Hospital Prices No Longer Secret As New Data Reveals Bewildering System, Staggering Cost Differences
When a patient arrives at Bayonne Hospital Center in New Jersey requiring treatment for the respiratory ailment known as COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, she faces an official price tag of $99,690.
Less than 30 miles away in the Bronx, N.Y., the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center charges only $7,044 for the same treatment, according to a massive federal database of national health care costs made public on Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »
I post this new video because of the direct relationships between:
- Special interest lobbying and policies resulting in a widening of income & wealth gaps,
- The widening wealth gaps and poverty,
- Poverty and obesity,
- Obesity and diabetes and other chronic illness,
- Chronic illness and rising healthcare costs, and
- Rising healthcare costs and our economic problems.
Wealth Inequality in America
In his 38-page TIME magazine special report, Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us, Steven Brill dives into our health care system to understand why things cost so much, avoiding the more traditional question of who pays for what. What he found was both disturbing and telling. (His 3:38 min video introduction is at the end.)
His first story starts with the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, a nonprofit facility of the University of Texas, as he follows a patient who had to prepay $48,900 for six days of testing just to determine his cancer treatment regimen, which could easily run half a million dollars. An analysis of the itemized list of confusing charges showed that they were inflated as much as 100 times over retail prices, even before the hospital’s leveraged buying power. Those costs were also way higher than what Medicare would pay for the same tests, procedures and drugs.
MD Anderson, with its 19,000 employees, is one of the city’s top-10 employers, and its CEO last year was paid $1,845,000. Four other hospitals in the 1,300-acre Texas Medical Center are also in the top-10. Clearly, healthcare is a big business, but who’s making the money if it’s not doctors, nurses and technicians? It’s the hospitals, insurance companies, drug companies, equipment providers, and testing companies. Read the rest of this entry »
According to AARP, 43.5 million Americans are caregivers, and although they do it out of love and obligation, caring for a loved one takes a personal and financial toll.
The economic impact is surprisingly high. It was over $480B/year in 2009, a figure that includes lost worker productivity, reduced earning capacity & retirement income, and increases in their own physical & emotional health and related costs. That’s about 3.2% of the U.S. GDP ($14.1 trillion in 2009). It’s more than the $361B in Medicaid spending. And it’s nearly as much as the $509B in 2009 Medicare spending. It’s also more than half of what we spend on defense. The burden is even worse for long-distance caregivers.
The infographic below details caregiving in the U.S. Read the rest of this entry »
Jack and Jill went up the hill
Up Jack got, and home did trot,
By Wayne Caswell
Jack and Jill were in their late 60s and had been married for 37 years when Jack suffered a severe stroke and required care beyond the abilities of his partner. After leaving the hospital, he went into a nursing home, and the family home was sold to pay for his care, which was expensive and projected exceed $84,000 per year.
Jill couldn’t maintain the big house herself and couldn’t afford it either, so she moved into a small apartment alone, without her lifelong mate. Being separated affected the couple’s morale, but worse was that it affected their health and their finances. Without long-term-care insurance, their life savings were depleted quickly before Medicaid finally kicked in. And now the grown children had two places to visit to support their declining parents. It didn’t have to be that way.
Just as in the nursery rhyme, Jack goes home and recovers more quickly there – in familiar and loving surroundings where Jane hires professionals to help care for him. That decision lets the couple stay together, and the kids have just one place to visit.
Universal Design was not offered when they built their home, and even though renovating the home for wheelchair accessibility often costs as much as $50,000, they felt it was financially better than the alternative. The project was entirely funded with home equity, so they didn’t even have to touch their retirement money, or the kid’s future inheritance. You see, Jack and Jill are like most American seniors, 90% of whom would rather live at home as long as possible and are willing to seek help to do that.
This article presents statistics about the Home Healthcare Opportunity (see more statistics) and an infographic about Long Term Care costs (from Northwest Mutual).
“We can save Trillions by moving at least 50% of healthcare services from institutions to homes.” (Eric Dishman, Intel)
- Boomers have a “fierce” desire to remain independent.(AARP)
- >90% of people 65+ want to age at home if safe as long as possible.
- This will lead to an expansion of organizations offering home- and community-based care.
