MeneerDijk

Woman Loses Hospice Care Because She’s Lived Longer Than Expected

When someone is receiving hospice care, it usually means they’re very close to the end of their life. But what happens if that person simply refuses to die? [More]

Great Beyond

Private Healthcare Providers Are Making Big Bucks Contracting With Prisons

When you think of big business, you probably think of an industry like banking, but it turns out that one of the bigger businesses out there happens to be prisons — both private and federal. While we already know that financial institutions benefit from others, collecting tens of millions of dollars every year from inmates’ families in fees for basic financial services, the healthcare industry has also found a veritable goldmine by contracting services to prisons and jails across the country.  [More]

MeneeDijk

In Most States, No Regulator Cares If A Merger Closes Your Local Hospitals

The consolidation of, well, everything in healthcare is kind of par for the course these days, really. Insurance companies, provider networks, and hospitals are constantly merging or buying each other out, all around the nation. Small, independent hospitals in every state are regularly bought by larger chains, and go from being “Smallville General Hospital” to being “HealthCoName Patient Care Center Of Smallville” all the time. [More]

Report: Makers Of OxyContin Knew For Decades That Pain Pills Could Wear Off Early

Report: Makers Of OxyContin Knew For Decades That Pain Pills Could Wear Off Early

When OxyContin hit pharmacies 20 years ago, its primary selling point was that a single dose of the opioid pain medication lasted 12 hours, “providing smooth and sustained pain control all day and all night,” per the press release. But a new report claims Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, have long known that the drug doesn’t always live up to this promise, resulting in an increased likelihood for abuse and addiction. [More]

Report: 30% Of Antibiotic Prescriptions Are Unnecessary

Report: 30% Of Antibiotic Prescriptions Are Unnecessary

While the beef, pork, and poultry industries have been heavily criticized for using the large majority of antibiotics sold in the U.S. to fatten up their animals, that doesn’t mean that American physicians are being terribly judicious about the antimicrobials they prescribe. A new report shines a light on just how many antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary, increasing the risk of developing drug-resistant superbugs. [More]

The Comedian

CDC Urges Primary Care Physicians To Stop Over-Prescribing Painkillers

Physicians in the U.S. write more than 250 million prescriptions a year for opioid painkillers — and that’s not including all the painkiller prescriptions written for patients with cancer or acute/chronic pain. That’s enough for every adult in the U.S. to have their own bottle of pills. Meanwhile, every day more than 40 Americans die after overdosing on opioids. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging primary care physicians — who prescribe about half of all opioids — to rethink how generous they are with their prescriptions. [More]

Nearly 1/3 Of Cancer Survivors Face Financial Burden After Diagnosis, Treatment

Scott Lynch

The cheery optimists on cable TV might have you believe that a cancer diagnosis will transform your average mild-mannered American into an exceedingly wealthy and lethal drug kingpin in a matter of months, but a new study shows that for many cancer survivors, the disease puts a significant burden on their finances — and that these money problems can have further negative impact on their health and well being. [More]

Merck disclosed this week that federal prosecutors have requested information on its pricing of prescription asthma medication Dulera.

Big Pharma Companies Also Being Questioned About Drug Prices

Earlier this week, we told you how a Senate committee was investigating huge price hikes on a handful of niche-market prescription drugs. The companies involved in those probes are generally newer, smaller operations — but it looks like two much bigger names in the pharmaceuticals industry are also being asked about the prices of their drugs. [More]

Supreme Court To Hear Another Challenge To Affordable Care Act Contraception Rules

Supreme Court To Hear Another Challenge To Affordable Care Act Contraception Rules

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear its fourth challenge to the five-year-old Affordable Care Act — and the second challenge involving the law’s requirement that employers provide insurance that includes coverage for female workers who choose to use birth control. [More]

