Eliminating copays

Reverse cost-shifting. Some companies are eliminating copays on drugs:

Desperate for ways to curb soaring health-care costs, a groundswell of employers and health insurers are turning to a radically different approach: motivate patients to take not just the cheapest medicines, but the ones they need the most.

Over the past decade, health plans have sought to save money by shifting costs onto workers and encouraging them to …

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"Why do doctors treat anyone who practices malpractice law?"

More frustration boils over in this letter:

I can not think of a single colleague who enjoys practicing medicine due to the fear of litigation.

Lawyers are only too aware that they don’t need to be correct but to have just enough information to convince a jury of laypeople. Why is there rarely a case brought against a lawyer for a frivolous lawsuit? Why isn’t it automatic for the …

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Lawyers finished destroying medicine, move on to veterinarians

A poignant letter in the WSJ:

I worry about the unintended consequences of the actions to increase the potential compensation to the owners. One only has to look at the increased costs of medical care for humans that are a direct result of malpractice lawsuits to see that a similar situation could occur with vets. My dog has epilepsy and we spend a lot of time and money at the …

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Anesthesia awareness lawsuit

A patient committed suicide after being awake during his surgery:

The Baptist minister from Raleigh County, W.Va., killed himself in February 2006 ““- two weeks after he allegedly suffered the trauma of having surgery without anesthesia. The phenomenon of anesthesia awareness is associated with psychological conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

In a suit filed last month, Sizemore’s family say anestheliogist Dr. Bruce Cannon and nurse assistant Larry Rupe …

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Cataracts and Impressionist art

An interesting hypothesis:

In Marmor’s simulated versions of how the painters would most likely have seen their work, Degas’ later paintings of nude bathers become so blurry it’s difficult to see any of the artist’s brushstrokes. Monet’s later paintings of the lily pond and the Japanese bridge at Giverny, when adjusted to reflect the typical symptoms of cataracts, appear dark and muddied. The artist’s signature vibrant colors are muted, replaced …

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Cho Seung-Hui: A stereotypical mass-murderer?

Experts say yes:

“What motivates most mass murderers is the desire for revenge. They see themselves as victims. They see injustice around them and that they’ve been dealt a raw deal,” Fox said.

“They blame others for their own failures and feel that life is just not worth living. Before they take leave of this life, usually by their own hand, they need to get some satisfaction by taking …

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"My IBS caused me to shoplift"

She apparently couldn’t wait in line any longer:

A woman arrested for shoplifting has blamed the crime on irritable bowel syndrome, authorities said. Helen Gallo, 61, of Clearwater, was arrested Sunday after allegedly shoplifting from a Cape Coral grocery store, The Daily Breeze of Cape Coral reported.

Gallo reportedly told authorities that she could not wait in line because she has irritable bowel syndrome, according to the newspaper.

Michael Moore’s Sicko

One stunt is detailed in the NY Post. Get ready for some single-payer love in his upcoming film:

Filmmaker Michael Moore’s production company took ailing Ground Zero responders to Cuba in a stunt aimed at showing that the U.S. health-care system is inferior to Fidel Castro’s socialized medicine, according to several sources with knowledge of the trip . . .

. . . But the sick sojourn, …

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Defensive medicine

What is defensive medicine?

Defensive medicine is the deviation from sound medical practice to avoid the threat of malpractice litigation.

According to a 2005 study in JAMA, over 90 percent of physicians surveyed admitted to practicing defensive medicine. This can range from “positive” defensive medicine, like ordering unnecessary tests, referring to consultants, or performing unneeded procedures; to “negative” defensive medicine, like avoiding high-risk patients or procedures.

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Old-school doctors

Maurice Bernstein laments the loss of the physical exam:

The old doctors had less tests and more time and more attention to the patient. Whether they could do a better job in diagnosis and treatment of the disease than more modern medicine is doubtful. But one thing is clear, they had the time to do a better history and physical and their treatment of the whole patient might …

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Stents take a hit

From the ACC meetings, the results that were supposed to be released tomorrow were leaked early:

For patients with stable coronary artery disease, treatment with angioplasty and bare-metal stents does not reduce the risk of heart attack or a composite of death, heart attack and stroke.

Let’s see if this study will change medical practice or not. Stent supporters are on the defense:

The key quote about Courage …

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Minute Clinic in the airport

Targeting the busy traveler:

Conveniently located in Terminal C at Newark Liberty International Airport, Harmony Pharmacy will redefine America’s retail drugstore shopping experience. From dispensing prescriptions to offering access to an on-site nurse practitioner to providing an exceptional shopping experience, Harmony Pharmacy is bringing together the best aspects of a traditional European pharmacy coupled with a service focused staff to reach today’s busy traveler.

(via The Health Care Blog)

The doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient

A cliche that comes to life in this study:

Younger doctors were particularly likely to self-prescribe, with 49% doing so, according to the survey.

A quarter of the GPs said they were suffering from depression and more than half reported having trouble sleeping.

The GMC says doctors should not treat themselves and should be registered with an independent GP.

A trauma patient exceeds the weight limit for a Medflight

She had to be transported by ambulance, but she unfortunately died. The family is suing:

The EMS rule of not transporting patients who weigh more than an estimated 300 pounds is arbitrary and not required by any regulatory agency, Hanlon said.

“I was shocked when I learned of the 300-pound limit. It doesn’t make sense,” she said. “I can’t find any state or national standard for that (rule).”
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