Archive for Tom Emerick

Misdiagnosis could affect 12M U.S. adults annually, study finds

This headline is not news to readers of Cracking Health Costs. I continue to be delighted that  the “mainstream” media is waking up to this sort of thing. For decades they merely blasted insurers for high rate increases and ignored the prime drivers of high health costs.

This headline was taken from a Reuters article by Curtis Skinner. Click here to read the full article.  Writes Skinner, “Roughly 12 million adults who visit U.S. doctors’ offices and other outpatient settings, or one in 20, are misdiagnosed every year, a new study has found, and half of those errors could lead to serious harm.” 

One in twenty is 5%, of course, but that statistic really understates the problem.  The few “outliers” who spend 80% of plan dollars and have complex health problems are misdiagnosed at a rate of 10-20%.

There is huge variation between health centers in terms of making diagnostic errors, huge. Solution: send your “outliers” to clinics that have a good history of getting complex diagnoses right and offering best treatments as well.

___________________________________________________________________________

Tom Emerick

Cracking Health Costs, the book, an Amazon best seller, is available on Amazon at a deeply discounted price.  Click here:  Cracking Health Costs: How to Cut Your Company’s Health Costs and Provide Employees Better Care by Tom Emerick and Al Lewis.

Tom Emerick is the President of Emerick Consulting and co-founder of Edison Health. In December 2012, Tom was listed in Forbes.com as one of 13 unsung heroes changing healthcare forever. In 2009, Tom was named by Healthspottr as one of the top 100 innovators in healthcare in the US for his work on medical ethics. Prior to consulting, Tom spent a number of years working for large corporations: Walmart Stores, Burger King, and British Petroleum.

 

 

Arkansas OB/GYN Facing Felony Charges

According to the Smoking Gun, it seems he took photos of patients during examinations without their consent. Nice…really nice.

According to the story, “Police began investigating (Dr.) Paul Becton, Jr. earlier this month after a patient told cops that she was concerned that the 68-year-old doctor ‘produced his cellular telephone and took photographs of her pubic region and buttocks’ during an office visit.”

Other women have come forward with the same complaint.  Becton practices his…umm…”craft” at the Arkansas Methodist Medical Center in Paragould, AR.

Readers of CHC have read numerous articles about doctors around the US engaging in poor to criminal behaviors.  Benefit managers need to stand up and be counted in this kind of thing.  If Becton was in your PPO ask your PPO rep why?

___________________________________________________________________________

Tom Emerick

Cracking Health Costs, the book, an Amazon best seller, is available on Amazon at a deeply discounted price.  Click here:  Cracking Health Costs: How to Cut Your Company’s Health Costs and Provide Employees Better Care by Tom Emerick and Al Lewis.

Tom Emerick is the President of Emerick Consulting and co-founder of Edison Health. In December 2012, Tom was listed in Forbes.com as one of 13 unsung heroes changing healthcare forever. In 2009, Tom was named by Healthspottr as one of the top 100 innovators in healthcare in the US for his work on medical ethics. Prior to consulting, Tom spent a number of years working for large corporations: Walmart Stores, Burger King, and British Petroleum.

 

Toxic workplaces override wellness efforts: Stanford professor

This is a headline in an EBN article by Michael Giardina.

“Health and wellness programs are virtually meaningless if a workplace culture is bad, according to Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford University’s graduate school of business.

Further, “Indicators such as work-family conflict, lack of job control, perceived fairness at work, as well as layoffs and economic insecurity, all play a huge role in workforce health….”

Studies in Europe have confirmed this over and over. The biggest risk of mortal hazard is whether or not you like your job. If you have a job you absolutely hate, you probably will live a short unhealthy life.

If you’re an HR person and want to improve the health of your employees, figure out how to take the misery out of their jobs and improve skills of managers.

A confounding factor is that two people can have identical jobs; one loves it, and the other hates it.  It’s not always the job itself, nor the job environment, but what people put into their jobs that makes them happy.

BTW, job misery can be the root cause of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc., the very things wellness tries to ameliorate. Beware of targeting symptoms versus root causes.

