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  • Can Your State Medical Association be Trusted? September 1, 2014
    by Lee Kurisko, MD I am embarrassed to admit that I am a member of the Minnesota Medical Association. In my defense, I am automatically a member through my employer, a large radiology group based in Minneapolis. I have long …
  • Ralph Weber Talks About Healthcare Pricing – Video August 29, 2014
    Physicians used to take any type of payment for their services, be it in cash or trade (goods). The doctor would give you a price up front. Why can’t you get prices now? Insurance companies hide the real prices so …
  • Hysteria’s History Episode01 FINAL August 29, 2014
  • Ambulatory Surgical Centers: Safe & Quality Medical Care August 27, 2014
    by Adrienne Snavely Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASC) arrived on the scene in 1970. Physicians continue to own nearly 90% of such facilities. Physicians can conveniently schedule procedures, assemble their own teams of highly skilled staff, check over the equipment and …
  • Ralph Weber Talks About Transparency – Video August 25, 2014
    Prices for medical care can vary across town, across the state, and across the country. There may be no difference in a surgical technique or the training of the physician, yet the price can differ up to 20 times as …
  • Here’s The Thing #1: Transparency August 25, 2014
  • Here’s The Thing #2: Healthcare Pricing August 25, 2014
  • Here’s The Thing #3: Procedure Cost August 25, 2014
  • Save Yourself from Your Desk Job – Part II August 22, 2014
    By Sue Redmond Studies have now shown that the “couch potato” lifestyle, and even a desk job where you are sitting for long periods of time, can heighten your risk of certain diseases and even age you faster. Joan Vernikos …
  • Want to Get Lean and Fit? Don’t Do Cardio August 20, 2014
    Want to Get Lean and Fit? Then Don’t Do Traditional “Cardio” Exercise by Lee Kurisko, MD For many, this is heresy but I believe that it is true. Have you ever noticed the people frequenting the ellipticals and treadmills at …
  • The Ebola Virus: Global Threat or False Alarm? August 18, 2014
    by Adrienne Snavely The Ebola virus was discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River, in what is now Congo. All 25 outbreaks of human illness or death have occurred thus far in Africa. In rural areas, people live close to …
  • Save Yourself From Your Desk Job! August 15, 2014
    by Sue Redmond Everyone knows that the couch potato “lifestyle” is unhealthy. You come home from a hard day at work and park yourself in front of the TV. Recent studies have found your desk job may be just as …
  • Thyroid Health & Testing August 13, 2014
    Women are more likely than men to develop thyroid disorders. Thyroid disorders that can affect women include: Hyperthyroidism Hypothyroidism Thyroid nodules Thyroiditis Thyroid cancer Goiter The most common disorders are hyper- and hypo-thyroidism. Symptoms of hyperthyroid Weight loss, even if …
  • Canadian Consumer Tax Index 2014 August 12, 2014
    Canadian families spend more money on taxes than on food, clothing, and shelter combined.The Fraser Institute’s Canadian Consumer Tax Index tracks the total tax bill of the average Canadian family from 1961 to 2013 by adding up the various taxes …
  • Keys to Exercise Success August 11, 2014
    by Lee Kurisko, MD I have had exercise as a regular habit for 41 years. Through all of that time, I have been analyzing what I do and trying to refine my approach always in search of a better way. …
  • MediBid in Kaiser Health News & Washington Post August 8, 2014
    Patients Seeking Cheaper Care Are Soliciting Bids From Doctors Online By SANDRA G. BOODMAN  AUG 05, 2014  This KHN story also ran in . It can be republished for free. (details) Francisco Velazco couldn’t wait any longer. For several years, the …
  • Are We Heading Towards a Two Tiered Health Care System? August 6, 2014
    In 2013, 117 insurance plans were offered on average in each state. Only 41 plans are offered in the exchanges, and in 16 states, consumers have access to 3 or fewer insurers.  In addition, these plans have increasingly restricted networks… …
  • OMTEC 2014 – Keynote Interview with Industry Leaders (Installment 2 of 5) August 5, 2014
    Original, essential content from OMTEC. Industry leaders Michael Butler, Dirk Kuyper and Mike Matson discuss the intricacies of supplier relationships within the orthopaedic industry.
  • OMTEC 2014 – Keynote Interview with Industry Leaders (Installment 1 of 5) August 5, 2014
    Original, essential content from OMTEC. Industry leaders Michael Butler, Dirk Kuyper and Mike Matson discuss the intricacies of supplier relationships within the orthopaedic industry.
  • Life Without Antibiotics Would Likely Be Grim August 4, 2014
    The first antibiotics came on the market after World War II. Bacteria continue to mutate so antibiotics cannot destroy them. Some have become so resistant that nothing is effective on them. A treatment that may have worked five years ago …

Can Your State Medical Association be Trusted?

by Lee Kurisko, MD

I am embarrassed to admit that I am a member of the Minnesota Medical Association. In my defense, I am automatically a member through my employer, a large radiology group based in Minneapolis.

I have long had my doubts that the MMA had my interests at heart. That wamma2s confirmed when they supported Obamacare, or as Dr. Keith Smith calls it, “The Unaffordable Care Act”. My lack of confidence in the MMA was again last week when they presented a forum at the University of Minnesota on Single Payer Healthcare.

The supposed mandate of the forum was to present both the pros and cons of such a system. There were three speakers that were all explicitly or implicitly in favor of single payer healthcare. The opposing view was not presented. At the end of the event, I approached the moderator of the event and president of MMA, Dr. Cindy Smith, and pointed out that only one viewpoint was presented and I questioned why. She mumbled something about not knowing whom to approach to fulfill such a role. