Recently, a group of physicians wrote a letter to Columbia University asking that its celebrity doctor, Mehmet Oz, be removed from the faculty. The doctors cited Dr. Oz’s “egregious lack of integrity” and marketing of “quack treatments.”
I’ve written several posts blasting Dr. Oz and his slick promotion of “miracles”—most often pricey dietary supplements, for which there is little or no evidence that they work.
My favorite YouTube satire doc, ZDoggMD, put together this brilliant piece based on the TV show House of Cards. It’s called Dr. House of Cards and uses footage from the … Continue reading
I read a good post by an anesthesiologist: An informed patient is a safer patient
While anesthesia is safer than ever before, every patient scheduled for a procedure or surgery must have a serious conversation with their physician anesthesiologist about their anesthesia care plan. Advances in the science and research of anesthesiology have decreased the dangers of surgery and anesthesia substantially, but patients should be made aware of any risks associated with their procedure. Each of the more than 100 million operations and procedures performed on Americans every year involves the administration of anesthesia – but many people overlook its
… Continue reading
It’s another case in which the right hand of a behemoth government agency doesn’t know what the left hand is doing: In Cancer Wars, It’s Doctors vs. Hospitals
Colliding federal policies are fomenting a nasty money war that’s pitting community oncologists trying to treat patients in less expensive clinic settings against hospitals trying to woo patients in through costlier emergency departments.
The agencies under discussion are the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) [which both fall under the larger umbrella of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)], and their disparate … Continue reading
Crowdfunding, done through internet companies such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter, has been popular for some time. It’s a simple idea: You post your project or fundraising goal on their websites and hope enough people are interested to make a donation. You can also offer incentives to increase your donors’ generosity.
It seems the same concept has come to health care. I read about an interesting new internet start-up company called CrowdMed that, according to its mission statement, is:
Harnessing the wisdom of crowds to solve even the world’s most difficult medical cases quickly and accurately online.
Rather than seeking … Continue reading
I’ve mentioned in several posts that I think screening tests, especially mammograms, are used too widely in this country. Every woman over age 40? Every year? It’s overkill.
Even the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) only recommends a screening mammogram every other year between the ages of 50 and 75.
But most women still think the yearly mammogram is health care at its finest.
Related post: Screening mammograms—benefits vs harms
The British medical journal, Lancet, recently published a study that shows women who are better informed about the risks and benefits of screening mammograms are less likely to … Continue reading
More and more frequently I come across stories of patients who have inadvertently received care from “out-of-network” providers. And it can be a costly mistake.
When you are billed for the costs that your insurance company has denied, that’s called “balance billing.”
My insurance company doubles the deductible for out-of-network care; instead of $10,000, our deductible becomes $20,000. But insurance companies aren’t required by law to put a limit on a patient’s out-of-pocket spending when it comes to out-of-network care. In theory, you could get hit with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills even though you have insurance.… Continue reading
I love this YouTube clip of John Oliver, The Daily Show alum and now host of his own HBO show, Last Week Tonight, in which he takes a humorous but scornful look at how Big Pharma markets drugs to doctors.
In 2013, we spent close to $330 billion on prescription medications; 70% of Americans take at least one prescription drug. As John Oliver quips,
Walter White could have made a lot more money if he was cooking up rheumatoid arthritis drugs.
He also points out that 9 out of 10 pharmaceutical companies spend … Continue reading
Here’s a link to the PBS Frontline special Being Mortal, based on the book of the same name by the brilliant surgeon/author Atul Gawande.
The hour-long report shows Dr. Gawande talking with patients and colleagues about difficult end-of-life issues. Both doctors and patients have trouble managing their expectations about death and the process of dying. After all, doctors want to fix things and patients believe there is always “something more” that can be done.
But as Dr. Gawande says, “The two big unfixables are aging and dying. You can’t fix them.”
Overall, Being Mortal asks, “What matters to you … Continue reading
I was driving through Seattle the other day when a billboard caught my eye. The large multi-specialty clinic where I worked for many years, and which I still use for my primary care, was advertising something called a “12-month deferred deductible plan”.
Huh, I thought, and as soon as I got home I jumped on their website to find out more.
Acknowledging the problematic trend of high-deductible health insurance plans, the clinic created a program by which patients can extend their deductible payments over a 12-month period, rather than pay the entire amount at once.
Related post: High-deductibles … Continue reading
I’ve written before about the questionable health advice from such TV shows as Dr. Oz and The Doctors.
Now recent reports show that more TV docs, such as those that are “medical experts” for morning news shows or those that have their own TV shows, might be vulnerable to conflict of interest charges.
Using the feds’ new database, Open Payments, you can search doctors by name to see if they receive money or other perks from pharmaceutical or medical device companies.
A review of the database finds physician journalists—those who appear regularly on news shows like Fox
… Continue reading