. may not be. What's a patient to do? Other than asking each person who touches you whether they accept your insurance, there's not a whole lot the consumer can do. You can try to negotiate with the provider, see if they'll accept the in-network rate. But that's voluntary on their part, not something they have to agree to.

There was a glitch in the health reform law that would have allowed a bunch of middle-income earners to participate in Medicaid. That glitch was fixed -- and as a result, a bunch of those people will be eligible for subsidies instead, so in the proposed 2013 budget, the White House included this new cost. The GOP know darn well where this extra cost came from. Indeed, they voted for the "fix" that created it. But now they are blaming the increased cost on the President and on the health reform law, pretending they have no idea where this extra cost came from.

A new scan helps to see the damage of traumatic brain injury. Hopefully, this will lead to better treatment.

What will you do when you need help at home? Hard to admit -- even harder to find and pay for. (First of two pieces)

Hospitals shift treatment out of the bed. Health reform shifts payment to successfully resolving cases, not to the number of days a patient is in the hospital. This is a totally new way of doing business for hospitals, as they try to figure out a new business model.

Achieve your goals with willpower, which can be learned.

Bread is a big source of salt. Who knew?

Kentucky is considering a bill that would limit the sale of cold, allergy medication that contain an ingredient used to making methamphetamine.

The myth that you sleep less well as you age turns out to be false, according to a new study.

Where the gazillionaires work-out in Manhattan. I'd have thought a home gym and personal trainer, but apparently, that's not a universal preference.

And that's it for this slow news Monday. Have a great day. Jennifer

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