Tag Archives: profiteering

Undiagnosed Osteoporosis in Spine Fusion Surgery

Study: CT Scan Prior to Spine Fusion Surgery Finds Significant Number of Patients Had Undiagnosed Osteoporosis – Mar 2019

For patients contemplating spinal fusion surgery to alleviate pain, bone health is an important consideration.

If a patient is found to have low bone density prior to surgery, it could affect the treatment plan before, during and after the procedure. A study at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City found that a CT scan of the lumbar spine prior to surgery indicated that a significant number of patients had low bone density that was previously undiagnosed.

And I assume they then had the surgery in spite of it.  Continue reading

Big Medicine is Putting Small Practices Out of Business

How Big Medicine is Putting Small Practices Out of Business – MedPage Today – by John Machata, MD – Apr 2019

Recently, the CEO of a large health care network stated: “Market forces don’t apply to healthcare.”

What an idiotic statement! If this were true, CEOs wouldn’t be receiving astronomical salaries while their cost-cutting leaves everyone doing the real work broke.

These CEOs manipulate their corporations to generate the maximum profit (which is actually their job) and their calculations definitely depend on market forces to raise prices by eliminating competition.  Continue reading

Elite Hospitals Plunge Into Unproven Stem Cell Treatments

Elite Hospitals Plunge Into Unproven Stem Cell Treatments – By Liz Szabo – Apr 2019

The online video seems to promise everything an arthritis patient could want. Dr. Adam Pourcho extols the benefits of stem cells and “regenerative medicine” for healing joints without surgery.

It sickens me when some doctors go rogue like this – especially when it involves money and pain. That combination is the perfect engine for profit in our medical system:

  • medical procedures can cost as much as the “market” can bear and
  • the “market” consists of desperate pain patients who are no longer allowed their previously effective medications

In their suicidal desperation, these patients will agree to pay almost any amount to get relief from their unrelenting pain.  Continue reading

Moral Failure And Health Costs

Moral Failure And Health Costs: Two Simplistic Spending NarrativesJeff C. Goldsmith – Oct 2015

This article brings up interesting ideas about the interrelated (and dysfunctional) pieces of the American healthcare system, but I can sum up the crux of the situation easily.

The medical care of our society has been taken over by corporate conglomerates which, by definition, are exclusively designed to create profits for their shareholders.

What to do about the seemingly inexorable rise in health spending has been the central health policy challenge for two generations of health economists and policymakers.    Continue reading

AI used to increase medical billing

AI-based product aims to help providers identify missed charges | Health Data Management – By Joseph Goedert – Sep 2019

It’s always interesting to look at a subject from a different point of view because it gives a more complete picture. I found this article in a publication called “Health Data Management”, which is focused on the health data and computing aspect of healthcare and has nothing to do with medical care.

This article predictably uses the generic functional term “provider” for doctors and nurses, a standardized and interchangeable version of the real people actually practicing medicine.

This is a hint of what we can expect in the future of healthcare after AI systems are embedded in every facet of our care: standardized “providers” will follow standard algorithms to diagnose and treat “standard” patients, who are all assumed to be the mythical “average human”. Continue reading

Rein In ‘Sociopaths’ in the Boardroom

Ex-Corporate Lawyer’s Idea: Rein In ‘Sociopaths’ in the Boardroom – NY Times – By Andrew Ross Sorkin – July 2019

This “reformed” lawyer points out a fundamental flaw of our capitalist system that is responsible for increasing income inequality (rich getting richer, poor getting poorer), dysfunctional government (gridlock), and social decay (deaths of despair).

These troubles stem from a particular aspect of corporate law, and he proposes a relatively simple solution to change how corporations operate.

Jamie Gamble, a retired corporate lawyer, has had an epiphany in recent years: The executives who hired him and that his firm sought to protect, he said, “are legally obligated to act like sociopaths.”   Continue reading

Obscure advisory committees on U.S. drug pricing

The obscure advisory committees at the heart of the U.S. drug pricing debate – Reuters – by Caroline Humer – April 2019

Expectations were high last year for three new migraine drugs hitting the market from Amgen Inc, Eli Lilly and Co and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.

Priced around $7,000 each, the drugmakers called them “breakthrough” treatments designed to prevent migraines when taken year-round, and estimated that millions of patients could benefit

But a small group of external medical experts who quietly advise U.S. health insurers on new drugs was not impressed, according to a private meeting held at UnitedHealth Group’s OptumRx offices in Chicago that was attended by Reuters.   Continue reading

Obscenely High Pay for Health-Care CEOs

Health-Care CEOs Made an Infuriating Amount of Money Last Year – by Luke Darby – Apr 2019

While I know that CEOs are ridiculously overpaid these days, I’m disgusted by the amount of money, much of it from taxpayers, that’s sloshing around in the healthcare industry.

Last year, 62 CEOs of health-care companies made a combined total of $1.1 billion in compensation.

That’s according to a new report out from Axios, which coincidentally notes that CEO compensation eclipses what the Centers for Disease Control spent on chronic disease prevention by $157 million.    Continue reading

Rx Opioids: Culprits or Scapegoats?

Are Rx Opioids the Culprits or Scapegoats for Opioid Crisis? — Pain News Network – By Dr. Lynn Webster, PNN Columnist – Aug 2019

The Washington Post recently published a series of stories about the volume of opioid medication distributed over the past several years in the United States. Over 76 billion pills were distributed from 2002 through 2012.

That sounds like a huge amount, but it is difficult to know what the number means. What is clear is that the stories are meant to suggest the number of pills is excessive and responsible for the rise in opioid overdose deaths.

It sickens me to see how the media sensationalizes the huge numbers of individual pills without putting them into context.  Continue reading