“Op-Ed: Think you want to die at home? You might want to think twice about that” – The Los Angeles Times
by Nathan Gray
“Gray is an assistant professor of medicine and palliative care at Duke University School of Medicine and an artist who draws comics on medical topics.” And this is an interesting way to get information on the subject of end of life care.
“You can go from an upstanding middle-class American citizen to completely under the eight ball.” | “Patients Stuck With Bills After Insurers Don’t Pay As Promised” – Kaiser Health News
“Darla Markley and her husband, Andy Markley, of Winter Park, Florida, tried to pay off their medical bills following tests Darla had done at the Mayo Clinic in 2010. Even after Mayo wrote off some of what they owed, her disability and Social Security checks barely covered her insurance premiums. Five years after her initial hospitalization, they had no choice but to declare bankruptcy.” (Zack Wittman for KHN)
by Lauren Weber
“The more than $34,000 in medical bills that contributed to Darla and Andy Markley’s bankruptcy and loss of their home in Beloit, Wisconsin, grew out of what felt like a broken promise.
“Darla Markley, 53, said her insurer had sent her a letter preapproving her to have a battery of tests at the Mayo Clinic in neighboring Minnesota after she came down with transverse myelitis, a rare, paralyzing illness that had kept her hospitalized for over a month. But after the tests found she also had beriberi, a vitamin deficiency, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield judged that the tests weren’t needed after all and refused to pay — although Markley said she and Mayo had gotten approval.
“While Darla learned to walk again, the Markleys tried to pay off the bills. Even after Mayo wrote off some of what they owed, her disability and Social Security checks barely covered her insurance premiums. By 2014, five years after her initial hospitalization, they had no choice but to declare bankruptcy.”
Read this article at Kaiser Health News in its entirety, click here.
by Karen Pollitz, MPPLunna Lopes, MAAudrey Kearney, MA; et al
“This Visualizing Health Policy infographic examines unexpected and ‘surprise’ medical bills in the United States. Out-of-network charges typically expose patients to higher cost-sharing when they use services and may lead to balance billing—in which health care providers bill patients directly, often at an unexpectedly higher rate. In the past 2 years, 1 in 5 insured adults had an unexpected medical bill from an out-of-network provider.
Overall, two-thirds of adults are worried about affording unexpected medical bills for themselves and their family. In emergency departments across the country, 18% of visits result in at least 1 surprise bill, but rates vary by state. Politically, majorities of Democrats and Republicans support government action to protect patients against these surprise bills. – kff.org
“‘How long do I have?’ A website on cancer survival rates, from the co-founder of GoodRx, seeks to provide clarity” – STATNews
by Elizabeth Cooney
“Talking about cancer is hard. Talking about your chances of surviving cancer is even harder.
“Now one of the entrepreneurs behind the drug-pricing information site GoodRx wants to make conversations about cancer easier with a new site called CancerSurvivalRates.com. Launched this month, its mission is to make information about cancer prognoses more accessible to patients and families. The idea is to improve on what people can find on the internet or even sometimes in their doctors’ offices, co-founder and drug supply chain veteran Stephen Buck said.
“Oncologists may be leery of their patients’ relying on the web for cancer survival rates or estimates of how long a patient might live, particularly given how many factors come into play for any individual. But Buck, along with oncologists and other experts who have served as advisers on the project, say such information can be the basis for a deeper discussion with clinicians about what the future might hold.”
Healthcare can be a great career path for individuals with disabilities as they can provide valuable perspectives and experiences that directly benefit patients. However, they also face many unique challenges in school and later as professionals, and it can be difficult to know where to turn for quality information.
To help, EduMed produced a comprehensive guidebook that addresses these challenges, gives students career recommendations that accommodate their disabilities, helps explain their rights under the ADA, and much more. You can read the entire guide at the link below.
EduMed knows that higher education can be the ticket to a rewarding career in medical and health. We also know that every student needs different things when it comes to education, whether a fully online program to maximize flexibility or help finding and securing financial aid or scholarships. To get students moving in the right direction, we work with hundreds of healthcare and higher education experts to provide well-researched and user-friendly content, from detailed school rankings of schools and programs to interviews with online program leaders at colleges and universities across the country. Learn how EduMed can help you succeed.
