Start the conversation early
There’s an ongoing joke in health care circles that “Scientific studies continue to show that 100% of Americans eventually die.”
And yet, judging by the amount of money spent on medical care in the last 6 months of life, we make every effort to deny that eventuality.
It seems that no matter how much money you use during that last year/month, if the person is sick enough, the effort makes things worse. A lot of the money being spent is not only not helping, it is making that patient endure more bad experiences on a
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The high cost of insomnia
I read with some trepidation that the pharmaceutical giant Merck recently received FDA approval for a new sleeping pill, Belsomra (suvorexant). It will be available later this year or early in 2015.
2/20/15 Updated post: Belsomra – Use with caution
Great, I thought, what will another brain-altering drug cost us?
Financially, Belsomra is expected to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in its first year. That’s great for Merck, whose shares went up after the announcement. But not so great for the individuals, insurance companies and government agencies that will need to … Continue reading
Oops, they did it again
This week revealed another major data hack, this time targeting a huge health care group, Tennessee-based Community Health.
A cyberattack suspected to have originated in China stole Social Security numbers and other personal data for 4.5 million patients whose records were in Community Health Services Inc.’s system, the company said Monday.
The data breach included the names, addresses, birth dates, telephone numbers and Social Security numbers of patients who were referred for or received services from doctors affiliated with the hospital group in the last five years.
4.5 million patients! What a jackpot … Continue reading
Because it doesn’t help everyone
There is nothing I like more than cleaning clutter out of drawers, closets, shelves and…my medicine cabinet.
Over the last year, as I’ve been researching for my blog, I’ve eliminated multivitamins, calcium supplements, vitamin D supplements and niacin. Now it’s time to give that unopened bottle of baby aspirin the heave-ho.
My husband bought it a few of years ago on the advice of his physician. At that time, many doctors were recommending a daily baby or low-dose aspirin to patients that had some risk of heart attack or stroke, usually those … Continue reading
It’s not that contagious
For the last couple of weeks, the terrible outbreaks of the Ebola virus have been all over the news. Especially since two victims, American health care workers in Africa, were brought back to the US for treatment.
Headlines such as “CDC issues highest level alert amid Ebola outbreak” and “Ebola called ‘clear and present danger'” stir fear in Americans. But if you read the entire articles (and not everyone takes time to do that), you discover the danger is limited to certain countries in Western Africa.
Still, that hasn’t stopped Donald Trump from tweeting his … Continue reading
This is another guest post from Kristen Reineke of CancerInsurance.com. I’ve written before about the ruinously high cost of cancer care, and although Obamacare limits out-of-pocket spending, deductibles and cost-sharing can still be in the thousands of dollars. Also, many associated expenses are not covered by insurance at all, such as transportation. Kristen has provided a great resource list for you or any one you know facing cancer treatment. FN
Cancer Care Resources
As if hearing the words “you have cancer” wasn’t bad enough, you soon come to find out just how costly cancer treatment can be.
Many … Continue reading
Here comes the sun!
Summer is in full swing and the days are long and hot! It seemed like a good time to republish a post from last year about how to prevent and treat heat-related illnesses. Take care! FN
Living in the Pacific Northwest, we rarely have to worry about heat exhaustion—that lousy feeling you get when your body starts to overheat.
But over the next few days the temperatures here are expected to hover around 90°F, which is pretty hot for us. Most of our homes don’t have air condtioning. Why bother when it’s truly hot only one … Continue reading
I have many friends who are doctors and nurses, and we all moan among ourselves about the state of health care and how we hope we are never the patient. We know hospitals are chaotic, the staff is stressed, and electronic health records are only making patient care harder.
I read a blog post by another doctor, Val Jones, MD, who agreed. She blames the problem on “frequent turnover,” or the large number of mostly uncoordinated care providers weakly connected by glitchy computer systems.
If you (or a loved one) have been admitted to a hospital recently,
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Which is cheapest?
As I did my grocery shopping the other day, I ran into a large cardboard brochure holder at the end of one aisle. Literally ran into it. Why do store managers place these displays where they block cart traffic? Oh, right, to get our attention.
Well, it worked. But the bright purple brochures would have attracted my eye anyway. They touted the recent release of Nexium (“The Purple Pill”®) as an over-the-counter (OTC) medication; that is, you no longer need a prescription to buy it.
The brochure tells us that Nexium is the “#1 doctor prescribed acid … Continue reading
Less invasive but riskier?
In April, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety alert about the use of power morcellators in laparoscopic procedures to remove uterine fibroids (or the entire uterus).
A morcellator works by grinding or shredding tissue into small bits so that it can easily be “vacuumed” out through a very small incision. A laparoscope, a device with a tiny camera that allows the surgeon to “see” inside the abdomen, is also used.
Laparoscopic procedures are very popular for all kinds of abdominal surgeries not only because the incisions are much smaller, but because the patient … Continue reading