Legislative | Regulatory

PRICELE$$ – Life Expectancy isn’t even in Top 50

PRICELE$$ - See original at BestNursingMasters.comRanking countries by life expectancy, the United States isn’t even in the top 50. We even rank behind Guam. Why?

  • SLEEP — Could it be our high stress and deficient sleep? Sleep deprivation (sleeping less than 6 hours/night when we need 7-9) is associated with 2.5 times higher Diabetes risk, 62% increase in risk of Breast Cancer, 48% increased risk of Heart Disease, 27% higher Obesity risk, and even higher risk of developing early Alzheimer’s. Heck, it makes you 20% more likely to die in 20 years.  Read the rest of this entry »

“Health Care Should be a Team Sport”

Intel’s Eric Dishman is known as a leading medical tech specialist and has given TED talks before, but in this one he shares his very personal story to suggest some bold ideas for reinventing healthcare — by putting the patient at the center of a treatment team. When was in college, doctors told him he had 2 to 3 years to live. That was a long time ago, and one rectified diagnosis and a transplant later, Dishman is still here, thankfully for all of us. (Filmed at TED@Intel)

The Underestimated Caregiver Burden

The number of family caregivers is declining.By Henry Moss (original at American Society on Aging)

Caregiver burden is emotional and subjective. We try to measure it by looking at rates of depression and anxiety disorders in the caregiver population, and at the seriousness of these disorders. We know the highest rates of emotional burden and the deepest levels of depression are felt by caregivers who experience entrapment—a sense of powerlessness, aloneness and suffering associated with long periods of caregiving for the most difficult elders, especially those with dementia. We are aware of the many studies showing how excess stress and emotional burden can impact a caregiver’s health, finances and family life, creating even more anxiety and depression.

We already know that the 45- to 64-year-old population will grow only 1 percent between 2010 and 2030, while the age 80 and older baby boomer population increases by 79 percent. As the age 80 and older baby boomer cohort grows, the number of family caregivers available to assist them drops dramatically, from 7.5 in 2010 to 2.9 in 2050, a more than 50 percent decline. Alarm bells have been going off and researchers and advocates have been busy estimating the impact on the long-term-care system. Read the rest of this entry »

Early-Stage Obamacare – How’s it Going?

Is your glass Half Empty, or Half Ful?EDITOR: Opinions of Obamacare, and whether it’s a glass half empty or half full, depend largely on one’s political viewpoint and sources of your information. Opponents of the law, including many in the medical industrial complex with lots to lose if health reform cuts costs, often cite articles hinting that it’s a failure, while proponents cite articles highlighting successes and progress. The mainstream media, in efforts to generate buzz and attention, seem to stoke the fires of controversy by avoiding the hard task of investigative journalism and simply publishing inflammatory stories fed to them by either political party without checking the facts. Then again, the official government numbers, which you can believe or not based on your politics, present a moving target. So, I’m more interested in the trends and the long-term implications and publish today’s byline article with some editorial comments added.

Early-Stage Obamacare:
A Checkup on the Health of the Affordable Care Act Thus Far

By Paisley Hansen

What will be the ultimate impact–for good or bad–of the Affordable Care Act on Americans? Although it’s still too early to tell, a January 13 article by the Associated Press posted on AOL sheds some light on the health status of Obamacare thus far [2.2M through December, 2013]. Read the rest of this entry »

The High Cost of Health Care – Infographic

High Cost of Health CareBlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina produced the following infographic about the high cost of health care, and I added the following comment.

The key to getting costs under control is to get the incentives right all along the health care continuum.

