Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Health Care Fairy Tales PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Dr. George Watson, D.O.   
Tuesday, 01 May 2012 13:46

Retired Dr. Bill Roy proved again why he is a former Congressman from Kansas in a recent op-ed “GOP Solutions for Health Care Are Fairy Tales”.

The correct statement is, “Both Democrat and Republican solutions for health care are fairy tales.” They are fairy tales, and they are all un-Constitutional.

As would-be reformers generally do, Roy tells an emotional story. His example is an 11-year-old girl in Tarzana, California, with a bill for $4,852 for an emergency room visit for a stomach ache.

Roy laments, “This young lady’s dad had lost his job at a movie studio. Desperate for some coverage, he chose to buy about all the health insurance he could afford, a $5,000 deductible policy.”

Then Roy reports, “But the doctor ordered all kinds of diagnostic blood work at all kinds of unrevealed prices.”

Roy says, “There’s plenty to learn about this experience.” He says, “We’re overcharged, over-diagnosed, and over-treated.” He adds, “The free market absolutely doesn’t work in medical care.” And he concludes, “Finally, we cannot run a system built on private, for-profit health insurers with billionaire CEOs.”

And then Roy asks, “How long are movement conservatives going to insist on rationing health care by costs, while thousands die?”

Let’s start with Roy’s absurd statement, “The free market absolutely doesn’t work in medical care.” The fact is, the free market has not had a chance to work in medical care, because of the crooked, nit-wit schemes of politicians that think the way Roy does. If the parents had taken the little girl to a private physician (one who contracts directly with the patient and has no insurance or government contracts), the bill could have been $45 for lab work, $400 for an abdominal CT scan, and $75 for the office visit—payable by cash, check, or credit, the same way people pay for their cell phones, car payments, and car insurance payments.

Dr. Roy is correct in stating that in medicine we do have “all kinds of unrevealed prices.” That’s because of hospitals contracting with insurance companies and government—as a result of previous legislation. For example, the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1946 exempts the business of insurance from anti-trust legislation. Lyndon Johnson’s fairy-tale Great Society legislation of 1965 poured trillions of dollars into “fighting poverty,” as through Medicaid, which also results in hospitals shifting costs to private patients like this little girl. Then there was Nixon’s HMO Act of 1974, requiring employers to offer plans that feature secret agreements with “providers.”

A simple solution would be to require insurance companies to list what they will pay for certain procedures. Then the hospitals and doctors can charge fair prices. If Roy thinks patients can’t make decisions for themselves, he probably thinks they can’t read the menu in a restaurant, or they can’t decide which of the latest cell phones they want or need.

Roy’s lament, “this young lady’s dad had lost his job (and insurance)” is another consequence of congressional malpractice, the fraudulently named Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). If the liars had written the law to do what the name implies, the girl’s father could still have had his insurance from employment, because he would have owned it, just like he owns his car and homeowner’s insurance.

Roy’s question, “How long are movement conservatives going to insist on rationing health care by costs, while thousands die?” betrays the fact that he has not read the fraudulently named Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), under which an appointed board would ration health care by costs (Quality Adjusted Remaining Years--QuARY). This Act has no patient protection, and everyone knows it is not affordable. The Congressional Budget Office now estimates that it will cost $1.76 trillion, and Sen. Jeff Sessions says he has found $17 trillion in long-term costs.

The real questions are, “Who should determine the prices—the free market, or government bureaucrats and their cronies?” and “Who should decide what care a patient should have—the patient and her family, or the PPACA rationing board?”

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http://www.aapsonline.org/

 
May is Lupus Awareness Month PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Lupus Foundation of America, Iowa Chapter   
Monday, 30 April 2012 10:49
The Lupus Foundation of America, Iowa Chapter Urges the Public to Band Together for Lupus Awareness This May

Educational programs and events taking place in the Iowa areas throughout May as part of Lupus Awareness Month activities

(Des Moines, Iowa) New research has shown that most Americans, 59 percent, know little or nothing about lupus and its devastating impact. This May for Lupus Awareness Month, the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA), Iowa Chapter is urging  residents of Iowa and across the nation to Band Together for Lupus Awareness™ to improve the understanding of lupus, an
unpredictable and sometimes fatal disease that affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans, and support those who suffer from this terrible disease.