___________________________________________________________________________

Tom Emerick

Cracking Health Costs, the book, an Amazon best seller, is available on Amazon at a deeply discounted price.  Click here:  Cracking Health Costs: How to Cut Your Company’s Health Costs and Provide Employees Better Care by Tom Emerick and Al Lewis.

Tom Emerick is the President of Emerick Consulting and co-founder of Edison Health. In December 2012, Tom was listed in Forbes.com as one of 13 unsung heroes changing healthcare forever. In 2009, Tom was named by Healthspottr as one of the top 100 innovators in healthcare in the US for his work on medical ethics. Prior to consulting, Tom spent a number of years working for large corporations: Walmart Stores, Burger King, and British Petroleum.

Nortin Hadler Reviews Cracking Health Costs

Nortin Hadler, MD, wrote a review for the JOEM of Cracking Health Costs, authored by Al Lewis and myself, and Surviving Workplace Wellness: With Your Dignity, Finances and Major Organs Intact, by Al Lewis and Vik Khanna. His review was flattering.

Dr. Hadler is one of the world’s leading academic physicians and has written a number of internationally best selling books on health care. His books have been a strong influence on my view of health care in the US.

He’s the author of illuminating books including The Last Well Person, Rethinking Aging, Stabbed in the Back, The Citizen Patient, Worried Sick, and more. I’ve referred those books to numerous people.

___________________________________________________________________________

Tom Emerick

Cracking Health Costs, the book, an Amazon best seller, is available on Amazon at a deeply discounted price.  Click here:  Cracking Health Costs: How to Cut Your Company’s Health Costs and Provide Employees Better Care by Tom Emerick and Al Lewis.

Tom Emerick is the President of Emerick Consulting and co-founder of Edison Health. In December 2012, Tom was listed in Forbes.com as one of 13 unsung heroes changing healthcare forever. In 2009, Tom was named by Healthspottr as one of the top 100 innovators in healthcare in the US for his work on medical ethics. Prior to consulting, Tom spent a number of years working for large corporations: Walmart Stores, Burger King, and British Petroleum.

Michael Clarke, Syracuse surgeon, accused of slapping sleeping patients, feds say

An Associated Press story describes how an orthopedic surgeon, Matt Clarke, was accused of abusing patients while they were under general anesthesia. He is said to have slapped them on the buttocks so hard he left “red marks or hand prints.” He’s also accused of making derogatory comments to his surgical patients as well, all while they were asleep.

If the accusations are true, this is really sick and I have questions. First, why was a mutt like that allowed in surgery?

Second, inasmuch as there are witnesses in surgery rooms, how could this have happened more than once?  Were the nurses and anesthesiologists asleep at the wheel?  Or did they view this as funny?  Or simply fear retribution?

The incidents occurred at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, NY.

Update: This story gets worse and worse.

___________________________________________________________________________

Tom Emerick

Cracking Health Costs, the book, an Amazon best seller, is available on Amazon at a deeply discounted price.  Click here:  Cracking Health Costs: How to Cut Your Company’s Health Costs and Provide Employees Better Care by Tom Emerick and Al Lewis.

Tom Emerick is the President of Emerick Consulting and co-founder of Edison Health. In December 2012, Tom was listed in Forbes.com as one of 13 unsung heroes changing healthcare forever. In 2009, Tom was named by Healthspottr as one of the top 100 innovators in healthcare in the US for his work on medical ethics. Prior to consulting, Tom spent a number of years working for large corporations: Walmart Stores, Burger King, and British Petroleum.

Dirty Doctors: Does Spike In Physician Arrests In New York Reflect Ethics Crisis In American Medicine?

Thus reads headline in the International Business Times authored by Jamie Reno.

Per the article, “Not long ago, Demetrios Gabriel was a respected pediatrician… with an unblemished professional history…. (who) had no sanctions or malpractice claims against him, (with) a five-star rating on HealthGrades.com. Then Gabriel saw a chance to make some extra money by accepting payments from a New Jersey lab for ordering unnecessary blood tests for his patients.”

He “... pleaded guilty in federal court in Newark, N.J., and faces up to five years in prison.” His crime? Accepting bribes from Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services (BLS) of Parsippany, N.J.