These patients are not aware of the true risks, and surgeons aren’t telling them, new research suggests.
by Paula Span
“The patient, a man in his 70s, had abdominal pain serious enough to send him to a VA Pittsburgh Healthcare hospital. Doctors there found the culprit: a gallstone had inflamed his pancreas.
“Dr. Daniel Hall, a surgeon who met with the patient, explained that pancreatitis can be fairly mild, as in this case, or severe enough to cause death. Recovery usually requires five to seven days, some of them in a hospital, during which the stone passes or a doctor uses a flexible scope to remove the blockage.
“But ‘because it can be life-threatening, after patients recover, we usually take out the gall bladder to prevent its happening again,’ Dr. Hall said.”
Read this article in its entirety at The New York Times.
“A Change in Medicare Has Therapists Alarmed | Medicare revamped its reimbursement policy for physical, occupational and speech therapy in nursing homes. That has left some patients with less help.” – The New York Times
by Paula Span
“In late September, a woman in her 70s arrived at a skilled nursing facility in suburban Houston after several weeks in the hospital. Her leg had been amputated after a long-ago knee replacement became infected; she also suffered from diabetes, depression, anxiety and general muscular weakness.
“An occupational therapist named Susan Nielson began working with her an hour a day, five days a week. Gradually, the patient became more mobile. With assistance and encouragement, she could transfer from her bed to a wheelchair, get herself to the bathroom for personal grooming and lift light weights to build her endurance.
“That progress ended abruptly on Oct. 1, when Medicare changed its payment system for physical, occupational and speech therapy in nursing homes.”
Click here to continue reading this New York Times article.
Although many consumers pay nothing out of pocket for flu shots, insurers foot the bill. And those prices vary dramatically. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
by Phil Galewitz
“In the Byzantine world of health care pricing, most people wouldn’t expect that the ubiquitous flu shot could be a prime example of how the system’s lack of transparency can lead to disparate costs.
“The Affordable Care Act requires health insurers to cover all federally recommended vaccines at no charge to patients, including flu immunizations. Although people with insurance pay nothing when they get their shot, many don’t realize that their insurers foot the bill — and that those companies will recoup their costs eventually.
“In just one small sample from one insurer, Kaiser Health News found dramatic differences among the costs for its own employees. At a Sacramento, Calif., facility, the insurer paid $85, but just a little more than half that at a clinic in Long Beach. A drugstore in Washington, D.C., was paid $32.”
Click here to read this article at California HealthLine in its entirety.
“Elusive Zzzzzzzs: Setting back clock won’t erase sleep deficit nagging older adults” – The Boston Globe
“JOHN TLUMACKI / GLOBE STAFF/GLOBE STAFF
by Robert Weisman
“Will you enjoy an extra hour of sleep when daylight saving time ends Sunday?
“Many sleep-deprived seniors, after dutifully setting back their clocks Saturday night, will mark the occasion doing what they’re often doing in the wee hours: tossing and turning, nudging snoring spouses, and fretting about being awake.
“It’s a cruel irony for older adults. At a time of life when they should be able to relax, after decades of raising children and trudging to work, falling and staying asleep are more challenging than ever. Chalk it up to rising anxiety, changing circadian rhythms, and unhealthy habits, ranging from late-day caffeine and alcohol intake to nonstop digital interruptions.”
Continue reading this article in its entirety at The Boston Globe, click here.
“Every fall, the 60 million Americans who use the health plan can compare options and save money. Here’s what to consider.”
Credit: Corey Brickley
by Mark Miller
“If you’re enrolled in Medicare but worry about the cost of health care, your chance to do something about it is right around the corner.
“Most people enroll in Medicare when they become eligible at age 65. But every fall, they have the opportunity to change their coverage during an enrollment season that runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. This is the time of year when you can switch between original fee-for-service Medicare and Medicare Advantage, the all-in-one managed care alternative to the traditional program. You also can re-evaluate your prescription drug coverage — whether that is a stand-alone Part D plan, or wrapped into an Advantage plan.
“It’s a good idea to do a checkup on your coverage, even if you are happy with your current choices.”
Free, Objective, Expert Medicare Counseling
“The APPRISE program offers free Medicare counseling to older Pennsylvanians. APPRISE counselors are specially trained to answer your questions and provide you with objective, easy-to-understand information about Medicare, Medicare Supplemental Insurance, Medicaid, and Long-Term Care Insurance.”
Each county’s Area Agency on Aging has APPRISE counselors to help you understand the options and opportunities.