“A lack of awareness of the disease contributes to many people dismissing early warning signs of lupus, which can have serious health risks,” said Susan B. Kroska/Iowa Chapter Executive Director. “We are asking everyone to get involved and Band Together for Lupus Awareness, so together we can offer hope and improve the quality of lives of Iowa residents living with lupus.”

“When I tell people I have lupus, they typically don’t know what it is. And if they do know what it is, they tell me that I don’t look sick,” said Marie McNamara from Windsor Heights, Iowa. “It is hard to explain that while I may look totally fine on the outside, that I can be in so much pain or so sick on the inside. Awareness is very important so our family and friends understand what we’re going through and how they can support us.”

This year, the LFA is asking the public to Put On Purple for lupus awareness by wearing purple and telling people why they are showing their support for all people affected by this disease. Put On Purple Day will take place on Friday, May 18, 2012.

Lupus Awareness Month activities, which include social media, online, and grassroots components, will empower individuals, organizations, and companies with a wide-ranging number of tools and resources so they can educate their communities about lupus. Tools range from fliers, to Web banner ads, to facts about lupus.

There are many ways the public can Band Together for Lupus Awareness such as:

  • Listen and share new podcasts with lupus experts.
  • Share their lupus story on Lupus Voices Across America at www.lupusvoices.org
  • Include an article about lupus in their company newsletter or on their Web site
  • Post fliers in their community or around their office.
  • Post a Web banner on their Web site linking to the LFA/Lupus Awareness Month activities
  • Distribute purple wristbands to friends (available for sale at www.shoplupus.org).
  • Participate in Put On Purple Day on Friday, May 18 -- encourage friends to wear purple
  • proudly on this day and tell people why.
  • Send their networks lupus facts throughout the month of May via their social media pages
  • Participate in the LFA’s mobile giving campaign -- on World Lupus Day on May 10th, tell
  • 10 people about lupus and ask them to give $10 to the LFA by texting LUPUS to 80888;
  • contributions will help the LFA raise awareness, expand education programs, and advance
  • research.

The public can learn more about lupus and ways they can get involved in improving awareness of lupus this May by visiting the LFA’s Web site at http://www.lupus.org/webmodules/webarticlesnet/templates/iowa_home.aspx Tools, free of charge, are available at www.lupus.org/awarenesskit.

About Lupus
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system is unbalanced, causing inflammation and tissue damage to virtually any organ in the body. Lupus can be unpredictable and potentially fatal, yet no satisfactory treatment or cure exists. An estimated 1.5 million Americans and at least five million people worldwide have a form of lupus. Its health effects include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, miscarriages, and organ failure.

About the Lupus Foundation of America Iowa Chapter
The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA), Iowa Chapter is a proud member of the LFA National Network, which is comprised of chapters, field offices, support groups, and community representatives. The LFA is the oldest and largest national nonprofit health organization dedicated to finding the causes of and a cure for lupus, and providing support, services, and hope to all people affected by lupus. The LFA and its National Network are focused on improving quality of life for people with lupus through programs of research, education, and advocacy.

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Minnesota Medicaid managed care, better program earnings reporting needed nationwide PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 30 April 2012 09:47

Grassley Continues Review of Minnesota Medicaid, Calls for Consistent Reporting

of Program Earnings at Medicaid Managed Care Plans Nationwide

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today said the state of Minnesota’s payment problems to managed care plans serving Medicaid beneficiaries, combined with inconsistent federal oversight of all state rate-setting in this area, call for consistent reporting standards across the board.

