Archive for the ‘ELECTION & POLITICAL’ Category

“SICKO” – WILL IT HELP MAKE THE DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT?

Monday, July 9th, 2007

AFTER LISTENING THIS PAST FEW DAYS TO SOME NEWS, CASTMD FIGURED THE SYSTEM IS TOO BROKEN NOT TO COMMENT.  MIKE MOORE’S DOCUDRAMA OF THE U.S. HEALTHCARE SYSTEM IS AT LEAST A STARTING POINT…AGAIN….A NEW KIND OF DOCTOR EXPOSED

A FRIEND OF MINE SAVED A PATIENT’S LIFE.   IN SURGERY, THE PERSON ALMOST DIED. THIS ANESTHESIOLOGIST WANTS TO GET PAID BY THE PATIENT’S INSURANCE COMPANY. SOUNDS SIMPLE?

THE PATIENT HAD TO BE TRANSFERRED FROM THE SMALLER HOSPITAL TO A TERTIARY CENTER (A LARGER TEACHING TYPE HOSPITAL) AND LATER UNDERWENT ANOTHER SURGERY. NOW THE INSURANCE COMPANY WILL NOT PAY THE FIRST HOSPITAL AND THE ANESTHESIOLOGIST. THEY DEMAND MORE PAPERWORK, SAYING IT WAS THE SAME SURGERY. SO THE BATTLE OF HEALTHCARE PAYMENTS GOES ON! GENERALLY, DESPITE THE ONLINE DIRECT SUBMISSION OF BILLING TO MEDICAID, MEDICARE, AND OTHER INSURANCE COMPANIES, PAY IS SLOW.

WHAT HAPPENS THEN, IS THE PATIENT GETS BILLED, THE EXPLANATION OF BENEFITS GOES OUT AND EVERYONE INVOLVED IS SENDING DOCUMENTS AND PHONECALLS TO EVERYONE ELSE. SO IT GOES. SO MUCH LOST EFFORTS, EXPENSES, AND WORK…TO GET PAID.

ALL THAT MONEY COULD BE FOR HEALTH AND WELLNESS AND PREVENTION. INSTEAD YOU HAVE FAMILIES BEING BANKRUPTED BY MEDICAL BILLS. THIS HAS BECOME ANOTHER CREDITOR ATTACKING YOUR CREDIT RATING, YOUR PROPERTY, YOUR LIVELIHOOD, AND YOUR HARD-EARNED DOLLARS. MANY HOSPITALS HAVE LAW FIRMS NOW FILE LITIGATION AND SUE THE PATIENTS FOR PAYMENT.

WE SPEND THE MOST ON HEALTH IN THE INDUSTRIALIZED WORLD, YET WE HAVE HIGH INFANT MORTALITY, A SHORTER LIFE EXPECTANCY, AND NEARLY 45 MILLION KNOWN ABOUT PERSONS WITHOUT ANY INSURANCE COVERAGE TO ADEQUATELY PROTECT THE FAMILY OR THEMSELVES.

THE DIRECTOR OF THE G.A.O. (GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE) WAS ON TV THE OTHER DAY. HE SAID IT IS TOO LATE IF WE DO NOT CHANGE NOW. HE IS IMPORTANT. HE IS THE UNITED STATES’ CPA BASICALLY. HE IS MEETING WITH BUSINESS LEADERS, COMPANIES, AND OFFICIALS TO TRY TO GET THE MOMENTUM UP TO CHANGE HOW WE DO THINGS. HE SAID THAT WITH THE BABY-BOOMERS COMING “ON LINE” IN JANUARY 2008, THE GOVERNMENT HAS CREATED A SYSTEM OF INCOMPATIBLE EXPENSE. WITH MEDICARE, MEDICAID, AND SOCIAL SECURITY FOR THE BOOMERS, THE SYSTEM WILL BUST.  SOON!   2020 OR SOONER!   WHY?  HE HAS GIVEN UP ON CONGRESS !!!

IF YOU ADD ON THE NUMBER OF MANDATED ER CARE OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS GOING TO THE EMERGENCY ROOMS, PLUS THE UNDERINSURED, AND THE UNINSURED – IT IS EASY TO APPRECIATE THE PROBLEM.  MANY HOSPITALS’ ERs HAVE CLOSED.  SOME HOSPITALS ARE BEING SOLD FROM NOT-FOR-PROFIT TO FOR-PROFIT SYSTEMS.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO HELP TALK IT UP ABOUT HEALTH INSURANCE RATES, HEALTH INSURANCE, AND THE COSTS.  

