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  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , healthcare, ,   

    Insulin prices have killed again 

    Insulin prices have killed again

    Previously we’ve discussed how insulin is being priced out of the reach of many people who require the drug to keep their diabetes under control. Without proper medication, diabetes can become very dangerous very quickly. When insulin was first discovered the people who first discovered it refused to commercialize the drug claiming that it was unethical to profit from such a life-saving innovation. In the decades since that kind of altruism seems to have ceased to exist. Sadly, that loss of philanthropy has cost at least one man his life.

    A 27-year-old man from Northern Virginia suffered from Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 the type of diabetes that you’re born with as opposed to Type 2 which develops through obesity. The man in question aged out of his parents’ health insurance and the insurance from his job was limited at best. He could no longer afford the $1,200 a month inulin cost. Instead, he purchased a $25 per vial from insulin that can be bought over the counter. Unfortunately, the over the counter insulin wasn’t effective enough for the man’s Type 1 diabetes and he died from a stroke after falling into a diabetic coma.

    In a country that’s supposed to be a world leader in medicine, we’re punishing people for having illnesses that they have no control of. If they’re not having the price of their medications raised beyond reason, they’re being crippled with debt over the cost of repeated treatments. Then the public is told by politicians that while this kind of treatment is regrettable that’s just the way it is. Until the medical infrastructure in this country is overhauled, we’ll continue to suffer scores of preventable fatalities.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , healthcare, , prescription drugs   

    Will Canadian drugs reduce healthcare costs? 

    Will Canadian drugs reduce healthcare costs?

    If you’ve been following healthcare news for the past few years you’ve no doubt heard the stories of skyrocketing prescription drug costs. Whether it’s the life-saving EpiPen, alleged price-fixing between pharmaceutical manufacturers or exorbitant fees for insulin it hasn’t been the best time for consumers who rely on any kind of prescription medication. The current pharmaceutical market seems to be stifling innovation and competition for the sake of larger and larger profits while many Americans continue to go without their medication. Now the Trump Administration, of all people, is proposing a new way of reducing the cost of prescription drugs.

    President Trump is said to be drafting a proposal that would allow the U.S. to import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada. As of right now, it’s illegal to import any drugs from foreign countries. Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders also approves of importing prescription drugs from other countries as it would increase competition and lower prices.

    As you might imagine, the pharmaceutical industry opposes this move as they feel it would undermine the safety of US patients. However, it’s not like Canada doesn’t have a world-class healthcare system. Not only that but the drugs that would be imported would be limited to only drugs that are currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The new proposal would also likely face challenges in the court as the pharmaceutical lobby does have deep pockets.

    While this new proposal would be welcome by many Americans struggling to pay for their medications, it unfortunately will not take place overnight. However, it is encouraging to see that in these trying political times that both sides of the aisle are willing to work toward a common cause that could actually benefit the American people.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: alternative medicine, cancer, dementia, , healthcare,   

    Hospitals suing patients over bills and more! 

    Hospitals suing patients over bills and more!

    Today we’re bringing you some healthcare news that could not only affect your wallet but your overall well being too.

    First up is a story from NPR about a number of non-profit hospitals that are taking their patients to court for unpaid bills. In the legal sense, these hospitals do have the right to pursue unpaid medical expenses, however, the majority of people being sued are those who are already struggling to cover expenses as it is. These are the same people who usually only seek medical help if it’s absolutely necessary or life-threatening due to the financial strain of just a routine doctor visit. This practice is said to betray the spirit of many of the early hospitals in our country. Many of those hospitals were opened by churches to provide medical treatment to anyone who needed it regardless of social status. Now, some of these hospitals are just adding to the suffering of many low-income families.

    The Washington Post brings us a report about the misleading health information that can be found on many social media outlets. The article specifically talks about many of the supposed all-natural remedies that claim to cure cancer. One woman who had posted videos on her ‘cures’ later succumbed to cancer, yet her family left the videos up believing in the power of snake oil over medicine. You’ll find this on just about all social networks with claims that everything from baking soda to essential oils, to small doses of bleach, can cure cancer. They can’t. There is no cure for cancer and it can only go into remission with treatment from medical professionals. There are diets that can help fight cancer but they can’t stop cancer alone. If you want good medical advice, turn to your doctor and not social media.

    Lastly is probably the most worrying story for today. The New York Times tells us about a study that claims the use of several well-known medications could lead to dementia in older patients. The most notable of these medications are diphenhydramine, better known as Benadryl, and the antidepressant Paxil. It needs to be mentioned that the study doesn’t claim that these medications and others like them will definitely lead to dementia, however, if you’re 55 or over and take one of the medications mentioned in the study regularly, you may want to consult with your doctor about potential risks and other treatments.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , healthcare, , Tufts Medical Center   

    Robocalls could be a health hazard! 

    Robocalls could be a health hazard!

