Tag Archives: money

Top US hospitals aggressively promoting alternative medicine

Medicine with a side of mysticism: Top hospitals promote unproven therapies – By CASEY ROSS @byCaseyRoss, MAX BLAU @maxblau, and KATE SHERIDAN @sheridan_kate – Mar 2017

I know that various unusual therapies work for some people some of the time (myself included), but they are truly a hit and miss proposition.

They’re among the nation’s premier medical centers, at the leading edge of scientific research.

Yet hospitals affiliated with Yale, Duke, Johns Hopkins, and other top medical research centers also aggressively promote alternative therapies with little or no scientific backing.

They offer “energy healing” to help treat multiple sclerosis, acupuncture for infertility, and homeopathic bee venom for fibromyalgia. A public forum hosted by the University of Florida’s hospital even promises to explain how herbal therapy can reverse Alzheimer’s. (It can’t.)  Continue reading

How U.S. Health Care Became Big Business

Elisabeth Rosenthal Explains How U.S. Health Care Became Big Business: Shots – Health News : NPR – April 10, 2017 – Heard on Fresh Air

Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal, a medical journalist who formerly worked as a medical doctor, warns that the existing system too often focuses on financial incentives over health or science.

“We’ve trusted a lot of our health care to for-profit businesses and it’s their job, frankly, to make profit,” Rosenthal says.

Rosenthal’s new book, An American Sickness, examines the deeply rooted problems of the existing health-care system and also offers suggestions for a way forward. She notes that under the current system, it’s far more lucrative to provide a lifetime of treatments than a cure.

On what consolidation of hospitals is doing to the price of care

In the beginning, this was a good idea: Hospitals came together to share efficiencies. You could share records of patients so the patient could go to the medical center that was most appropriate.

Now that consolidation trend has kind of snowballed and skyrocketed to a point … that in many parts of the country, major cities only have one, maybe two, hospital systems. And what you see with that level of consolidation is it’s kind of a mini-monopoly.

What happens, of course, when you have a mini-monopoly is you have an enormous sway over price. And so, what we see in research over and over again is that the cities that have the most hospital consolidation tend to have the highest prices for health care without any benefit for patient results.

On the ways the health-care industry stands to profit more from lifetime treatment than it does from curing disease

It’s far better to have treatments, sometimes really great treatments … [that] go on for life. That’s much better than something that will make the disease go away overnight.

On how prices will rise to whatever the market will bear

Another concept that I think is unique to medicine is what economists call “sticky pricing,”

It basically means … once one drugmaker, one hospital, one doctor says “Hey we could charge $10,000 for that procedure or that medicine.” …everyone sees that someone’s getting away with charging $10,000, the prices all go up to that sticky ceiling.

On initiating conversations early on with doctors about fees and medical bills

You should start every conversation with a doctor’s office by asking “Is there a concierge fee? Are they affiliated with a hospital? Which hospital are they affiliated with? Is the office considered part of a hospital?” In which case you’re going to be facing hospital fees in addition to your doctor’s office fees.

You ask your doctor always … “If I need a lab test, if I need an X-ray, will you send me to an in-network provider so I don’t get hit by out-of-network fees?”

On getting charged for “drive-by doctors” brought in by the hospital or primary doctor

You do have to say “Who are you? Who called you?” and “Am I going to be billed for this?” And it’s tragic that in recovery people have to think in this kind of keep-on-your-guard, somewhat adversarial way

On how to decipher coded medical bills

Don’t be alarmed by the “prompt payment discount.” Go back to the hospital and say, “I want a fully itemized bill. I want to know what I’m paying for.”

I’ve discovered you can Google those codes and find out what you’re being charged for, often, and most importantly, you might find you’re being charged for stuff that obviously you know you didn’t have.

Elizabeth Rosenthal is editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and a partner of NPR’s.

Patients not Profits: How Markets Dehumanise Health

Patients not Profits. How Markets dehumanize health. | A Better NHS | Last edited 04.06.2009

This is a long, thoughtful essay about the commercialization of healthcare, exactly what we are struggling with in the US. Financial interest and healthcare do not align, their goals and successes are almost directly opposed.