PAYERS — Where insurance companies once were able to control profits by selecting only the healthiest customers and cutting off those who became too expensive, that’s no longer the case under Obamacare, so they’re finding new ways to stay profitable, including extending wellness programs, which were initially developed for self-insured corporations, to their other customers. They’re also offering deep discounts on premiums to customers willing to accept higher deductibles and copays, giving them more skin in the game. Some are even starting to pay for medical tourism and home health care with telehealth video consultations and the necessary medical devices and home modifications when the costs are less and outcomes better. That’s promising. Read the rest of this entry »

US Health Care vs The World

World PopulationsWe have well over 700 health care infographics on Pinterest and are in process of manually indexing them HERE. This one is especially interesting. Using data from the World Health Organization, it shows that Americans spend well over twice as much per person on health care than other developed nations, yet we tend to live sicker and die younger.

Summary for screen readers:

Demographic & Social Economic Statistics – The chart shows 2011 population size with China first with 1.35 billion people, followed by India with 1.24 billion, and the US third with 313 million.

Gross National Income per Capita – Singapore came in first even though it has one of the smaller populations with just over 5 million people, followed by the US at number two and Germany at number three. Read the rest of this entry »

Fixing Health Care

Health Reform

Click image to browse other health reform articles (90+ from different perspectives).

By Wayne Caswell, Modern Health Talk founder

An NPR story this week described a Congressional Budget Office report that tied health care to recent and future increases in the federal deficit, suggesting that the Affordable Care Act was a start but that we need much more to rein in health care costs by 2020, due to the aging baby boomers.

“A fairly accurate summary of the federal budget is that the U.S. does not have a deficit problem — it has a health care problem,” said Harvard economist and health policy specialist David Cutler.

I responded with my own ideas on reducing health care costs.

13 ways to reign in health care

1.  First, understand the economic benefits of a healthy and productive workforce, and realize that Americans spend twice as much on health care but still live sicker and die younger, per the World Health Organization.  Read the rest of this entry »

US Healthcare Spending to hit $3.8 Trillion in 2014

Dan Munro wrote that annual U.S. healthcare spending will hit $3.8 trillion this year (~21% of GDP). There’s good info in his Forbes article and the referenced Deloitte report, but it should not be taken politically one way or another. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) data shows a slow bending of the cost curve, where the increases in health care expenditures are slowing slightly, the increase is slower than the economy, and it’s slightly slower than in previous years. Still, many of us hope to see costs decline outright, and by a lot.

Total Health Care Expenditures Grew 19% from 2006 to 2010.

The past four years have seen a gradual slowing in health care expenditure annual growth rate. The percentage change from the previous year slowed between 2007 and 2010: 5.9 percent in 2007, 4.7 percent in 2008, and 3.7 percent in 2009 and 2010.

To me, the real value is recognizing that there are hidden costs not captured in the official 2012 estimate of $2.8 trillion/year. Read the rest of this entry »

Austin Requires New Homes to be Accessible

Wheelchair Lady doing Laundry

Austin city council passes accessibility,
ramp ordinances for new homes

AUSTIN, TX (1/30/2014) — After two years of working on an ordinance amendment, the Austin City Council passed changes Thursday that will require all new homes be more accessible and visitable to people with mobility disabilities.

The idea to require changes to make housing more accessible first came up inside City Hall back in 1998. That’s when Austin adopted the changes for homes built with city funds. The intention was that it would lead to an across the board policy, but that never came to be.

City staff and council members have spent the last two years working with stakeholders to draft an ordinance amendment.

After much debate, and several postponements, the council passed the ordinance amendment 6-1 with Mayor Lee Leffingwell voting against the measure. Read the rest of this entry »

We Endorse Telehealth Across State Lines

Medicine Unplugged: Your phone, your DNA, your data

By Wayne Caswell

Modern Health Talk strongly endorses telehealth and efforts to break down barriers to wider adoption nationwide. The TELE-MED Act of 2013 (HR 3077) is still not out of committee but is intended to start breaking down barriers related to licensure and payment when medical care is given online across state lines, starting with Medicare providers. Hopefully Congress will pass this bill and then start extending telehealth to all insurance carriers. Read the rest of this entry »

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