Hospital using liens to collect from patients

It seems mercenary and places both the hospital and patients in a difficult position. However, if the hospital can’t collect and the patient can’t afford the bills, who pays for the medical care?

What primary care needs now

A look at addressing the problems in primary care.

Lessons from the withdrawal of rofecoxib (Vioxx)

BMJ with their view.

Why did Chiron Flu Crisis Affect USA more than England?

Some observations:

Last August UK officials, with the same information the US officials had, decided something had to be done in case the Chiron supplies, 14% of UK supplies, went belly up. The US officials decided to believe Chiron and gamble 48% of their supplies on an assurance that everything would turn out fine despite some worrying set backs.

Read more…

NY Times: With Few Suppliers of Flu Shots, Shortage Was Long in Making

A detailed look at the flu vaccine shortage.

What to do if you are taken hostage

BMJ with some tips for physicians who want to work in dangerous areas. An interesting read.

On the antidepressant black-box warning

Dr. James Baker with a psychiatrist’s opinion on the black-box antidepressant warning by the FDA yesterday.

Where there’s smoke

Keeping a close eye on this: Pfizer Warns of Risks From Its Painkiller

Gaining attention

Almost a month ago, some Maryland physicians protested a 33 percent increase in malpractice premiums. It seems like they have brought about some action:

Maryland leaders raised hopes yesterday for a special session of the General Assembly next month that would focus on curbing insurance rate increases for doctors, but they acknowledged that key details — including how to pay for new initiatives — remain unresolved.

Don’t believe it

With the popularity of anti-bacterial soaps and cleansers, I have been asked – do they really work? No.

No sharing

Canada isn’t sharing their flu vaccine supply: “The stuff that’s sitting in my fridge isn’t for them.”


Waiting some four hours for the flu vaccine caused someone to collapse and die.

You can blame the lawyers for the flu vaccine shortage (via Medpundit):

Whether doctors are quitting the profession because of an out-of-control tort system, whether malpractice premiums are the cause of health care increases–such …

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The role of email consultations

BMJUSA with a comprehensive look at the role of email consultations (in two parts).

Drug importation

The NY Times writes a price on how drug importation from Canada isn’t a cure-all.

Do medical malpractice caps reduce medical mistakes?

A reader responds to the recent WSJ story on the effects of non-economic caps:

I have become a pediatric patient safety advocate, not by my own choosing. I have received several emails from grieving parents over the past few months asking me for advice. They can’t get answers why their child died – because of the archaic and accepted disclosure policies most hospitals insist upon – nor an attorney …

Read more…

Screening for osteoporosis

A report came out today focusing on the dangers of osteoporosis:

Americans of all ages must do more to protect their bones now to protect themselves from fractures and other related problems later in life, U.S. health officials warned on Thursday.

About 10 million Americans ages 50 and older already have the bone-weakening disease osteoporosis, and another 34 million risk developing it. By 2020, 14 million older adults …

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Differing malpractice views

Medscape with a nice article on the divergent malpractice views by the candidates:

Skyrocketing malpractice premiums have forced physicians to perform additional tests and procedures they might not need to, driving up federal costs by $28 billion a year, Bush told audiences attending debates in Tempe, Arizona, on Oct. 13 and in St. Louis, Missouri, on Oct. 8. Enacting tort reform with a $250,000 limit on payment for noneconomic damages …

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Music and medicine

It is thought that a connection between music and medicine exists – as evidenced by the prevalence of medical community orchestras. AMNews highlights the VA-National Medical Musical Group, while during residency, I used to play in the Longwood Symphony Orchestra.

The root of the problem

The NEJM gives the most accurate assessment on why health-care costs are increasing:

Over the long term, new medical technology has been the dominant driver of increases in health care costs and insurance premiums. “New technology” includes not only new diagnostic procedures and treatments that are more costly than older ones, but also some that cost less per unit but are more effective or cause less discomfort to patients …

Read more…

Bottom line

Amidst all the flash of the fad diets, comes a study that reminds us the key to losing weight: portion control.

Before the debate

As the final debate approaches, the focus on health care intensifies.

Bush is attacking Kerry’s health care proposals, while the Washington Post calls Bush’s ads not entirely accurate. The USA Today writes in an editorial that both candidates fail to grasp the crisis of the health care system.

Finally, Medpundit plans to liveblog the debate tonight.


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