    Yesterday, we talked about how robocalls have become such a nuisance in our day to day lives and what the government is doing to try to stop them. Normally, we wouldn’t be talking about them again so soon as we like to give our readers some variety. However, news recently came out about how robocalls could potentially put lives in danger. As we previously stated, many people have taken to ignoring most phone calls if they don’t recognize the number. But what if you weren’t able to ignore any incoming calls? That’s exactly what happened to one prominent hospital last year.

    On April 30th of 2018, Tufts Medical Center in Boston received an onslaught of robocalls to their facility. The hospital received thousands of robocalls that tied up their phone lines for hours. The calls were in Mandarin Chinese threatening deportation if the person receiving the call did not divulge their personal information. This is a common scam perpetrated on new residents of our country and Tufts happens to be in Boston’s Chinatown. As you’ve probably guessed, facilities like Tufts can’t exactly take their phones off the hook or let them go unanswered. To do so would be putting their patients’ lives in jeopardy. Now imagine a busy hospital where not only do the staff have to treat patients but also have to deal with constantly ringing phones that are nothing but scam calls.

    While there has yet to be any evidence that these robocalls to hospitals have impacted anyone’s treatment negatively, they definitely have the potential to cause enough chaos to do so. If a large hospital was responding to a major disaster and came under attack from one of these robocall outbreaks it could seriously hamper their efforts to treat gravely injured patients.

    Unfortunately, most of these robocalls come from overseas where it would be hard to track and prosecute the perpetrators. Hopefully, the government and the phone carriers can come up with a plan to put an end to robocalls once and for all before they become dangerous.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , healthcare,   

    Insulin prices are killing patients! 

    Insulin prices are killing patients!

    We think that it goes without saying that Diabetes is no joke. The metabolic disorder can affect anyone regardless of age, social status, or background. This requires the majority of diabetes patients to be on an insulin regimen for the rest of their lives. When insulin was first discovered the people who first discovered it refused to commercialize the drug claiming that it seemed unethical to profit from such a critical and life-saving drug. However, it seems like today’s pharmaceutical manufacturers have no such qualms about prioritizing profits over treatment.

    Over the past decade or so, prices of insulin have skyrocketed even though there have been no major advancements in the manufacturing process. While there are three companies that make insulin in the US, their prices aren’t what you could consider competitive as they’re all equally expensive pricing insulin out of the reach of many who need the drug to live. This has led many patients to try to ration their insulin supply which isn’t recommended. This can and has led to some patients dying from lack of insulin. This has forced many people seeking treatment to buy their insulin in Canada where not only can you buy insulin over the counter but you can buy it at a tenth of the US price.

    However, this is not a viable option for most diabetes patients. Some can hardly afford to leave their own city let alone travel to Canada. This has led to people forming ‘grey markets’ where they can buy or trade for supplies to help treat their diabetes. In what is supposed to be one of the most medically advanced countries in the world, people are dying because they can’t afford a drug that they need just to survive. Something can be done about this, however, those who control the supply refuse to do anything.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , healthcare, , , quest diagnostics   

    Giant medical lab bleeds patient information! 

    Medical lab bleeds patient information!

    If you’ve ever had a blood test at your doctor’s office that they had to send to a lab, chances are that they may have sent it to Quest Diagnostics. Quest is one of if not the largest medical testing corporation in the country. Due to the sheer amount of testing and processing that Quest does, they must have their logistics down to a T to be able to handle so many patients. However, recent events have shown that even a well-oiled machine is vulnerable to breakdown.

    Within the past few days, it’s been reported that Quest has had a patient data breach on a massive scale. According to reports, close to 12 million patients have had their personal data exposed due to a billing vendor giving unauthorized access to an unidentified person. This information is said to have included financial information such as credit card numbers, medical information, and personal information. Quest claims that the results of any testing have not been exposed but they have also notified law enforcement of the breach.

    Besides being a PR nightmare for Quest, this could end up being very costly for them as well. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA as it’s better known as the government could levy hefty fines against both Quest and their billing vendor for compromising such information. So far the largest HIPAA violation fine has been $5.5 million levied against a hospital that allegedly exposed over 100,000 patients’ information. With Quest and its vendor reportedly exposing the information of 12 million patients we could sadly see a new record being set.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , healthcare, , teachers   

    Should teachers have to pay for their own substitutes when sick? 

    Should teachers have to pay for their own substitutes when sick?

    The one profession that is probably the most underpaid but most needed is a school teacher. In a state like California that is possibly the richest state in the country, you might think that teachers are paid a fair wage and have a decent benefits package. As one story has shown us recently that may not be the case. A San Francisco teacher who is currently undergoing cancer treatment has to pay for her substitute out of her own paycheck. Sadly, this is not some rare exception for California teachers as it’s been this way since the ’70s.

    The teacher in question has half of her paycheck deducted each pay period to pay for her temporary replacement while she undergoes treatment. Public school teachers in California don’t pay into the state disability insurance program and can’t draw benefits from it. The teachers only get 10 sick days a year and 100 extended days of sick leave. It’s during these sick leaves when they have to pay for a substitute teacher out of their own pockets.

