The New York Times article reported that quote from former Vice President Dick Cheney.
“Former Vice President Dick Cheney was so close to death in 2010 that he said farewell to his family members and instructed them to have his body cremated and the ashes returned to Wyoming, he writes in a new book on his long battle with heart disease.”
“Mr. Cheney ultimately survived the emergency surgery that night and went on to have a heart transplant at age 71 that has left him re-energized five years after leaving office. But for the first time, he describes a 35-year medical struggle that he kept generally private in vivid personal detail.”
The Newsday investigation: “Three Long Island doctors selected to lead a committee that recommends the drugs two Suffolk hospitals stock for patients accepted tens of thousands of dollars from pharmaceutical companies while serving on the advisory panel.”
“The doctors — affiliated with John T. Mather Memorial and St. Charles hospitals in Port Jefferson — accepted about $125,000 from drugmakers between 2009 and 2013, company records show.” They… ” received most of the payments for speeches promoting the companies’ drugs…”
Do drug company reps influence doctor prescribing practices?
A NPR article noted “Dermatologists who accept free tubes and bottles of brand-name drugs are likelier to prescribe expensive medications for acne than doctors who are prohibited from taking samples, a study reports…”
“The difference isn’t chump change. When patients see a dermatologist who gets and gives free samples, the average cost of medicines prescribed is $465 per office visit. That cost drops to about $200 when patients see a doctor who can’t hand out freebies, a team at Stanford University found.”
“Every year between 210,000 and 440,000 Americans die as a result of medical errors and other preventable harm at hospitals, according to researchers.”
These numbers are equivalent to a jumbo jet crashing every day with no survivors. Based on these figures, medical errors could be considered the third-leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease (more than 590,000 a year) and cancer (more than 570,000 a year).
It is always a good idea to talk to your primary care practitioner, the clinician who knows you best, about procedures suggested consulting physicians.
A Kaiser Health News article noted: “The medical profession has historically been reluctant to condemn unwarranted but often lucrative tests and treatments that can rack up costs to patients but not improve their health and can sometimes hurt them. But in 2012, medical specialty societies began publishing lists of at least five services that both doctors and patients should consider skeptically. So far, 54 specialty societies have each offered recommendations and distributed them to more than a half-million doctors.”
A Modern Healthcare article reported on a studies which defined misdiagnoses as “missed opportunities to make a timely or correct diagnosis based on the available evidence.”
“One of the studies used in the analysis, published in March 2013 in JAMA Internal Medicine, identified nearly 70 different conditions for which misdiagnoses occurred in the primary-care setting, like pneumonia, renal failure and urinary tract infections. The other two focused specifically on cancer, including a retrospective study published in BMJ that used electronic health-record data to detect potential delays in prostate and colon cancer diagnoses; and a 2010 study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, which evaluated whether EHRs could be good predictors of misdiagnoses in lung cancer.”
Have you ever discussed the cost of treatment options with your doctor? Probably not!
The New York Times article noted “The shift, little noticed outside the medical establishment but already controversial inside it, suggests that doctors are starting to redefine their roles, from being concerned exclusively about individual patients to exerting influence on how health care dollars are spent.”
“In practical terms, new guidelines being developed by the medical groups could result in doctors choosing one drug over another for cost reasons or even deciding that a particular treatment — at the end of life, for example — is too expensive. In the extreme, some critics have said that making treatment decisions based on cost is a form of rationing.”
“The term “Never Event” was first introduced in 2001 by Ken Kizer, MD, former CEO of the National Quality Forum (NQF), in reference to particularly shocking medical errors (such as wrong-site surgery) that should never occur. Over time, the list has been expanded to signify adverse events that are unambiguous (clearly identifiable and measurable), serious (resulting in death or significant disability), and usually preventable. The NQF initially defined 27 such events in 2002. The list has been revised since then, most recently in 2011, and now consists of 29 events grouped into 6 categories: surgical, product or device, patient protection, care management, environmental, radiologic, and criminal.”
The Medical Society of the State of New York has hired extra public relations help, signing a three-month agreement with an outside consultant in addition to its regular staff. At the top of its agenda is a pending bill (S5493/A7889) sponsored by state Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Utica, and Assemblyman Al Stirpe, D-Syracuse. The bill would make it clear to patients when their health care providers are physicians—not less-trained professionals. Known as the Healthcare Professional Transparency Act, the measure would require workers who come in contact with patients to wear an ID tag that specifies what kind of license he or she has. The bill would also cover medical advertising. “Ambiguous provider nomenclature, related advertisements and marketing and the myriad of individuals one encounters in each point of service exacerbate patient uncertainty,” the bill reads in part. According to MSSNY, an AMA survey found that 54% of patients believe optometrists are medical doctors, 35% believe a nurse with a Ph.D. is a physician, and 44% say they have trouble learning which of their caregivers are M.D.s.
Don’t assume that you can continue to see your doctor…
A City Journal article noted that “… having health insurance is not the same thing as getting good health care, or any health care. In fact, it doesn’t matter how many Americans obtain insurance under the ACA. Most will have difficulty finding a physician.”
“Those who do get coverage through the exchanges and pay their premiums will also struggle to get medical care. The ACA requires insurers to accept every patient regardless of risk, provide expansive benefits packages, and eliminate caps on lifetime benefits. Looking to control costs, most insurers are offering exchange plans that severely limit the number of doctors and hospitals patients can visit. Some state exchanges—including New York’s—don’t offer a single plan that covers visits to out-of-network doctors or hospitals.”