A report published last week detailed how much Medicare spends on prescription medications.
In 2013, Medicare spent $103 billion on drugs. (I’m guessing the total will be more in 2014 and 2015, when they get around to publishing that data.)
Federal officials said they hoped that disseminating the data would lead to new revelations about the prescribing patterns of doctors and for particular drugs.
Dan Mendelson, the CEO of
… read on
The last few weeks have been stressful for my family as my 93-year-old father suffered a heart attack, a stroke and other medical problems that led to a 2-week hospital stay (I’m amazed he survived that), a 10-day stay in a skilled nursing facility, and—just this weekend—a move into an adult family home.
He needs round-the-clock care that my 85-year-old arthritic mother can’t provide in their home.
In a few … read on
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 … read on
Lots of data, but not user friendly
Have you ever wondered if your physician receives a substantial amount of money from a pharmaceutical or medical device company?
Is your physician’s decision to write you a prescription for the newest brand-name drug, or replace your knee with a state-of-the-art joint, based on corporate influences? Conflicts of interest run rampant in health care, and it would be nice to know, wouldn’t … read on
When is a hospital admission not an admission?
Answer: When, for Medicare patients, it’s coded as “observation” status only.
Before the days of discharging patients ASAP (or not admitting them at all), doctors used to frequently admit patients “for observation.” It signified that a patient was not critically ill, but his or her condition warranted careful watching, i.e. observation.
Unfortunately for the last decade or so, that term has come … read on
Farewell to a beloved husband and father
Today I am in Idaho attending the memorial service of my father-in-law.
He passed away two weeks ago at the age of 85, after suffering for several years from declining health and increasing dementia. His wife of 59 years and all four of his children were at his bedside when he died.
Death is not pretty, but neither is childbirth. Both involve pain, … read on
It’s no surprise to anyone in the health care industry, but Medicare just released a report that shows the incredible variation of health care costs across the country.
Many patients are unaware of these price differences because, as I’ve posted about before, it’s nearly impossible for health care consumers to get information about the cost of a procedure before having the procedure done.
Coming so soon after Stephen Brill’s … read on
I mentioned in a previous post that three years ago my husband almost died from a series of medical, um, misjudgments, let’s say. I know sometimes things go wrong for no reason, but I also know his three-day ICU stay could have been prevented.
He never received a “mea culpa” from the doctors or hospital; all we got were the medical bills. Our insurance, a catastrophic/health savings account (HSA) … read on
During the presidential campaign last year, Paul Ryan, the vice-presidential candidate, presented his plan for what we all know is much-needed Medicare reform (too many baby boomers; too little money). Under his plan, seniors would choose a “Medicare certified” private health insurance plan and, depending on the senior’s income, a percentage of the premium would be subsidized.
His plan sounds a lot like the new health insurance exchanges that are … read on