I’ve written this because I believe that the corporatisation of healthcare is dehumanising.

By this I mean that real, whole people living with their hopes and worries, ideas and expectations, are broken down by the process of corporatisation into biological parts not for diagnosis and treatment but so that they can be measured and converted into profits.   Continue reading

Free market ideology doesn’t work for health care

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

In my column last week I suggested that one of the reasons Americans tolerate paying so much more for health care than citizens of any other country — and getting less to show for it — is our gullibility.

We’ve been far too willing to believe the self-serving propaganda we’ve been fed for decades by health insurers and pharmaceutical companies and every other part of the medical-industrial complex.  Continue reading

Genetic lab pays doctors to push dubious tests

Genetic lab pays doctors up to $144K/yr to push dubious tests By CHARLES PILLER @cpiller  Feb 2017

For doctors, the brochure from a California medical laboratory sounded like easy money: $30 for every person enrolled in a study of genetic tests meant to help select the best pain medication for each patient. A typical physician could make $144,000 a year in “research fees.”

But the clinical trial was largely a ploy to boost Proove Biosciences’s revenues, and many of the doctors who signed up did no actual work, say current and former employees.

Proove has grown rapidly by tapping into the public angst over surging opioid addiction.   Continue reading

Top US hospitals aggressively promoting Alt-Med

Top US hospitals aggressively promoting alternative medicine offerings – Should prestigious hospitals promote unproven alternative medicine? – Stat News – Mar 2017

They’re among the nation’s premier medical centers, at the leading edge of scientific research. Yet hospitals affiliated with Yale, Duke, Johns Hopkins, and other top medical research centers also aggressively promote alternative therapies with little or no scientific backing.

They offer

  • “energy healing” to help treat multiple sclerosis,
  • acupuncture for infertility, and
  • homeopathic bee venom for fibromyalgia.
  • A public forum hosted by the University of Florida’s hospital even promises to explain how herbal therapy can reverse Alzheimer’s. (It can’t.)   Continue reading

Money is Corrupting Science

NEJM editor: “No longer possible to believe much of clinical research published” | The Ethical Nag |Blog post from 2009/11/09

Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Marcia Angell is the former Editor-in-Chief at the New England Journal of Medicine, arguably one of the most respected medical journals on earth

But after reading her article in the New York Review of Books called Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption, one wonders if any medical journal on earth is worth anybody’s respect anymore.

It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”   Continue reading

Making Medical Decisions Without Accountability

The doctor who wrote this article is bravely “speaking truth to power” by pointing out the current practice of allowing businesses with conflicting financial interests to determine patients’ medical treatment.

I have long wondered why

  • insurance companies,
  • government agencies,
  • various legislators,
  • self-proclaimed addiction “experts”, and
  • corporate employees in some remote office building

are allowed to decide what my medical treatment should be.

Dr. Dorio is also questioning this practice which interduces an obvious conflict of interest in determining a patient’s treatment.   Continue reading

FInancial Involvement Inhibits Trust

Homo Economicus Belief Inhibits Trust – PLoS One – 2013 Oct – Free PMC Article

As a foundational concept in economics, the homo economicus assumption regards humans as rational and self-interested actors.

In contrast, trust requires individuals to believe partners’ benevolence and unselfishness.

The present three experiments demonstrated that the direct exposure to homo economicus belief can weaken trust.  And economic situations like profit calculation can also activate individuals’ homo economicus belief and inhibit their trust.

It seems that people’s increasing homo economicus belief may serve as one cause of the worldwide decline of trust.  Continue reading

Encroachment into Medical Decision-Making

Physicians Organizing Committee Battle Encroachment into Medical Decision-Making – SCV Physician Report – October 14, 2016

War is being waged on behalf of American citizens against the business takeover of hospitals, yet most people don’t realize this battle exists.  Surprisingly, the warriors scattered throughout our country in this fight are doctors.

hospitals have created a shield against criticism using a mantra they are “too important to fail.”  Touting this defense, hospital administrators have self-aggrandized their position and covertly bestowed profits enriching personal salaries, bonuses, and golden parachutes, while the public is left to suffer.

Healthcare in our country is in shambles.   Continue reading