The cups of urine travel by express mail to the Comprehensive Pain Specialists lab in an industrial park in Brentwood, Tenn., not far from Nashville.
Most days bring more than 700 of the little sealed cups from clinics across 10 states, wrapped in red-tagged waste bags. The network treats about 48,000 people each month, and many will be tested for drugs.
Gloved lab techs keep busy inside the cavernous facility, piping smaller urine samples into tubes. Continue reading
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
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
Psychologists Express Growing Concern With Mindfulness Meditation | Inverse| By Peter Hess on October 10, 2017
Mindfulness, which involves the simple act of paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and surroundings, has become something of a buzzword in the past couple of decades, and psychologists are concerned.
More than just a meditation practice, mindfulness is an industry — with some proponents saying it can treat anxiety, cancer, and everything in between.
The problem is, in many cases, those treatments haven’t sufficiently been scrutinized by trained professionals, and psychologists aren’t impressed. Continue reading
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
The Secret Role of Insurers in Medicare Opioid Policy – October 2017 – By Pat Anson, Editor
This month marks the one year anniversary of a closed door meeting between law enforcement agencies, federal and state regulators, and health insurance companies in a Baltimore suburb – a “special session” of an obscure advisory group to the U.S. Justice Department and the Department of Health and Human Services.
Although the mission of the Healthcare Fraud Prevention Partnership – HFPP for short — is to prevent healthcare fraud, the October 20, 2016 meeting went much further.
It gave the insurance industry – so-called “Partner Champions” — a direct role in drafting recommendations that could decide how millions of pain patients will be treated by their doctors and what opioid medications will be prescribed to them, if any. Continue reading
The corruption of modern academic medicine — How your doctor was bought – by Jason Fung, MD – July 2017
Many doctors are genuinely puzzled why much of the general public does not trust what they say.
Many doctors blame ignorance and the media for these phenomena, but this is simply a patronizing attitude. The truth is this. Many people simply do not believe doctors anymore.
But why? The answer is $$$$. Simply, the public does not trust doctors because they know that many doctors, especially those in academic medicine and the universities are on the take. Continue reading
CVS’s Transparent Opioid PR Stunt | American Council on Science and Health – by Josh Bloom – Sept 2017
CVS has taken it upon itself to enact rules that allow their pharmacists to ignore a physician’s prescription by changing the number of pills, the daily maximum dose, and even the form of the drug itself.
And the company’s new policy is based on a decidedly faulty premise, which I will describe below.
What the company just did is bad news for both physicians and their patients. Let’s try to set them straight. Continue reading
A huge gift boosts alternative therapies at a med school, sparking outrage – ByUsha Lee McFarling – September 20, 2017
It’s becoming perfectly clear that money trumps (pun intended) science these days.
When billionaires Susan and Henry Samueli this week announced a $200 million donation to the University of California, Irvine to launch a new health program dedicated to integrative medicine, they drew a standing ovation and glowing coverage.
But for those who have been watching the steady creep of unproven therapies into mainstream medicine, the announcement didn’t go over quite as well. Continue reading
‘Population-Based,’ Meet ‘Patient-Centered’ | Managed Care Magazine Online |MANAGED CARE | May 2012 – by Timothy Kelley
It’s hard to believe we’ve made so little progress on reconciling these two ideas since 2012.
With the coming increase in the elderly population who often have multiple interacting health problems, population medicine might end up being of little use.
Health care doesn’t lack for big ideas, even if their definitional boundaries do sometimes get fuzzy.
Take “population-based medicine” and “patient-centered health care,” for example. Both are phrases we hear and read every day, and maybe even believe in. But do they coincide or collide? Continue reading