Perverse incentives for hospital profits

ID-10019319 hospital bed
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If you want to know one reason why our health care system is so screwed up, please read this article. It explains how hospitals often make more money when complications arise during surgery.

Patients who suffer complications after surgery are lucrative for hospitals, which get paid more when they treat infections and other problems, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association today.

In 2010, an unnamed, nonprofit 12-hospital chain in the southern U.S. was paid an average of $49,400 per person for treating surgery patients who have complications — more than double the $18,900 paid for patients who underwent only the initial surgery, according to an analysis by researchers from Harvard Medical School and elsewhere.

Read the entire article for details on this problem. We need to alter these incentives and pay for health care that actually works. Incompetence and mistakes should not be rewarded.

Fighting sugar addiction

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Dr. Robert Lustig has a new book out called “Fat Chance” that addresses the huge problems caused by excessive consumption of sugar, which is a real problem in this country. Watch this video and you’ll realize that you need to be very cognizant of how much sugar you are consuming. This is particularly important if you’re a parent.

The biggest issue involves hidden sugar in processed foods, like salad dressing, hamburger buns, BBQ sauce etc. It’s a labeling issue and an issue about government subsidies for the sugar and corn industries.

HPV Vaccine Not Responsible For Sexual Promiscuity


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The journal of Pediatrics has conducted a study which allays fears that being inoculated with the HPV vaccine would encourage sexual promiscuity among teenagers.

The human papilloma virus can lead to cervical cancer and the vaccine helps protect against transmission of the virus.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection, with about 50% of sexually active men and women contracting it at some point during their lives. Early sexual behaviors and multiple sexual partners are risk factors for infection, but other studies have hinted that the vaccine may not encourage sexual activity; in one review of 1,398 girls ages 11 to 12, there was no indication that that girls who received the vaccine planned to engage in more sexual activity. These studies, however, were largely based on self-reported data. The current study is one of the first to evaluate sexual activity after vaccination among this age group based on clinical data.

Spread Of West Nile Virus Won’t Let Up Until October


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Outbreak of West Nile Virus is unusually high this year, however, in 2003, 9,862 cases were reported and 264 people died, according to the CDC’s records.

This year’s outbreak is far from that, however, with human cases reported in 44 states it is still cause for alarm.

Although the disease can be deadly, not everyone will develop serious, neuro-invasive illnesses.

Some will have such light symptoms that they may not know that they are infected at all.

The nationwide numbers were up from 1,590 cases and 65 deaths reported Aug. 28, said Dr. Lyle R. Petersen, director of the CDC’s division of vector-borne infectious diseases.
“We expect this increase to continue for the next several weeks, probably until October,” said Petersen, who added that he was infected with the virus himself a few years ago. Many cases have not yet been logged because of the lag in reporting time, he said.
More than half the cases — 54 percent — are the serious neuroinvasive variety, which can lead to encephalitis or meningitis. The vast majority of West Nile infections, some 80 percent, are so mild that people don’t know they’re infected. About 20 percent develop symptoms and about 1 percent may develop serious, neuro-invasive illnesses.

The disease is spread by infected mosquitos which breed in water.

Unusual weather patterns, light winter and a hot, wet summer have contributed to a rise in the mosquito population.

See you physician if you feel that you may have any symptoms.

Doctor Refuses Treatment For Overweight Patient

Complications, mortality and increased liability have led doctors to think twice about taking on the risk hat comes along with treating obese patients.

Is it unethical or prudent policy?

This growing trend could have alarming consequences.

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