NO FAMILY SHOULD BE FORCED INTO BANKRUPTCY BY HEALTH ISSUES……

NET NEUTRALITY AT RISK- THE BIG DEAL IN YOUR e-LIFE

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

Sometimes this medical man must make the leap from meth, cocaine, cheese heroin, disability, west nile, herpes, and death…to a topic that is close to the heart and mind.

In the blogger world and the internet world, many brilliant minds exist in a community open source manner, while many other minds (even some the same) coexist in a competitive free market manner. They so far seem to have been a symbiotic relationship at the least.

But a reminder from www.castMD.com now, as it is important. We as bloggers must pay closer attention to this “Net Neutrality” issue. This is how I understand it. Right now, internet is paid for at all levels. About 26 of them. I pay a company to provide access to the net, that company pays the next, the next pays the next…eventually to a major backbone of internet ability. These access points are not “pipes” as one Senator stated in Congress. Everyone gets paid some money along the way…

What may be happening in the telecom companies, is access restriction! Unlike other countries, especially Korea, China, Japan, access is being looked at like your cable or cellphone.

You want what, when, and how fast?

Right now, the IPhone is with AT&T I believe, after Verizon company turned it down due to strict competitive requirements. So, my contract will not allow me to get an IPhone. I cannot get a different phone with ALL the features, because some aspects of cellphones are turned off…or blocked…so the company can RESELL the access to you – EVEN though your cellphone is set for it.

My examples are real but may not be exact for the internet neutrality issue. BUT, what if my SkyNet said you can have only the internet sites that are not commerce related? What about no .com, or .biz sites? But for 100 dollars per month, I can have the .com sites? Or what if a block on all .edu sites was placed for the colleges and universities, unless a million dollars per month is paid by the college or university? Another example is whether or not your access speed would be limited? So, the telecoms give access to the “slow speeds” of uploads and downloads, yet more money for the “real” speeds.

UTube is extremely bandwidth intensive. In the beginning, without the principle of internet neutrality, the telecom ISPs most likely would have restricted bandwidth speed available to their users for viewing the site. Video traffic would slow to a crawl unless the startup business was ready to pay enormous fees to the “gatekeepers” in order to access “their subscribers.” Obviously, a startup in its infancy would not have been able to pay these fees, or would have had to grow slower or die on the vine.   The gatekeepers want to absolute control to all the access to every data pak through the internet network.  Everyone is already paying!

The meeting review on the issue might stimulate your awareness.

FTC ON BROADBAND ACCESS

A review of this issue and faqs is at: SAVE THE INTERNET

THE PRICE AND THE ACCESS RESTRICTION ARE GOING UP !

AARP article misses the boat – DRUG SAMPLES AND DRUG REPS – MAYBE NOT SO BAD – BUT LIMIT THE DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER ADS and LAWSUITS

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

A recent article in the AARP Bulletin highlighted an email of a drug company's inside commentary on drug representatives and their impact on physicians' practices.  Congress was on this subject of how doctors obtain information years ago, and rather than mandating legislation, the Pharma Industry limited themselves.  Now the irony here is that, all the Pharma Industry now advertises the millions and millions of dollars for their new drugs on television, cable and non-cable, radio, and the print media.  How many ads of erectile dysfunction have you seen or watched in the last few years?  What about allergy drugs?  Those ads seem to be everywhere also.

Meanwhile, most doctors get some of their information from drug company representatives.  The doctors of yesteryear were wined and dined – alot.  But all that has changed.  Company meetings for continuing medical information and education are sponsored for cost.  However, the rules are tight.  No trips to Hawaii have ever been offered to me, in 25 years or so.

Now the medical appliance industry, like the artificial hips, pacemakers, etc., are not included in the Pharma SELF-imposed rules.  This industry works like many others.  Recently my awareness was stretched when a person told me ALL hundreds of employees of a beer industry were wined and dined, golfed, and brought to a city with alot of casinos!  All on the company.  And recently a marketing company took hundreds of employees to another city for 3-4 days, for their needs.

Now, most doctors do like to see drug representatives.  We do get good and current information from the reps.  If the doctor has a brain, he or she will and can challenge the drug rep with his product, his information, and his competition.  This is good information.

Literally, thousands of patients through the years have asked for "Any free samples?" Many times we can accomodate some starter paks of medicines that have been given to us by the pharmaceutical representatives.  Most clinics get some samples for patients.  According to a recent study over 75% of clinics get free samples.  Many times the reps will sponsor quick to the point luncheons.  Some doctors join company panels to discuss the highlights and controversies of new therapy.  So, what is the big deal?

Most pharmaceutical reps are good people.  Most earn their living by providing information currently and timely.  Most doctors are good people.  Most earn their living by providing good patient care.  Most patients are good people.  Most enjoy and sincerely appreciate a "few samples" to start their drug regimen.