Senate Investigating Drug Companies Behind Huge Overnight Price Hikes

Senate Investigating Drug Companies Behind Huge Overnight Price Hikes

A handful of pharmaceutical investors have been snapping up the rights to previously affordable prescription drugs, only to immediately raise prices to the point where patients now pay hundreds of dollars for a single pill — resulting in huge additional costs for consumers, insurers, and healthcare providers. Not only has this practice drawn the ire of the medical community, it’s also resulted in a Senate committee investigation. [More]

C x 2

Insurance Loopholes & Master Pricing: How Surprise Medical Bills Knock Consumers Down

Most of us know which local hospitals and doctors are covered by our insurance providers, but even when we make sure that we only see an in-network physician or surgeon, nearly one-third of privately insured Americans are still hit with higher-than-expected medical bills, often because their in-network hospital brought in or contracted out to an out-of-network service provider. How did we get to the point where so many consumers have so little information about what to expect when their hospital bill arrives? [More]

(Josh)

Facebook Wants To Be Your Source For Healthcare Info

Facebook is already a hotbed for your hypochondriac and conspiracy theorist friends to post poorly sourced or blatantly false medical information — like the bogus “Johns Hopkins Cancer Update” that pops up every few months — but the social network apparently wants to be more actively involved in the collecting and sharing of healthcare information to its users. [More]

Hospitals Now Use Consumers’ Personal Habits To Predict Health Issues

Hospitals Now Use Consumers’ Personal Habits To Predict Health Issues

By now we know that every purchase a consumer makes is added to a list detailing one’s spending and life-style habit, which is used to target people for marketing campaigns and other services. But how would you feel if that information was used by your doctors to keep tabs on your health? [More]

Most Doctors Still Prescribing Antibiotics When They’re Not Supposed To

Most Doctors Still Prescribing Antibiotics When They’re Not Supposed To

Acute bronchitis is generally a result of any number of viruses, meaning that antibiotics won’t work. This is not news to the medical or scientific community, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been trying for 15 years to get doctors to stop the knee-jerk practice of prescribing antibiotics for the disease. And yet, a new study finds that some 70% of physicians are still telling patients to take drugs that don’t work. [More]

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Former Radiological Technician Posed As A Doctor To Falsify 1,300 Mammograms

Nearly 1,300 women who thought mammograms had shown they were clear of cancer were likely shocked to find out that a former radiological technician had instead signed into the system as multpiple doctors and falsely signed off on all those reports. She’s just been convicted and sentenced to serve up to six months in a detention center, 10 years on probation — meaning she can’t work anywhere in health care — and will have to pay a $12,500 fine. [More]

Hospital Chain Inflated Bills, Pressured Doctors Into Generating Admissions, Lawsuits Claim

Hospital Chain Inflated Bills, Pressured Doctors Into Generating Admissions, Lawsuits Claim

There are many accusations of money-grubbing in the health care industry. Most of them are subtle: a preferred medication here, a handshake behind closed doors there. But actually hanging a chart on the wall and proudly color-coding your ER doctors like car salesmen based on how high their admission rates are? That’s about as in-your-face as the pursuit of profit gets. [More]

(KogeLiz)

Walgreens Will Provide Some Prescriptions For A Month To Backlogged Health Care Enrollees

One problem facing people who have been trying to sign up for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act but who haven’t been able to do so successfully is the dilemma of how to get certain medications once January hits. Walgreens says it’ll hand out a month’s worth of some prescriptions at no upfront cost to those people. [More]

Which Of Your Local Emergency Rooms Has The Shortest Wait Time?

Which Of Your Local Emergency Rooms Has The Shortest Wait Time?

When a medical emergency hits, the tendency might be to simply go to the nearest hospital and hope to get seen right away — and if you’re truly in dire shape then this is probably good advice because even if you’re not admittedly immediately, you are surrounded by nurses and doctors. But for people whose medical needs are urgent but not URGENT, there might be a faster-moving emergency room a few miles down the road. [More]