- Avg. Nursing Home private room = $83,000 a yearin 2010. Assisted Living rent = $39,000 a year. (MetLife)
- Avg. Independent Living Community = $32,000/yr (Long Term Living Magazine)
- Avg. In-Home Care = $18,000/yr (health aid, meals on wheels, maid, etc.)
- Global Home Healthcare market = $40.5 billion in 2009, growing to $67 billion by 2016 (GBI Research)
- US Digital Health market = $5.7B by 2015 with 55% CAGR (Parks Associates)
- US Home Remote Monitoring = $295M by 2015 (Frost & Sullivan)
- US Remote Patient Monitoring = $7.1B in 2010, with 25.4% ACGR and 2015 estimate of $22.2 billion (Kalorama Information)
- Health & Fitness Apps market = >$400 million in 2016 (ABI Research)
- Global mHealth market = $10B by 2016 (mHealth Networking Group on LinkedIn)
- With over 72% of the globe connected via mobile technology and over 60% of US physicians owning tablet devices, the promise of mobile health to profoundly impact, on the delivery of healthcare cannot be understated.
- Most of these physicians are using iPads and about half of all tablet-toting physicians use the devices at the point of care.
- Asia Pacific mHealth market = $7B by 2017 (GSMA)
- >20,000 medical/health apps = 3rd fastest-growing, with 60% aimed at consumers vs. health professionals
- U.S. Health Care Fraud = $80 billion per year. (conservative estimate from CNBC’s Health Care Hustle series) Read the rest of this entry »
The following infographic shows that a typical 22 year old worker and his employer can expect to pay over $4,000,000 in his lifetime for healthcare and health insurance. That number seemed awfully high, so I created a spreadsheet model to see if I could match it. I did, and here are my assumptions.
- Starting salary at age 22 = $53,000 ($870,000/year by age 70)
- Annual salary increase = 6% compounded
- Percent of income for healthcare = 18%, increasing by 0.3% per year
I assumed a modest salary that increased at 6% compounded each year, but that’s a simplistic view since raises are larger earlier in a career and generally taper off (or even go negative) as you get older. I calculated to age 70 to account for longer lifespans and the likelihood that young people will continue working that long by then.
Here is full text of an article by by by Jodi G. Daniel / JD MPH, Director of the Office of Policy and Planning at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. It is provided with full attribution and a link to the original article but without copyright concerns, because I believe it’s important enough to be promoted widely and don’t expect any complaints. If, however, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) asks me to remove it, I will surely do so.
According to this Associated Press article by Hope Yen, America is swiftly becoming a granny state.
Less frail and more involved, today’s grandparents are shunning retirement homes and stepping in more than ever to raise grandchildren while young adults struggle in the poor economy.
Census data shows that grandparents make up 1 in 4 adults and are growing at twice the rate of the overall population. They’re projected to make up 1 in 3 adults by 2020.
Not yet frail or disabled, grandparents are increasingly shunning retirement homes to stay close to family. AARP says 90% of them would rather age-in-place in their own home than be forced into institutional care, and that’s the primary audience of Modern Health Talk.
Baby Boomers, also called the “sandwich generation” because their time is split between their grown children and grandchildren on one hand and more senior parents on the other, are relatively affluent and tech-aware. They’re motivated to find solutions that lets them live the lifestyle they want and can generally afford them. That includes home modifications with Universal Design principals that work for any age or ability, digital home technologies that include video chats with remote family and friends, and telehealth solutions for home health care.
Read the AP article for the whole story.
Story by Emily Liedel, video produced by Tamir Elterman, Farhod Family and Emily Liedel
In late spring, 81-year-old Anna Novak got up to use the bathroom in the early hours when her feet stopped cooperating with the rest of her body. She fell, hitting her head and left arm against the bathtub. “Antimina!” she yelled.
Antimina Garmley, the 65-year-old retired nurse who has lived with Anna Novak since July 2010, was sleeping in the next room. She jumped out of bed and ran into the bathroom. Kevin Novak, about to get ready for work, heard his mother scream, and hurried across the hall.
Anna Novak had broken a finger, dislocated her wrist and gashed her left eyebrow. Her son picked her up off the floor and Garmley bandaged her head before driving her to the hospital. Kevin Novak, a sewage treatment technician, went to work as scheduled. …continued…