 

“Purchasers, in this case states, using transparent information about how their dollars are being spent, are best suited to make decisions about the value provided from managed care companies,” Grassley said.  “We have legitimate disagreements about many issues in Congress, but on this issue, there can be no disagreement.  We must have a better understanding of where $7 trillion will be spent by the Medicaid program over the next 10 years.”

 

Grassley’s comments came in testimony before a joint hearing of two subcommittees of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.  The hearing covered several aspects of payment concerns in Medicaid, including payments to managed care plans in Minnesota.  State officials in Minnesota accepted $30 million for the state from one of Minnesota’s contractor managed care plans and until this week, termed the payment a “donation” that did not require sharing with the federal government, which would be necessary under the state-federal Medicaid program.  This week, state officials agreed to give the federal government its share of the $30 million payment.

 

Information from the four managed care plans serving Medicaid beneficiaries in Minnesota showed that each plan listed excess revenues from Medicaid while showing losses on the state-only plans.  “This suggests the state might have overpaid managed care plans under Medicaid while underpaying the same plans to provide care for individuals covered with state-only dollars,” Grassley said.

 

Grassley said the federal government should make sure states are required to know the medical-loss ratio of every managed care company they contract with specific to the Medicaid beneficiaries they serve.

 

That medical-loss ratio should be clearly defined by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and consistently implemented across every state that uses managed care, and the medical-loss ratio should be based on independently audited, verifiable encounter data and expense data that make clear what administrative expenses are related to the provision of Medicaid benefits and what administrative expenses are not, Grassley said.

 

Also today, Grassley wrote to the Minnesota legislative auditor, asking for all correspondence between the auditor and the state government, including state legislators, on the UCare payment.  The state auditor has questioned the candor of state officials who apparently withheld from him – as well as from Grassley – a letter from the federal government questioning the UCare payment.

 

Grassley’s testimony before the House hearing is available here.  Grassley’s letter to the Minnesota legislative auditor is available here.

 

 

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Make a Fresh Start Playing by Your Rules PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 13:06
Expert Offers Tips for Living True to Yourself

What is the No. 1 regret of hospice patients in their dying days?

“They wished they would have lived life the way they wanted to, not the way others wanted them to,” says Kathie Truitt, author of The Hillbilly Debutante Café (www.hillbillydebutante.blogspot.com), quoting an article by former palliative care worker Bronnie Ware.

Truitt changed her life by necessity after a devastating series of events led to the loss of her home and career. Like many Americans who lost it all in the recent recession, Truitt decided to go about things differently the second time around.

“I got rid of the socialite sweater sets, the business suits and pumps, which were not me, and went to what is me – vintage dresses and cowboy boots,” she says. “I live in the Washington, D.C., area because I have too. But I don’t have to conform to how other people look, dress and behave here. I surround myself with the things I like; I have a country-style house, I drive a pickup, and, once a month, I take a ride out to one of the places featured in Southern Living magazine.”

You don’t have to have a lot of money to live a life truer to your spirit. Truitt offers some suggestions:

• Make location a state of mind. Does your heart yearn to be somewhere else? You’re in Kansas, but you long to live on the beach, or you’re in the city but you’re a country person, like Truitt. If you can’t follow your heart, bring that place to you. If you love all things Paris, for instance, decorate a room or your whole home Parisian style. Instead of going to the grocery store once a week, find a market and stop in every day for fresh food, the way the French do. Ride a bicycle; put a picture of the Eiffel Tower on your desk at work; eat lunch al fresco. Take a French class and maybe you’ll meet some like-minded friends.

• Turn your passion into a career. You don’t have to give up your day job to pursue a career doing what gratifies and satisfies you. If you love playing music, set aside time to practice and write songs. Pursue opportunities to play at local events; create video recordings and upload them to YouTube (it worked for Justin Bieber!); offer to perform at your place of worship. Whether you dream of writing a novel, designing jewelry or being a race car driver, working at it even part-time will help you feel fulfilled.

