Not exactly a laser, but something very close - IPL, or intense pulsed light. The FDA granted approval for home use.

Many physicians threaten to "opt-out" of Medicare if reimbursement gets squeezed further. It may not be that easy:

I frequently get calls from providers frustrated by the payment procedures and reimbursement rates. Many of these providers request information regarding the Medicare Opt-Out procedure. However, while opting out of Medicare may seem like a quick and easy fix, properly opting out is a tedious process that requires the ...

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It seems that most of the overdoses are from people who took the medication without a prescription, or by not following instructions:

"One patch is supposed to last for three days, and she used all five patches from Thursday to Sunday," the man said. "She was in such pain, she probably didn't really know what she was supposed to do."
There's a reason why there are instructions on the bottle.

New prizes, and a new voting system. More at MedGadget.

More on the annual Medicare reimbursement circus:

Second, and even more troubling, is the last-minute, haphazard, blunt-instrument, let's-hurry-home-for-the-holidays, unthoughtful decision process. Instead of actually doing something about the underlying problems with Medicare, and the US health care system, Congress is just slapping a little more duct tape on the "problem".

Medicare hangs a pretty small carrot for P4P, as Dr. Wes explains:

The implication of this bribery for reporting is significant, since it establishes a measly 1.5% premium on "Pay for Performance" - hardly a robust incentive. For instance, for a 20-minute outpatient follow-up visit that averages a $54 dollar Medicare reimbursement, Medicare is willing to pay an additional $0.81 for us to submit data about the drugs we ...

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Well, they're no different from any other insurance company. (via a reader tip)

A 7-foot wall of feces

A man traps himself in his bedroom - using a wall of human waste. Bizarre.

After the torcetrapib disaster, Dr. Rost provides some insight behind the scenes:

Dr. LaMattina reports to Jeffrey Kindler, and Mr. Kindler has only four months experience as a drug company CEO and only five years of experience in the drug industry. And in those five years, Mr. Kindler never managed the business. He was in charge of the law department. In fact, Mr. Kindler has less experience in the ...

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That, as well as the cost.

Google Scrapbook?

John Grohol looks at Google's foray into the personal health record arena:

As with other Google services, the Google Scrapbook will allow individuals to organize and search their own personal health information in a manner that is secure, yet easy to use. Unlike Gmail, Google's Web-based email service, the Google Scrapbook is likely not to have advertising integrated within it. It's not clear how the service would enhance Google's ...

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Interesting study - I wonder who came up with this bizarre hypothesis?

People who have lower levels of self-esteem prefer crime and detective stories that confirm their suspicions in the end, while those with higher self-esteem enjoy a story that goes against expectations.

Some are capitalizing on the uninsured, a variation on the in-store urgent care clinics:

This year, a company called QuickHealth opened several clinics in Northern California "” some in pharmacies, one inside a Wal-Mart "” offering primary care on a pay-as-you-go, first-come-first-served basis seven days a week. For $39, a patient can have a 15-minute consultation with a licensed physician. A comprehensive physical is $59, while on-the-spot cholesterol tests, ...

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Wikipedia and medicine

Clinical Cases looks at some of the problems and controversies facing the The Medicine Portal at Wikipedia. My guess is that, like the other Wikipedia topics, it will sort itself out. Eventually.

Physician and hospital critics are starting to sprout in the blogosphere. Carol Kirschner and Dale Hunscher examine the damaging impact.

Beware single-payer

"In A Short Course in Brain Surgery, filmmaker Stuart Browning shows the callousness of 'single-payer', government-run health care systems as practiced in Ontario, Canada. His film highlights the plight of Lindsay McCreith, an Ontario man with a cancerous brain tumor who went to Buffalo, NY to receive the timely medical care that is rationed in his home country."

Required viewing.

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The range of ER activity widely ranges, depending on what part of the country you're in.

A Wal-Mart "optometrist" is caught impersonating his former partner. He got caught when he illegally parked in a handicap spot.

Ball-point pen in eye



(via Radiology Picture of the Day)

The yearly reimbursement circus continues. Again, physicians were lucky that Medicare cuts were held off for another year. It was getting dicey.

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