Seven Days in November:
Healthcare and the Road Ahead

Tweet As if an acrimonious campaign and stunning election were not enough, the past seven days have been rife with anxiety and fear that the Republic is crumbling. In healthcare, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicare, Medicaid–and you name it–many federal entitlements– are at risk of evisceration, with nothing substantive to replace it intended or on

Will Patients Win with Transparent Hospital-Bill Mandates?

Tweet If you had a chance to read Steve Brill’s enormous piece on outrageous hospital bills in Time earlier this year, you probably found it an eye-opener.  Speaking before Physicians for a National Health Program meeting in New York last night, Brill said: “The anger is really building.” Brill is making the rounds now, speaking

Medicare Case a Win For Patients
With Chronic, Debilitating Conditions, Disabilities

Tweet Patients on Medicare with chronic conditions and disabilities will no longer have to show improvement to get skilled care and therapy services, according to a proposed settlement of a class action suit, Jimmo v. Sebelius. The settlement clarifies the standard for Medicare coverage, ending the practice of denying coverage to patients deemed no longer

Six Outrageous Threats to Labor and The Public’s Health

Tweet   When public policy undermines the public’s health, patient empowerment is not really on the table. Patients may be well informed, doctors may share unbiased, good information, but if public policy does not support public health, patient empowerment is just not there. Today, I take up Labor Day and six threats to labor and

How Avoidable are Hospital Readmissions for Heart Failure?

Tweet I knew an elderly man who suffered from heart failure. Every few years, he would get to the point where he couldn’t walk very far, his feet swelled, and he had repeated hospitalizations to get stabilized and get his medication in line. Then, the hospitalizations would stop. He managed reasonably well for some years

My $5,000 Tooth and the Institute of Medicine Dental Report

Tweet What a coincidence! The Institute of Medicine released a report today titled Improving Access to Oral Health Care for Vulnerable and Underserved Populations and I am one step further in my saga of trying to save a tooth! It is looking good in the save-the-tooth department, but this dental care is breaking my wallet.

Alzheimer’s Disease Issues – Day 2:
Let’s Keep the Conversation Going

Tweet I spent today at an all day Alzheimer’s meeting, taking notes and tweeting. I am also exhausted. Many of you know that this is my 23rd consecutive day blogging here. There are a lot of pluses to posting every day, but on a night like this, where I have been focusing all day on

When Colorectal Cancer Screening is Too Much, Too Frequent, or Not Enough

Tweet No other disease advocacy group has built as effective an awareness campaign as the cancer societies. It has helped to build support for prevention, research, and treatments, but I wonder whether excess awareness could be contributing to the overuse of colorectal cancer screening in older people. They have been exposed to this message for