• Take the plunge and start your own business. In 2011, entrepreneurs started 543,000 new businesses each month, on average, among the highest startup rates in 16 years, according to the most recent Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity. With all the tax breaks and incentives being offered to small businesses now, it’s a good time to open that restaurant you always wanted, or launch that graphics design studio. You’ll never know until you try!

As for Truitt, she would love to be back home in El Dorado Springs, Mo. Since she can’t be there, she wrote a novel set in the small, southern town, which is struggling financially. She hopes to fan interest in tourists visiting the town to meet the business owners described in her book, and see the sights. To that end, she’s also organizing an Antique & Book Festival there on April 14, preceded by a Hillbilly Debutante ball – featuring vintage prom dresses and plaid tuxes – the night before.

“There are many ways to live your dreams,” Truitt says. “You’re limited only by your imagination. I don’t want to be that person looking back on my life and regretting that I lived it by someone else’s rules.”

About Kathie Truitt

Kathie Truitt is a former radio personality and speaker in the South, where she was crowned Mrs. Missouri America. She’s the author of False Victim, a memoir about the nightmare of events that forced her from her home. She sells vintage-style clothing, accessories and jewelry at www.hillbillydebutante.blogspot.com.

 
Annual Obesity Conference to Offer Continuing Education Credits for Certification Examination for Obesity Medicine Physicians (COMP) PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Jennifer Eisenhofer   
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 07:35

The Fourth Annual Continuing Education Conference will feature nationally recognized lecturers in the field of obesity treatment.

MOUNT LAUREL, NJ — The 2012 Certification Examination for Obesity Medicine Physicians (COMP) will be administered November 3-17, 2012. The examination will test basic knowledge, evaluation and assessment, management and practice issues related to pediatric and adult obesity.

In December 2011, the COMP Steering Committee, composed of 11 professional societies and the American Board of Bariatric Medicine, merged their respective individual exam content, clinical expertise and administrative resources to form the American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM). ABOM will administer the certification exam for obesity medicine physicians. The ABOM certification exam is a voluntary certification designed to elevate the professional standard of experience and expertise in the treatment of obesity and influence the future of this vital field. The certification serves as a mark of distinction for physicians treating overweight and obese patients, raising their standing among peers and the public (source: Obesity.org).

Prior to the exam, physicians must have a minimum of sixty (60) credit hours of continuing medical education (CME) recognized by the American Medical Association Physician Recognition Award (AMA PRA) Category 1 Credits on the topic of obesity; at least thirty (30) credit hours must be obtained by participation and attendance at a conference.

The 2012 Weight Conference, “The Science and Business of Weight Management for the New or Experienced Practitioner,” will help satisfy 11 CEUs of this requirement. And, during his discussion of Obesity Treatment in Primary Care, Dr. Robert F. Kushner, first chair of the American Board of Obesity Medicine, will be discussing the new certification.


Dr. Kushner joins other distinguished faculty, including, Judith S. Beck, PhD and Deborah Beck Busis, LSW; Thomas Wadden, PhD; John Baker, MD; John Hernried, MD; Susan Baker, MHA; and John Foreyt, MD, to help participants:

 

  • Gain an understanding of the role of obesity care in primary practices and how to establish an effective program
  • Learn effective counseling strategies for behavior change to help patients stay on your program longer, achieve successful weight loss results and maintain their goal weight
  • Explore the role of the Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) and meal replacements in the clinical management of all overweight individuals, including those with co-morbid conditions especially diabetics

The 4th Annual Continuing Education (CME/CEU) Conference, “The Science and Business of Weight Management for the New or Experienced Practitioner,” will focus on the operational and treatment skills, techniques, and strategies healthcare professionals need to successfully open a new weight loss facility or enhance a current weight management program.

For more information about the 4th Annual Continuing Education (CME/CEU) Conference, visit www.WeightConference.com, or call Jennifer Eisenhofer at 888.519.1192, ext. 3012.

 

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