This is not an isolated event, as readers of Cracking Health Cost know. One Dr. Jose Katz, a cardiologist in NY and NJ, and a long time professor at Columbia was just sentenced to six and a half months in the pen. His crime?  “…patients came to Katz for routine visits and most left with false diagnoses of coronary artery disease and angina and orders to undergo unnecessary tests…”  He admitted to misdiagnosing up to 80% of his patient to defraud Medicare money…$19M worth. No one knows how many patients he harmed.

Again, there are not isolated events. They are doing these things to your employees. It’s time for private plan managers to say enough is enough.

___________________________________________________________________________

Tom Emerick

Cracking Health Costs, the book, an Amazon best seller, is available on Amazon at a deeply discounted price.  Click here:  Cracking Health Costs: How to Cut Your Company’s Health Costs and Provide Employees Better Care by Tom Emerick and Al Lewis.

Tom Emerick is the President of Emerick Consulting and co-founder of Edison Health. In December 2012, Tom was listed in Forbes.com as one of 13 unsung heroes changing healthcare forever. In 2009, Tom was named by Healthspottr as one of the top 100 innovators in healthcare in the US for his work on medical ethics. Prior to consulting, Tom spent a number of years working for large corporations: Walmart Stores, Burger King, and British Petroleum.

 

Al Lewis’s April Fool’s joke

Al Lewis, a dear friend and coauthor of Cracking Health Cost, the book, and famous exposer of flaws in corporate wellness programs, wrote an article saying wellness has an ROI after all.

Here is part of what he wrote:

“I discovered a problem in my own wellness outcomes measurement model. Wellness may save a little money and have a positive ROI after all.

“It turns out that there might be some minor savings in wellness after all. My basic mathematical formula might be off. It’s a subtle but importnat mistake in the trend calculation. Since nflation is cumulative, you can’t use linear arithmetic to calculate trend over multiple years. You have to use logarithms, but I accidentally used the geometric log instead of the natural log–an honest mistake, which creates a compound annual rate of decay in the trendline instead of a compound annual growth rate. [Bold is mine.]

“The implications of this subtlety are staggering. If I am wrong, that makes Goetzel, Baicker, and even ShapeUp and others right. I need to figure out how to position this mistake so as not to damage my career. That might take a while so for now, please keep this apology within this “friendly” group.”

His math was gibberish as you will see if you read it carefully. Many wellness vendors pounced on this article and started sending it to client and prospects.

IT WAS AN APRIL FOOL’S JOKE. A synonym for gibberish is gobbledegook.

It pays to have a sense of humor.

___________________________________________________________________________

Tom Emerick

Cracking Health Costs, the book, an Amazon best seller, is available on Amazon at a deeply discounted price.  Click here:  Cracking Health Costs: How to Cut Your Company’s Health Costs and Provide Employees Better Care by Tom Emerick and Al Lewis.

Tom Emerick is the President of Emerick Consulting and co-founder of Edison Health. In December 2012, Tom was listed in Forbes.com as one of 13 unsung heroes changing healthcare forever. In 2009, Tom was named by Healthspottr as one of the top 100 innovators in healthcare in the US for his work on medical ethics. Prior to consulting, Tom spent a number of years working for large corporations: Walmart Stores, Burger King, and British Petroleum.

 

 

How to Cut Your Company’s Health Care Costs and Provide Employees Better Care: Webinar

How to Cut Your Company’s Health Care Costs and Provide Employees Better CareAbout the Course.  In this engaging webinar, author Tom Emerick will reveal the best ways for companies and small businesses to fight back, right now, against rising health care costs. This webinar will address practical steps that you can take to control costs and increase the effectiveness of the health benefit. Working hand-in-hand with their employees, businesses need to ensure that, whenever feasible, employees with the most expensive diagnoses get optimal treatment at hospitals not practicing “volume-driven” medicine for higher profits. Less than 10% of employees incur 80% of costs. About 20% of patients have been completely misdiagnosed, while many others are simply the victims of surgeons who are either practicing bad medicine or over-treating for profit.

