Archive for Tom Emerick

It’s all about referrals

There is a big problem with referrals in US healthcare. Here are some examples.

First, according to an article in Becker’s Hospital Review about 20 million patent referrals are misdirected. This means about 20 million patients a year are referred to the wrong specialist. This results in expensive re-referrals or, worse, mismanagement of patients care.

Second, as readers of Cracking Health Costs know, huge differences exist in specialists’ ability to get complex diagnoses right and prescribe the best treatment plan. Primary care doctors often just don’t have enough referral cases in any given specialty to see the differences. A referral to a specialist who over-treats and over-tests can cost tens of thousand of dollars.

It’s all about referrals.

 

__________________________________________________________________________

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 EdisonHealth. 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.

 

Doctors Cash In on Drug Tests Part 2

M.B. Bell and Sharon Begley* wrote a great piece on this for Reuters.

They wrote, “Three Connecticut doctors billed Medicare for nearly 24,000 drug tests in 2012 – on just 145 patients. Despite the extraordinary number, Medicare administrators paid the doctors a total of $1.4 million, according to a Reuters analysis of government payments to health providers.”

You read it right…24,000 drug tests on just 145 patients. Imagine the stress on the patients, not to mention the cost to taxpayers.  Shame.

*Sharon Begley is one of the best writers on health topics today.

__________________________________________________________________________

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 EdisonHealth. 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.

Doctors Cash In on Drug Tests for Seniors, and Medicare Pays the Bill

That is the title of a WSJ story written by Christopher Weaver and Anna Wilde Matthews.  (Subscription required.)

According to the story, “Doctors are testing seniors for drugs such as heroin, cocaine and “angel dust” at soaring rates, and Medicare is paying the bill.”  The problem is seniors rarely use those drugs.

Further, “Medical guidelines encourage doctors who treat pain to test their patients, to make sure they are neither abusing pills nor failing to take them, possibly to sell them…Now, some pain doctors are making more from testing than from treating.”

Spending for this type of testing is up a whopping 1423% in five years.

This is yet another example of why health costs are so high in the US.

__________________________________________________________________________

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 EdisonHealth. 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.

Wise words by Bob Kramer, MD.

The following words first appeared in an email Dr. Kramer wrote. With his permission I’m quoting him below. I know Bob to be an ethical caring doctor.

“Wellness plans DON’T work, and the cost of healthcare is not due to the physicians laxity but in the patients’ reluctance to come to grips with their mortality. Hospitals and drug companies make all their profits by insuring that patients are needed to take their medicines and hospitals to keep their beds full. It has NEVER been shown that wellness plans do anything to reduce the overall cost of care.” (Emphasis mine.)

Here is an additional quote from him: “As a practioner, academic, administrator and businessman, watching medicine being morphed from a wonderful profession to a bottom line, Wall Street sensitive business has infuriated me to see the words revenue, economies of scale, and profits replace the most important aspect of health care…..quality. Our current system destroys every ounce of what we were trained and taught to do, let alone watch the cost of care go up as the quality go down for the sake of “improving efficiencies” destroys every bit of what I was taught that made the practice of medicine the wonderful profession that it used to be.”

Dr. Kramer is a retired professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center, graduate of Brown University, Tufts Medical School, pediatric residency at Yale, exec MBA Harvard.

__________________________________________________________________________

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 EdisonHealth. 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.

Surgery rates: US vs EU

According to an NBC news story, surgery rates per capita in the United States are 50% higher than the EU.

That is one of the reason healthcare costs in the US are twice that of the EU. Advocates of the status quo in US healthcare say they “ration” surgery in the EU. Alas, not true. One of the real reasons is the difference in the rate of over-surgery in the US, as regular readers of Cracking Health Costs know.

The antidote for excess surgery is direct contracted centers of excellence, e.g., EdisonHealth.

__________________________________________________________________________

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 EdisonHealth. 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.

More on over-treating cancer

Yet even more evidence is piling up on over-treatment of cancer.

According to an article in HealthLeaders, Gregory Sorensen, the CEO of Siemens Healthcare North America was quoted as saying, “We’re not over diagnosing (cancer)…we’re over treating.”

That is a particularly interesting quote because of the source.  Siemens Healthcare makes  equipment used to diagnose cancer.

‘Nuff said.

__________________________________________________________________________

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 EdisonHealth. 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.

 

 

 

Johns Hopkins scientist professes shocking report on flu vaccines

This is according to an article in the health section of YourWiredNews.com. The author is Louise Turner.

Per the article, Peter Doschi, PhD, of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, says while flu vaccines are being stridently pushed on the public, “…they are less effective and cause more side effects than alleged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”

Further, “A study released in February found that the flu shot was only 9 percent effective in protecting seniors against the 2012-2013 season’s most virulent influenza bug.”  

Whether you get your flu shot or not, employers ought to think long and hard about promoting flu vaccines.

__________________________________________________________________________

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 EdisonHealth. 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.

Your Personal Affordable Care Act

This is the title of an excellent book by Vik Khanna, author and health expert.

Says John Irvine, Executive Editor of the Health Care Blog, “If you haven’t met Vik Khanna, you need to. Your health may depend on it. Packed with invaluable advice that will arm you with the tools and the strategies you’ll need to stay as far away from the healthcare industry as humanly possible, you’ll find yourself turning to Vik’s book again and again. Both thumbs up!!”

Click here for a link to the book.

Good reading.

Cheers,

Tom Emerick

Wellness sponsors beware: a serious warning

This is a headline in the StarTribune: “Government sues Honeywell over required testing, fines in wellness program“, by Dee Depass.

Depass writes, “Federal officials are challenging new benefit rules at Honeywell Inc. that create monetary penalties…”  Further,  “A lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in response to complaints from two Minnesota employees sets up a potential court case over how far employers can go to shift health costs and influence worker behavior.”

In short, Honeywell is being sued over penalty-based wellness design. Companies that sponsor coercive wellness programs are taking huge risks.

Regular readers of Cracking Health Costs know I’m not a big fan of corporate wellness programs for the simple reason that they are expense and have been shown by Rand and others to be ineffective over time anyway.

Honeywell is not the first to have troubles over coercive wellness design. CVS and Penn State have had similar troubles. If your company has one, you need to consider fixing it before it’s too late.

Hats off  to Vik Khanna for finding this story.

__________________________________________________________________________

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 EdisonHealth. 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.

 

 

 

More on failures of robotic surgery

A WSJ article (subscription required) by Melinda Beck raises big doubts of the effectiveness and costs of some robotic surgery. Seems it leads to bigger complications and higher prices.

Writes Beck,  “In the latest study to question the value of robotic surgery, researchers from Columbia University found that the technology costs significantly more and has a higher rate of complications than regular minimally invasive surgery for removing ovaries and ovarian cysts.

Enough said.

__________________________________________________________________________

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 EdisonHealth. 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.