Category Archives: Healthcare

Free market doesn’t work for health care – Re-post

Free market ideology doesn’t work for health care | Center for Public Integrity – June 8, 2015 – By Wendell Potter

I believe this is the crux of the healthcare crisis. Costs keep rising for patients because more and more money-siphoning layers are inserted between them and their doctors.

Patient care now is passed from one corporate “healthcare service” to the next, each of which is making some profit. While this healthcare business creates a whole new crop of rich executives, aggressive corporate “cost-cutting” (i.e. profiteering)  is decimating the ranks of healthcare workers.  Continue reading

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Held Hostage by Health Care

When Patients and Their Families Feel Like Hostages to Health Care – Mayo Clinic – Sept 2017

Patients are often reluctant to assert their interests in the presence of clinicians, whom they see as experts. [… or law enforcement in the ‘opioid crisis’ -zyp]

The higher the stakes of a health decision, the more entrenched the socially sanctioned roles of patient and clinician can become.

As a result, many patients are susceptible to “hostage bargaining syndrome” (HBS), whereby they behave as if negotiating for their health from a position of fear and confusion Continue reading

A Modern-Day Physician’s Pledge

The Revised Declaration of Geneva: A Modern-Day Physician’s Pledge Oct 2017

A newly revised version of the Declaration of Geneva was adopted by the World Medical Association (WMA) General Assembly on October 14, 2017, in Chicago.

As the contemporary successor to the 2500-year-old Hippocratic Oath, the Declaration of Geneva, which was adopted by the World Medical Association (WMA) at its second General Assembly in 1948, outlines in concise terms the professional duties of physicians and affirms the ethical principles of the global medical profession.   Continue reading

Why evidence-based healthcare has lost its way

Why evidence-based healthcare has lost its way – Roger Kerry – Oct 2017

Without evidence-based healthcare, medicine is not much better than folklore.

In the bad old days, clinical decisions were based largely on the experience and wisdom of doctors and other healthcare professionals, but treatments given in this manner sometimes did more harm than good.

Evidence-based healthcare (EBHC) on the other hand uses population data to figure out the best treatments for different illnesses.   Continue reading

Evidence Based Medicine Needs More than RCTs

Christine Stirling: Move over RCT—time for a revised approach to evidence based medicine – The BMJ – Christine Stirling – Oct 2017

We are stifling our capacity to use research evidence for patient centred outcomes by privileging RCTs

In the two decades since Sackett et al outlined their definitive account of evidence based medicine (EBM) and evidence hierarchies in The BMJ, randomised controlled trials (RCTs) have gained a position of overwhelming dominance that appears to surpass the original intent of EBM.

From the first publication of an RCT in 1948 to today, RCTs have come to dominate the evidence landscape, gaining both research prestige (which translates to funding and publications) and medical authority.   Continue reading

Mindfulness as Panacea for all Ills

Unintended consequences of universal mindfulness training for schoolchildren – Coyne of the Realm – by James C Coyne November 16, 2016

The UK is following the U.S. lead in forcing their doctors to prescribe fewer opioids and send everyone to mindfulness training instead. Both governments have anointed “mindfulness” and/or “meditation” as the cure-all for both physical and mental problems.

It is becoming clear that increasing numbers of people are descending into addiction as a response to the chronic debt, unemployment, and pain brought on by the ruthless winner-take-all culture in both countries,

Instead of tackling the difficult task of easing regressive economic policies, putting in place a better social safety net, and repairing the broken medical system, various forms of “mindfulness” and/or “meditation” are currently being promoted for all unhappy citizens (not just those in pain).   Continue reading

The American Patient Defense Union

The American Patient Defense Union is Now Accepting Complaints From Patients Across the United States – Oct 2017 

Could this be what we need to push back against doctors withholding pain care or, even worse, stopping opioid prescriptions without taper?

This message is to inform you that The American Patient Defense Union is now open to receiving your personal complaints and grievances in interacting with Healthcare providers, insurers and drug/device companies.  

Three categories of complaints will be considered by The Union:

  1. Personal grievances about “process issues” at specific hospitals and practices.
  2. Complications or allegations of harm at the hands of specific practitioners, hospitals or drug/device companies.
  3. Personal financial difficulties, collection notices or bankruptcies caused by specific hospitals, practitioners or insurers. 