Free Book (Amazon Rating of 4.6 on a 5.0 scale) We will mail each person who registers for the webinar a free copy of Tom Emerick’s co-authored book, Cracking Health Costs: How to Cut Your Company’s Health Costs and Provide Employees Better Care  Reviewers on Amazon have given it an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.

 

 

Register How to Cut Your Company’s Health Care Costs and Provide Employees Better Care Tuesday, April 15 1:00 PM-2:15 PM ESThrci_blue bck.fwView Live and/or Recording: View the webinar live at the date/time listed above, and/orView the recording for 90 days after the webinar at your convenience. Price Per Attendee (Money-Back Guarantee) $199 RegisterAbout the Presenter 
tomemerickThomas G. Emerick is the President of Emerick Consulting, LLC. Tom’s years with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Burger King Corporation, British Petroleum, and American Fidelity Assurance Company have provided an excellent blend of experience and contacts. His last position with Wal-Mart was Vice President, Global Benefit Design. Tom has designed and managed both global and U.S. benefit programs for small companies to large corporations. 

Continuing Education Credit

HR: This program has been approved for 1.25 (General) recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR, and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute.

Attorneys: When you register, you will enter the state(s) for which you are seeking CLE credit. In the unlikely event that the webinar is not approved for credit, we will fully refund your registration fee.

Questions? Contact:

Clear Law Institute
info@clearlawinstitute.com 
(703) 517-5869

Register

 

Medtronic Makes Surprise Turn on Blood-Pressure Device

That is the headline in a WSJ story by Joseph Walker today. Here is a link but a subscription is required.

Trials for a new Medtronic blood pressure device failed…repeat, the trial failed and showed no improvement in reduction in blood pressure compared to a “sugar pill”. You’d think Medtronic would go back to the drawing board, but no. Writes Walker, Medtronic Inc….undeterred by a surprising and definitive clinical-trial failure, said it will continue to develop its medical device for high blood pressure in hopes of winning U.S. regulatory approval.”  

Something is very wrong with the FDA if Medtronic thinks it can get approval for an utterly failed device…but what’s new? It’s happened before.

If Medtronic succeeds in getting approval for this, expect to spend a lot of money on  expensive new devices that work no better than a placebo.

___________________________________________________________________________

Tom Emerick

Cracking Health Costs, the book, an Amazon best seller, is available on Amazon at a deeply discounted price.  Click here:  Cracking Health Costs: How to Cut Your Company’s Health Costs and Provide Employees Better Care by Tom Emerick and Al Lewis.

Tom Emerick is the President of Emerick Consulting and co-founder of Edison Health. In December 2012, Tom was listed in Forbes.com as one of 13 unsung heroes changing healthcare forever. In 2009, Tom was named by Healthspottr as one of the top 100 innovators in healthcare in the US for his work on medical ethics. Prior to consulting, Tom spent a number of years working for large corporations: Walmart Stores, Burger King, and British Petroleum.

Assaults on your colon and and more

Miscellaneous news you can use.

JAMA reports serious case of false positives on a colonoscopy. “The risks of overtesting and overdiagnosis in the age of technological advances are being increasingly recognized…This case illustrates an example in which a conservative approach with more detailed history and physical examination may have prevented the downstream effects of false-positive results from unnecessary tests.” False positives on colonoscopies are costly and create huge misery to patients.

FierceMedical reports overuse of neuroimaging. This overuse adds about $!B per year in costs and is risky and inconvenient for patients.  Oddly, the article call for better decision support for patients. I say we need more ethical doctors.

___________________________________________________________________________

Tom Emerick

Cracking Health Costs, the book, is now available on Amazon at a deeply discounted price.  Click here:  Cracking Health Costs: How to Cut Your Company’s Health Costs and Provide Employees Better Care by Tom Emerick and Al Lewis.

Tom Emerick is the President of Emerick Consulting and co-founder of Edison Health. In December 2012, Tom was listed in Forbes.com as one of 13 unsung heroes changing healthcare forever. In 2009, Tom was named by Healthspottr as one of the top 100 innovators in healthcare in the US for his work on medical ethics. Prior to consulting, Tom spent a number of years working for large corporations: Walmart Stores, Burger King, and British Petroleum.