Now, with the costs of drugs so high, and the pressure on the drug companies to limit free samples or starter paks, it would seem to be soon – a policy that will be forced out.  This will be a loss for the underinsured, uninsured, family of four parents, and others that look at the costs in general of healthcare and delay or eliminate their prescription all together.

The billions of dollars spent on "direct-consumer-advertising" that is endorsed by the FDA and other federal, state, and societal organizations is the first place to cut drug costs.  Those ads drive the physician by patient requests.  Get rid of direct to consumer advertising.  Next, get rid of the massive class action suits against all the companies.  The U.S. has driven the vaccine industry out of the U.S. and the drug making is not far behind.  If the vaccine shortage concerns did not awaken some fear in you, this should.

So, soon, patients will say good bye to free samples, free starter cost reduction cards, and reduced up to date physician information.

As for me, trips, rock n' roll collections, and tennis racquets have not crossed my desk….And to say they do is just crazy by a biased author.  And some of the doctors will stay "chummy" with professional colleagues in the pharmaceutical representative business.  Some might call that professional interaction and ethical education…

SALT USE AND CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE AND HYPERTENSION

Monday, May 28th, 2007

Stroke and other cardiovascular diseases are linked closely to high blood pressure.  In many studies, hypertension is a strong predictor of these severe problems, including stroke (brain attack), congestive heart failure, and even myocardial infarction (heart attack).

The importance of salt intake (sodium chloride) with regard to high blood pressure is well linked.  Most of these studies have been a type of case control showing high probable causal relationship.  Some other studies have shown that higher salt intake predicted the higher incidence of cardiovascular diseases over time.

But a recent published and peer reviewed study, with randomized NON-hypertensive persons, about 3000 of them, has put a strong lock on this issue.  In the study, persons were given about 2.6 gms or 2.0 gms of salt daily.   Another group of placebo was a control also.  The groups were followed out to 18 months or 36-48 months. Then all the groups (cohorts) were followed over the next 10-15 years!

There was a remarkable 30% (approximate) lower incidence of cardiovascular events during this period.  This finding was controlled for age, body mass, sex, ethnic origin, and initial blood pressure – when compared to the placebo group. 

We have long known this concern of salt and high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases.  Even back in about 1985, the World Health Organization recommended the salt intake to be reduced to about 5 grams per day. 

In "Westernized" countries, bread and processed foods account for the great majority of salts in the diet, with personal use being about 15-20 %.  In many developing countries however, the personal use is the burden of salt.  Some countries have tried to "legislate" salt reduction, however most of the time, this effort turns to "voluntary" agreement programs with good intent, rather than hard legislation.  More efforts of education and the reason for limiting salt intake should be forwarded by all the main agencies such as the American Heart Association (AHA), the American Diabetes Association (ADA), and others that take the lead to limit cardiovascular disease, morbidity, and mortality.

So think about it.  Should we legislate the prepared foods, soda and beer, snack, eat 'n run, cafe, restaurant, and bar industries to limit the salt in their products?  Dear ol' Mom probably had it right when she said, "Not so much salt!" 

So next time you pick up the product, do a salt survey.  Remember less that five grams a day is highly recommended, while 2 grams a day really makes a difference in your actual risk.  The debate appears to be over.  Salt can take a toll.  Be a wise shopper and a wiser eater. 

Salty popcorn with butter anyone?  Remember, more fiber, less salt, less trans-fats….Yuk!

USS NEW YORK BUILT TO SALUTE THE FALLEN

Saturday, April 14th, 2007

 

USS New York

 

It was built with 24 tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Center.

It is the fifth in a new class of warship – designed for missions that include special operations against terrorists. It will carry a crew of 360 sailors and 700 combat-ready Marines to be delivered ashore by helicopters and assault craft.

Steel from the World Trade Center was melted down in a foundry in Amite, LA to cast the ship's bow section. When it was poured into the molds on Sept. 9, 2003, "those big rough steelworkers treated it with total reverence," recalled Navy Capt. Kevin Wensing, who was  there. "It was a spiritual moment for everybody there."

 

USS NEW YORK

 

Junior Chavers, foundry operations manager, said that when the trade center steel first arrived, he touched it with his hand and the "hair on my neck stood up." "It had a big meaning to it for all of us," he said. "They knocked us down. They can't keep us down. We're going to be back."

