Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Reblog] Rising Medicare Part D Drug Premiums & How to Compare Plans

From the 10 October 2013 article at As Our Parents Age

 

Check out this interactive plan finder.

Take a few minutes to read As Medicare Drug Premiums Soar It’s Time to Shop Around, another informative article about prescription drug plan open season.

[Flahiff’s note…
If you do not have ready access to a computer or find computers challenging, try these resources for assistance in comparing plans

    • Local Area Office on Aging (may have a slightly different name in your area)
      As a volunteer at our area office, this is our top priority during open enrollment…which ends December 7th
    • Local United Way for referral to agencies in your area (211 for most localities)
    • Local public library for referral to agencies in your area (ask for a  reference librarian)]

This October 2, 2012 Reuters article by Mark Miller goes into considerable detail about the rising premiums and explains what steps Medicare beneficiaries can take to shop around.

Best Quote from the Article: Premiums for many popular Medicare prescription drug plans will soar next year – but seniors don’t have to take the rate hikes lying down.

It goes hand-in-hand with the other article I reviewed in my September 30, 2012 blog post, Medicare Prescription Drug Plan: 2013 Info.

Medicare beneficiaries and their adult children can use these two articles, together with the Plan Finder at Medicare.gov. At the top right on  the page is a button that takes visitors to an online demonstration of the Plan Finder.

November 7, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Future of Veterinary Public Health

 

From the 24 October 2012 post at The Vector- A Student Blog on Veterinary Public Health

The Future of Veterinary Public Health will be

Challenging

Since 60-70% of all emerging diseases are zoonotic, there will be plenty of work to go around for veterinarians, physicians and allied health professionals!  Diseases that we should be particularly careful about are respiratory diseases with easy airborne transmission.  Recent examples of diseases that circulated in animals and then jumped species to humans and then easily spread among humans are SARS and some influenzas such as H1N1 (pigs are origin) & H5N1 (birds are a source)….

Progressive

Many professionals and pre-professionals in the field of veterinary public health see the future of the discipline becoming more expansive and comprehensive.  They predict that more veterinarians will turn to public health practice and that veterinary medicine will take a more prominent role in the field of public health.  Currently at Ohio State, an example of progress in bridging the gap between veterinary medicine and human medicine is Dr. Armando Hoet’s research, which adds to the knowledge base of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureas (MRSA) by demonstrating how animals and human-animal interactions can contribute to the spread of MRSA.

Intriguing

New terms like Zoobiquity (or Zoob for short) describing the One Health concept may feel awkward at first, but we’ll find our groove.  We just have to remind or teach ourselves and our colleagues that animals and humans have coexisted for thousands of years, sharing germs and interacting on equal and unequal terms.  We may look starkly different on the outside, but we have a shared biology and our medicines should reflect that similarity.

 

 

 

November 7, 2012 Posted by | environmental health | , , , | Leave a comment

More information does not equal better care

 Chalmette, LA, December 16, 2005 – A patient describes his symptoms with a nurse at the Primary Care Clinic in St. Bernard Parish. The facility located in a triple-wide office trailer offers free medical care to area residents, staffed by personnel from the U.S. Public Health Agency and FEMA Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT). Robert Kaufmann/FEMA

A wise, sobering post on the limits of medical/health related information.

Technology is increasingly used to collect and store personal health and medical data. While the amount of personal stored data is rising, this does not necessarily translate into better care. For example, the information stored in electronic medical records is only as good as the data entered.  Medical devices (as imaging and gene testing instruments) generate data that may or may not be useful depending on why they were ordered and how they results are interpreted.

The use of the data is also troublesome. As this post states, medical test results are often misused by the diagnostics industry in over testing.  This leads to unneeded treatments which divert money and resources.  Health care providers, especially those in primary care have less time to listen to and counsel patients.

The money spent on unnecessary treatments is a burden not only on individuals, but also health care facilities and government agencies. Health care facilities become caught in a spiral of justifying diagnostic equipment through marketing and at some point they will find it nearly impossible to recoup their investments. Medicare and Medicaid funds are not used wisely to diagnose and treat, resulting in ever more increased costs to the system.

As this post points out, health care providers would be wise to take a deep look at their role and be realistic about their expectations.
The same can be said about those who consult with health care providers.

From the 1 November 2012 article at KevinMD.com

I have found that this concept is hard for non-healthcare people to really grasp – that a less aggressive testing approach knowingly misses disease, but makes no difference in the overall prospects of the patient. It is crucial that the U.S. culture fights the prevailing scare tactics of the diagnostics industry, or we’ll never lower the rate of over testing. Any administrative tricks to lower testing rates will be subverted by both physicians and patients who assume more tests equal better care unless the underlying culture and conventional beliefs are changed.

The change required is deeper than administrative rules. It has to come from a more humble attitude on the part of doctors, patients, employers, and insurers that just because a patient could be labeled as having a disease, there is nothing to be gained by doing anything about it. More information does not equal better care.

Our American culture proclaims, “Just Do It.” To reclaim resources from the healthcare industry and return them to the general economy, we must proclaim, “Don’t just do something for the sake of doing something, stand there.”

 

Related Resources

November 7, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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