Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday Tidbits

The LA Times's David Lazarus says disabled people would be hurt most by the Ryan plan.  Shifting Medicare to vouchers would cost the disabled and elderly more.  For the disabled, this is especially hard because they have chronic health care problems that require ongoing care, and Social Security disability may be their only source of income.

The health reform law invested heavily in finding and eliminating Medicare fraud.  This is so right -- cutting fraud and waste are the best ways to cut savings without in any way affecting patient care.

Do you know how to choose a health plan?  Neither do most employees.  Come open enrollment time and they're confused and don't know how to make decisions.   Too bad this article doesn't have a sidebar that provides some guidance in choosing a plan.

Aetna's merger with Maryland-based Coventry reflects a change in the health insurance landscape, where bigger is better and money is to be made from privatization of Medicaid, Medicare and those poor enough to get government subsidies to buy insurance in an Exchange.

The US Preventive Services Task Force is poised to make HIV testing part of standard medical practice.  This is the body that, under health reform, decides what services should be provided for free (no deductibles, copays, coinsurance).  Why shouldn't HIV testing be standard?

Hospitals rate insurers as payers -- Wellpoint (Anthem) is their least favorite, whereas Cigna is their top choice.  Interesting to see how the consumer experience compares to that of hospitals.

More evidence of a rise in tuberculosis -- this time, in California, where there's a specialized ward to treat tuberculosis patients.

An interesting case against an ER doctor in California who used very aggressive collection efforts to try to get paid.  When she didn't like what the insurance company paid, she returned the payment and sued the patients, including attempting to take their homes.  California law requires doctors to accept managed care payments as payment in full for ER visits, but this doctor claims that the patients she's going after didn't have true emergencies.  Now, the state is suing the doctor, who has been ordered to stop these collection tactics.

Nearly half of all doctors report symptoms of burnout.  You know, I have to say that it seems to me that nearly half of all people report symptoms of burnout.  Not to take anything away from doctors, but I think we all struggle with this.  I know I do.

Planned Parenthood is dedicating $3 million to a breast health initiative.  About $1 million will go towards better diagnostic equipment, and the rest will go to outreach in underserved populations.

So you have life-saving heart surgery as a child.  Now you're an adult, and the fix is breaking down.  Another surgery?   What were thought to be cures don't last a lifetime.  And the doctors who really understand congenital heart problems are pediatricians - so where do these adult patients belong?  As medicine helps us keep people living longer, we face these sorts of quandries.

How well you sleep may hinge on your race?  Really?  Apparently.  Non-Latino whites tend to sleep best, with African-Americans sleeping worst.  Hmmm. 

Vitamin D may help ward off the common cold.  I take loads of prescription-strength vitamin D -- my gastroenterologist believes it helps IBD and it's helped me tremendously. 

And that''s today's news.  Have a great day!  Jennifer

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