May 5, 2012

Friday Tidbits 05-04-12 on Saturday

With so many things in the news this week, and many of them worth writing about, I felt it necessary to put Friday tidbits on a Saturday this time. I hope you think this is worth your time as much as I enjoyed reading and writing about these topics.

The first item is about using oxygen to regenerate bone. This could be very important for our soldiers, and then for others like those with diabetes having healing and amputation problems. The results of the Department of Defense-funded study were presented at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting, held in conjunction with the Experimental Biology conference in San Diego.

Multiple research teams have been trying to figure out what makes that huge difference between regrowth here and no regrowth there. The Tulane lab, in particular, has been investigating which genes are turned on, which proteins are expressed and which molecular activities change at the site of amputation over time.

The second article or blog exposes some of tricks our “caring” hospitals play on unsuspecting Medicare patients. Since Medicare will not cover some of the tricks hospitals commonly play, the full cost gets shoved on patients and some of these costs are exorbitant and falsely inflated as high as 800 percent for some over-the-counter pills.

What hospitals are doing is admitting patients as observational patients and not an inpatient status. This is their way of billing full costs to the patient and saving money for Medicare program payments. If there is a way to get the money, hospitals are finding ways of passing costs onto the patients and at the same time registering the patient for savings in the Medicare program. This is what I would term getting money in both hands and overcharging the patient and Medicare. Double dipping is another term that comes to mind.

What patients on Medicare are advised to do is check with their supplemental coverage plan to find out if indeed hospitals in their coverage can get by not notifying them of their status and billing requirements. Medicare does not care and will not cover, but in some states the supplemental plans require a hospital to notify the patient and get their signature before they can bill them.

I strongly suggest that you take the time to read this and then familiarize yourself with the rules in your state. Whether this is for yourself or another family member, know that forewarned is forearmed. This is one way to prevent being taken advantage of by our uncaring and unscrupulous hospitals.

The last item is on the American health care system and why we have less to say in our healthcare costs than any other developed country. What Americans do control in healthcare spending has declined faster than it has in any other developed country in the last few decades for which we have data.

The data shows that the United States has been moving in the wrong direction by removing health dollars from patients' control. In turn it has been putting your healthcare dollars in the hands of the government and insurers to spend. No other developed country has allowed its citizens to lose almost half of their healthcare dollars in the last twenty years.

In Canada, where a government monopoly over residents' access top health care is in place, the share of health spending controlled by patients has remained unchanged. With this happening, Canadians now enjoy more direct control over their health dollars than Americans do.

This tells us that we need to make some changes and regain the advantage by making long-term goals to return control of our healthcare funds and make this a top priority in the coming election.

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