Every parent knows how heartbreaking it can be when a child gets sick; they feel anxiety, helplessness and a desire to "fix" what’s wrong. Parents have the right instincts.
New research from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) suggests that failing to get ill children the medical treatment they need doesn't just prolong that physical damage and emotional trauma in the here and now -- it also raises the risk they'll suffer poor health in adulthood.
The NBER compared the incidence of childhood and adult illnesses in America and England and found that American children are more likely to develop chronic diseases later in life because illnesses go undetected or untreated when they're young.
PCORI is in Washington this week. PCORI is the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, an organization created under the Affordable Care Act to conduct comparative clinical effectiveness research.
PCORI has not received a lot of attention over the past year -- which is probably a good thing after all the controversy over rationing during the health reform debate -- but ultimately its work could be very important to improving our health system over the long run by supporting patients and patient-centered health care.
The controversy of comparative effectiveness research and rationing is understandable. There have been too many examples where policymakers have used CER as a rigid standard that restricts patient access care, or as the basis for provider incentives that impose a one-size-fits-all approach that impedes the doctor's ability to tailor care to the needs of the individual patient.
In 2003, completion of the Human Genome Project heralded a new era in medicine. This collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health has helped to advance the way we diagnose, treat and prevent thousands of disorders to dramatically improve patient care. As this type of research continues to progress, we are seeing a fundamental shift in medicine – from reactive and generalized to proactive and personalized.
This is great news for patients and for all Americans. Advances in personalized medicine hold promise not only in saving and improving more lives, but in helping control health care costs through better disease prediction and preventions, as well as giving doctors the tools to more effectively target the right treatments for the right patients. Only through investing in personalized medicine research are we beginning to realize the benefits of how these advancements will provide for improved and affordable health care for the future.
For well over a decade, employers have been concerned about the cost of providing health care to their employees and its impact on the competitiveness of their businesses domestically and internationally. The impact of these rising health care costs are seen clearly as more businesses, especially small businesses, are cutting or scaling back insurance coverage, or shifting more of the cost burden on employees.
Running in parallel to this issue of rising costs has been the national trend of declining health status. Employers of companies large and small are a reflection of the nation as a whole, and unfortunately the trajectory of our nation’s health over the past several years has not been a positive story. Faced with these dual challenges of rising costs and decreased health of their workforces, what are employers to do? Nearly all of them have been addressing the cost side of the equation, but now a growing universe of employers are more aggressively tackling the “wellness” side of the equation because they understand that healthier employees are good for business.
Recently the Obama administration created a team of "mystery shoppers" to pose as patients, call doctors' offices and request appointments to see how difficult it is for Americans to obtain primary care. As a physician for over 30 years, I find this troubling because instead of creating solutions to fix the doctor shortage, the administration is spying on physicians.
Through these mystery shoppers, the Obama administration is deceiving doctors' offices - going as far to fabricate health problems - all to see if doctors are accepting new patients. This sort of behavior is exactly why the American people do not trust government.
As Congress wrangles over the debt ceiling, the federal budget, and the future of entitlement programs, it's clear that the nearly $500 billion spent each year on Medicare will remain a topic of great interest.
And it should be: Medicare, which provides health coverage for elderly and disabled Americans, is second only to Social Security in its share of the federal budget. As it figures out what to do with Medicare, however, Congress needs to take a close look at the level of fraud in the system and focus on reducing it before asking seniors who have paid into the system their entire lives to accept poorly conceived benefit reductions or co-pays. Congress, in short, should declare war on Medicare fraudsters, not the seniors that benefit from the program.