The ship's motto? "Never Forget"  And we should not !

hpv – save the cheerleader – save the world – vaccinate your daughters – VOTE IN THE POLL

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

 Cool   Every family should consider the vaccination program for the prevention of HPV induced cervical cancer and HPV induced genital warts.  All females over age 12 should talk with their doctor about this miraculous preventative program which reduces cervical cancer and genital warts risk.    Bye    

 

  http://www.castmd.com/?p=124

 

VOTE IN THE VACCINATION POLL IN THE RIGHT MARGIN BELOW BLOG CATEGORIES

BIOPHARMACEUTICALS AND GENERIC DRUG POLICY – GENERIC SAFETY EFFICACY PURITY – LEGISLATING WHEN A GENERIC IS A GENERIC?

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

 

Biopharmaceutical “generics” controversy continues on Capitol Hill.  Manufacturers say that the biopharmaceuticals cannot be guaranteed of safety, potency, and purity in the generic sense, since they are proteins and other biological type medications.  This is quite different from the many generic forms of other drugs, such as aspirin, penicillin, and other chemical drugs. 

Why is this such a big deal? 

Biopharm prices are considerable higher than chemical drugs.  Of the $252 billion dollars spent on prescription medicines in 2005, $33 billion was biotech-biopharm types of medicines. All med sales grow about 5-6 % per year, whereas the biopharm group grows about 3 times that rate. The top three selling biopharm meds were neupogen, epogen, and intron A – with costs at about 15, 20, and 22 thousand dollars per patient per year. Imiglucerase, an enzyme drug, will cost about 200,000 dollars per patient per year.  

Large carriers such as Kaiser and others are seeing astronomical increases in these drug costs.    Medicare estimates for drug plans estimated at 395 billion, now is over 650 billion over the ten years initial estimates. 

 In the generic marketplace, drug costs have been reduced about 50-70 percent in general.  However, this truly sensical process may be difficult to add to generic follow-through biotech group of biopharmaceuticals. How will the abbreviated new drug application be changed to allow “generic” or “follow-through” biotech biopharmaceuticals to progress faster to FDA approval?  Certainly, the savings for guaranteeing the purity, safety, and efficacy of the biopharmaceuticals may not be as great.  The big issue still remains whether the profits from “open season” on the off patent biopharmaceuticals will allow for continued research and development for newer and unique and orphan type biotech drugs that will save patients and save money.   

The baby boomers are passing through the biopharmaceutical turnstile now, and with growing numbers. 

How the 1984 Hatch-Waxman Act (Drug Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act) will change and what effect any change will have is to be determined as of yet.  This law allowed rapid development and approval of chemical drugs for generic distribution after patents expired on known brand name drugs. 

 

(Commentary by castMD with adaptation from:  Fuhr & Blackstone's article in Biotechnology Healthcare)  

 

BLURKER ADDICTION AND BLOGGER BEHAVIOR BLURKER ANONYMOUS SCREENING AND CONFIRMATION – NEED A PROFESSIONAL?

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

BLURKER ANONYMOUS SCREENING (CAGE)

  • Have you ever thought you ought to Cut down on your blog entries or blurking?
  • Do you feel Annoyed at criticism of your blog writing or blurking?
  • Do you feel Guilty about your blog writing or blurking?
  • Do you ever take an Early-morning look (eye-opener) at your latest blog favorite or use blogging or blurking upon awakening  (”a little hair of the dog that bit you”) to start the day or to feel better?

IF YOU ANSWERED ONE OR MORE “YES” TO THE  ABOVE SCREENING TEST – CONTINUE TO THIS CONFIRMATORY EVALUATION . 

BLURKER ADDICTION CONFIRMATION SYSTEM ®

Eating meals alone while blurking or blogging

Rereading your blog or your latest entries

Rereading your favorite blogs

Trying to stop reading blogs

Considering group meetings for bloggers

Realizing your world is centered on your favorite blogs

Wondering repeatedly what writing an entry would be like

Time with family and friends are limited

Sneaking away to check your favorite blogs

Do you check your blog stats over once per day

Do you wonder in moments of calm who might be seeing your blog

Not owning up to the problem of the continuous blurker

Family members want to call a “confrontation” meeting

Limited showers and shaving while eating at the computer

Occasional outbursts of solo-laughter discussed by others in your life

Anxiety and panic arrive when you cannot blurk

Anxiety and panic arrive when you cannot hit “submit”

Anxiety and panic heightens when reading the submit “verify code” letters

Computer failure makes you go to the public library to “check out a book”

Computer server failure makes you just sit in disbelief

Now realizing you have blogger-buddies, you want a festive gathering to touch and appreciate them  

Your children ask your spouse or significant other who the stranger is while looking at you

Your complete social circle has changed

And your only means of conversation must be in blog format. 

GRADING SYSTEM 

0 – 2                             LOW RISK

3 – 5                             MOD RISK

6 – 10                           HIGH RISH

11 – 15                         EXTREME RISK

> 15                         COUNSEL/INPATIENT  
         

www.blurkeranonymous.com