Tag: Healthcare

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When people are at their doctor’s office or in the hospital, often they let questions go unanswered because they feel the doctors and nurses are too busy or unwilling to talk to them. It may be something that the patient thinks will seem silly to the healthcare professional, or merely a concern that slipped their […]

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There has been chatter on the web about the Harvard faculty complaints about increased cost sharing in their 2015 health plan. Jon Gabriel posted about it here. Anyway, I thought it might be nice to compile the numbers I’ve seen tossed around into one place…just to get an overall picture of the changes. Here is […]

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A Connecticut Yankee in Big Brother’s Hospital

 

Last week, Tenet Healthcare — a Dallas-based, for-profit company — withdrew its bids for five struggling Connecticut hospitals. It had been trying to work with regulators for two years on just the first of the purchases. But regulators in Connecticut’s Office of Health Care Access (OHCA) insisted on imposing 47 conditions on the acquired hospitals’ operations. The conditions, backed by hospital employee unions, included a five-year ban on reductions in staffing or consolidating services. As the company explained in a statement, “The extensive list of proposed conditions to be imposed on the Waterbury Hospital transaction… has led us to conclude that the approach to regulatory oversight in Connecticut would not enable Tenet to operate the hospitals successfully for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

The deal’s collapse caught Democrats and regulators (and only Democrats and regulators) by surprise. “I expected people to talk,” said a forlorn (Democrat) Waterbury state legislator. Now, Waterbury Hospital faces the prospect of closure. The hospital has lost tens of millions of dollars each year recently, and projects similar losses for the foreseeable future. There is also a consensus that the hospital needs $50 million of capital improvements. “There is a point — and it’s very close — where there are no more options,” said the hospital’s CEO. Nearly 75% of the its patients rely on Medicare and Medicaid. Some state Democrats are now trying to spin the loss by saying the state has too many hospital beds anyway.

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VA Fires Phoenix Hospital Director

 

About five scandals ago, the Veterans Administration hospital in Phoenix was accused of allowing dozens of patients to die while awaiting medical care. Following this shocking revelation, several other VA hospitals around the nation were found to have falsified treatment data and waiting lists. As care for our sick heroes was deferred and denied, VA administrators gained large bonuses and sterling performance evaluations.

Sharon Helman, director of the Phoenix facility and career VA employee, was placed on administrative leave earlier six months ago. Today, finally, some slight justice was served —Helman was fired.

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The title is modified from a heading in an article published yesterday in the open access journal PLOS Pathogens: “War and Infectious Diseases: Challenges of the Syrian Civil War“ More

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Obamacare Architect Thinks We Should Die by 75

 

Ezekiel Emanuel, former White House Special Adviser on Obamacare and current Director of Clinical Bioethics at NIH, has decided the optimal age for death: Seventy-five.

Doubtless, death is a loss. It deprives us of experiences and milestones, of time spent with our spouse and children. In short, it deprives us of all the things we value.

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Can We Get Free Market Innovation in Healthcare?

 

nurse2Everyone knows how the dead hand of the FDA turns the development and delivery of new drugs into a multi-billion dollar process. And everyone knows about the liberal wish-list of compulsory coverage for health insurance products. But the extent to which regulation has progress-proofed the status quo is rarely appreciated. From ‘Certificates of Need’ — whereby investments in health facilities require the blessing of central-planning bureaucrats — to the socialization of insurance pools through ‘Community Rating,’ to forced coverage of pre-existing conditions, everything in the current system either unwittingly or deliberately resists innovation.

Where only giant organisations with vast compliance departments can meet the inhumanly complex requirements of ever-shifting regulation, where laws, upon regulations, upon rules bake-in the assumption that health insurance is the only means of delivering health outcomes, is real innovation possible? Where can the Ubers, AirBnBs or Googles of health possibly come from? Indeed, where can the sliced bread, resealable bags, or pop-tops of health come from? Where is the room for the thousand little improvements that can make life so astonishing for consumers, when the law assumes that the way things were done in 1964, 1972, or 1986 is the only way they can be done, and woe betide anyone who suggests otherwise?

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A Time to Offer Choice

 

The lie that works is the lie with at least a particle of truth.

This is the case with the outraged feminist response to the Hobby Lobby ruling. Conservatives were frozen in disbelief in 2012 as the “war on women” campaign swept in votes for Obama, and they are equally amazed now as the Democrats plan to make Hobby Lobby a campaign issue. How can it possibly work?

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‘Do It Yourself, White Boy!’ Life at the VA

 

Gil C / Shutterstock.comAnother lifetime ago, those five words were spoken to me in a VA hospital in New Orleans. Another typical civil service, morbidly obese nurse biding her time until retirement. The patient was a WW1 vet (who’d been gassed, etc.) and he needed to have his bladder catheterized. I wrote the order that was countersigned by a resident but it didn’t happen.

A few hours later I returned. I asked about it and was told,”Do it yourself, white boy!” So I did, although I fumbled my way through the procedure since his 90-year-old prostate was the size of Delaware. He’d been hurting for hours while this lady did her very minimal job as well as her nails.

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Healthcare Equality for All!

 

ambulanceJust over a week ago a beloved family member collapsed in the middle of the night, was rushed to the hospital in shock and underwent emergency surgery for internal bleeding. Sophie received a post-operative blood transfusion and spent two days in intensive care. Thanks to expert, timely and compassionate care, today she is back home and doing well.

Excellent emergency medical care is the norm in the United States, thank goodness. What stands out from my family’s recent hospital experience is the administrative side.

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Obamacare Is Not Health Insurance

 

Last week, President Obama exulted in the number of signups on the federal exchange and excoriated Republicans for continuing to oppose Obamacare. This is nothing new. What is new is the President’s accusation that Obamacare opposition is synonymous with opposition to health insurance.

In his remarks, Obama preached his sermon of health care redemption to a choir of exuberant members of Congress. He then built a crescendo of support through two pro-Obamacare letters into a fanfare of false outrage:

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