Please limit your initial communication with The Union to a 500-word email submitted to complaints@patientrights.org.

Please describe your grievance as concisely and specifically as possible.

Following review and consideration of the information you provide, we will conduct a personal interview by phone in order to strategize with you.

No communication with your providers or insurers will take place until we have conducted an interview and obtained your full consent to proceed.

If you wish to communicate with us via a secure two-way encrypted email system, please create a free email account at protonmail.com and use it communicate with us.

Please note that The Union is strictly focused on individual patients’ specific and personal narratives of grievance or complication resulting from treatment by specific healthcare facilities, practitioners and drugs/devices in the United States. These can range from simple to complex matters.

The Union hopes to ultimately identify broad practices and policies that are causing financial or physical harm to individual patients across the United States — in order to address public policy issues on a larger scale. However, our strict starting point in all cases will be the individual American patient’s story of difficulties, conflict with or harm by specific practitioners, hospitals, insurers or drug/device companies.

The Union is NOT a law firm.

However, in cases where we do believe negligence has occurred, we will recommend that you seek legal guidance.

We are aiming to defend your rights and voice, publicly —You, The American Patient.

The Union seeks to establish large-scale collective bargaining power capable of political lobbying at the state and federal levels with the goal of shifting medical practice in the United States away from a profit-driven corporate mode towards a patient-centered system.

In achieving this goal, we need you to rise up and empower this union.

Please note that you are filing your complaint with The Union voluntarily. After verifying the information you provide, The Union will initially use this to generate a professionally-crafted and adequately-measured signal to the healthcare or insurance entity causing the grievance.

This signal will be in the form of a letter of warning from The Union, to the entity you are interacting with, requesting immediate action on your behalf.

Should the provider/insurer not respond in an adequate or timely fashion, this letter of warning will be shared with the public, the press and all members of The Union in order to maximize public scrutiny/exposure.

Ultimately, as The Union acquires member-driven power, it will provide the litigation services necessary to create changes to the behavior of our healthcare establishment using the individual grievances provided by our members.

Every Patient and citizen/resident of the United States is invited to join The Union. Specific instruction to join, including member fees, will be provided at www.patientrights.org in the near future.

Let’s begin to develop the powerful backbone every American patient needs to defend against harm in seeking a healthier tomorrow.

Meditation for Psychological Stress and Well-being

Meditation for Psychological Stress and Well-being | Complementary and Alternative Medicine | JAMA Internal Medicine – Jan 2014

Importance  Many people meditate to reduce psychological stress and stress-related health problems. To counsel people appropriately, clinicians need to know what the evidence says about the health benefits of meditation.

Objective  To determine the efficacy of meditation programs in improving stress-related outcomes (anxiety, depression, stress/distress, positive mood, mental health–related quality of life, attention, substance use, eating habits, sleep, pain, and weight) in diverse adult clinical populations.   Continue reading

Acid Reflux Meds Promote Chronic Liver Disease

Common Acid Reflux Medications Promote Chronic Liver Disease – Oct 12017

Approximately 10 percent of the general population take a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drug to block stomach acid secretions and relieve symptoms of frequent heartburn, acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have discovered evidence in mice and humans that stomach (gastric) acid suppression alters specific gut bacteria in a way that promotes liver injury and progression of three types of chronic liver disease.

This is what I expected and what made me decide not to use PPIs even though they were prescribed for me. I’d rather deal with the discomfort of too much acid than deal with the unknown long-term implications of altering my gut biome.  Continue reading

Insurers Restrict Pricey, Less Addictive Painkillers

Amid Opioid Crisis, Insurers Restrict Pricey, Less Addictive Painkillers – The New York Times  By KATIE THOMAS and CHARLES ORNSTEINSEPT. 17, 2017

ProPublica and The New York Times analyzed Medicare prescription drug plans covering 35.7 million people in the second quarter of this year.

Only one-third of the people covered, for example, had any access to Butrans, a painkilling skin patch that contains a less-risky opioid, buprenorphine. And every drug plan that covered lidocaine patches, which are not addictive but cost more than other generic pain drugs, required that patients get prior approval for them.

In contrast, almost every plan covered common opioids and very few required any prior approval.   Continue reading