healthcare

As highest quality of care continues not to be the emphasis in the health care debate— let alone be on par with discussions around access, Canadian health systems remain in the spotlight. This time, multiple hospitals in southern Ontario shut their doors to the sickest of babies due to lack of beds for a 10% patient surge compared to the same time period last year.

According to Shawn Whatley, president of Ontario Medical Association, while pleading for increased funding, “These are our sickest patients. This is a reflection of our whole system. Our system...

Who among us hasn’t chuckled at a television prescription drug ad when it ventures into a litany of wide-ranging potential side effects like anal leakage to erections lasting more than four hours? Whether it be for depression, your heart or arthritic conditions, the major and minor adverse consequences of these advertised drugs often get promoted in ways that pose equivalent risk—this routinely does not reflect reality. 

With direct-to-consumer (DTC) ease of communication access today, product overstatements of health benefits with simultaneous minimization of possible harms has become the norm for such companies marketing to the public. The ability to do so wasn’t always the case. With such an evolution, for better or worse, has come cultural conflicts. And, now the...

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently reversed a 2014 U.S. District Court ruling that affirmed patients had a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to their prescription records and mandated a court order be required before allowing federal agents the ability to obtain such data. With this decision, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) does not need to meet the standard of seeking a warrant based on probable cause and, instead, can routinely access such information.

This result is highly unfavorable to patient privacy rights and could significantly alter or impede their care— to be further addressed momentarily.

Basically, a program was created in 2009 as a means to...

Recently, I published an article More Bad News for Single Payer Health System detailing the reasons for a disastrous report recently generated out of London by the National Health Service (NHS) about poor quality of care for the sickest patients. Care that was deemed less than good for every four out of five cases with a climbing mortality rate of one in three all being attributed to sub-standard practices. (See here). (1)

Then, news came out from NHS England that the number of people waiting for routine surgery exceeded 4 million. The highest in a decade. The...

With information —bad, good and worse— overload from all media forms at all hours of the day and night, it is no surprise that public confidence in the medical realm is precipitously plummeting. So says a new report identifying that only 37% of the public trust evidence from medical research as opposed to 65% who prefer the experiences of friends and family. (1)

This latest work out of The Academy of Medical Sciences which, according to their website, is an “independent body in the UK representing the diversity of medical science” whose “mission is to advance biomedical and health...

Several years after the ACA ("Obamacare") passed, healthcare costs continue to rise in America. The question of why – and, perhaps more importantly, how much of these costs should be covered by the government – continue to spark intense political debate.

New research funded by the Gates Foundation and led by Joseph Dieleman of the University of Washington may shed some light on this issue. The researchers investigated global patterns of healthcare spending, and their results are published in The Lancet.

For their investigation, the team analyzed healthcare spending (which was adjusted for inflation and purchasing power) in 184 countries from 1995 to 2014. Then, they conducted regression analyses, with the general aim of making two broad determinations: (1) Given...

We have entered dangerous times in my beloved medical profession. Non-doctor health professionals, backed by powerful lobbies, are increasingly interested in the easing of certain practice restrictions. New titles like “clinician” or “advanced practitioner” or “provider” are masking a stark reality - people will be able to practice medicine without ever having to attend medical school, perform rigorous residencies or be comprehensively and extensively trained as physicians.

This is not to diminish the powerful benefits of nurses. Far from it. But nurses are not doctors and the people most likely to get medical treatment from people who are not doctors are among the poorest that health care reform was supposed to improve. We shouldn't cave into it. From an ethics perspective...

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) just published distressing accounts of three patients who endured irreparable damage to their vision after seeking treatment at the same unnamed “stem cell” clinic in Broward, Florida.

Shortly, we will address where things went very, very wrong and how such situations can be avoided. But, first, let’s discuss what happened.

The women aged 72-88 years old suffered blindness to near blindness as a direct result of untested “stem cell” therapies being injected into their eyes while being fleeced $5000 for the procedures. Promised “revolutionary” therapy, they were left with catastrophic reminders of the unfortunate and unnecessary ordeal.

Each patient had age-...

For the first time, President Trump is giving a speech to a joint session of Congress*. Since the President has a habit of keeping us all guessing, here is a wish-list of things we would like to hear Mr. Trump talk about.

Healthcare reform. The Affordable Care Act had good intentions. It is obviously within society's best interest to have as many people covered by health insurance as possible. However, the ACA is flawed. Medical costs keep rising. CNN Money reported in September 2016 that "[p]rices for medicine, doctor appointments and health insurance rose the most last month since 1984." Our award-winning resident pediatrician, Dr. Jamie Wells,...

Three separate bills have been introduced (2 in the House, 1 in the Senate) to drive a stake into a vampire like Board, which has no members, little funding and bipartisan support for its demise – the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). [1] Created as part of the Affordable Care Act, you know it as ObamaCare, it is a cost-control mechanism designed to maintain per beneficiary costs of Medicare within certain guidelines. IPAB’s Renfrow, the person giving the undead Board life is Paul Spitalnic, the actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) who believes that Medicare costs will exceed the statuary limits in 2017 and require awakening the IPAB. 

Like other vampires, there are restraints on its powers. Specifically, it cannot reduce benefits and cannot...