    In many instances, teachers on extended leave are more concerned with getting better than fighting this drastic cut in pay. However, many teachers return to work too soon in order to try to provide for their families. No family should have to worry about losing their home or worse when trying to recover from a major illness. Is it time that we not only rethought how we treated our teachers but the whole healthcare paradigm as well?

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FDA, glucose meters, hate groups, , healthcare, , test strips, , video doorbells   

    FDA warns about test strips, video doorbells being stolen, and Airbnb to ban hate groups 

    FDA warns about test strips, video doorbells being stolen, and Airbnb to ban hate groups

    If you happen to have a condition where the use of glucose meters and test strips are required, the FDA has issued a warning about using pre-owned test strips that you may find for sale online. While there has not been a report of these strips impacting anybody’s health negatively yet, the FDA warns against the practice of purchasing pre-owned strips as they could potentially give out incorrect readings which could lead to imbalances in the delicate measurement of medicine required to aid in keeping your condition under control. While it may seem like a way to save money, the FDA is also saying that some of these strips have been banned from the US as they’ve been known to cause infections. The mixing and matching of meters and test strips is something the FDA has been trying to discourage for years.

    If you have a video doorbell designed to keep thieves away from your front door, you may be facing a new issue lately. it’s now being reported that a rash of video doorbell thefts have been occurring in many major population centers across the US. Even though the higher-end doorbells have been recording the thefts, there haven’t been an equal amount of arrests. This is due to the fact that either police do not have the resources to track down every doorbell thief or that the thieves are disguising themselves before stealing the items. As can be expected with most stolen items, they can end up for sale online. Both of the major manufacturers of these types of doorbells, Ring and Nest, both have programs to assist customers whose devices have been stolen. However, it is always recommended that you contact the police first.

    Gizmodo is reporting that Airbnb is actively trying to dissuade and in some cases outright banning hate groups from using their service. A convention being held by hate groups as designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center later this year. Gizmodo brought it to the attention of Airbnb that many attendees of the convention had planned to use Airbnb while participating at the convention. Airbnb has said that these hate groups violate their community standards and will look to enforce that policy and have already banned several well-known members of these groups. How Airbnb will choose to keep these groups from using their services in the future remains to be seen.

     
  • Geebo 10:26 am on February 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Adam Schiff, Andrew Wakefield, anti-vaxxers, healthcare, , vaccines   

    Should social media companies police anti-vaxx groups? 

    Should social media companies police anti-vaxx groups?

    There once was a time in this country when people were grateful for advancements in medical science such as the polio vaccine. People of a certain age still bare the small scar that the initial polio vaccines carried but such a small price to be paid to prevent such a horrible disease. Then in the late 1990s, a British doctor by the name of Andrew Wakefield publishes a study that alleged a link between childhood vaccines and autism. Even though Wakefield’s claims were quickly disproven that hasn’t stopped an entire movement of people who refuse to vaccinate their children over fears of their children becoming autistic. This movement has been dubbed by many as the Anti-Vaxx movement and has proliferated across the internet.

    Anti-Vaxx groups have found their core audience on places like Facebook and YouTube where their misinformation continues to find a top footing among the sites’ search algorithms. Because of that, U.S. Representative Adam Schiff wrote to both Google and Facebook requesting they take action claiming that these Anti-Vaxx groups are a “direct threat to public health” and that it undoes “progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases.” Facebook responded by saying that they were looking into the matter. Meanwhile, pockets of outbreaks of diseases that were almost thought to have been eradicated have reemerged. So the question remains should companies like Facebook and Google do something about Anti-Vaxxer groups?

    Neither of these companies has to be a complete censorship tyrant when it comes to Anti-Vaxxing. However, due to the overwhelming scientific evidence in favor of vaccinating children against these preventable diseases, they can tweak their search algorithms to better promote more responsible content. Just in doing the research for this post, the Google search for Andrew Wakefield came up with more content about how Wakefield was supposedly maligned rather than being debunked. We realize that some people will never be shaken from their misguided belief that vaccines cause autism but if new people could be stopped from being indoctrinated into this dangerous belief then the better off our children and future generations will be.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: healthcare, Humana,   

    Is retail’s venture into healthcare dangerous? 

    Is retail's venture into healthcare dangerous?

    The Wall Street Journal is reporting that retail giant Walmart may be in talks to acquire one of the nation’s leading health insurers in Humana. If the acquisition talks were to be true, this would just be the latest in a series of talks between retail outlets and healthcare providers, but is it a good trend?

    Currently, pharmacy chain CVS is in talks to purchase Aetna, and Amazon has been looking to get into the pharmacy management business. With these acquisitions are we headed to a future if a healthcare cabal where only a few corporations can control reimbursement rates? It does seem to appear that way.

    With retail heading towards a duopoly between Walmart and Amazon these two companies once again are showing signs of trying to be all things to all people by also trying to control healthcare. If this trend continues, we may be seeing a single payer healthcare system in our future, but not one administered by the government for all citizens but rather by the profit driven iron fist of a possible single corporate entity for only those who could possibly afford it.

     
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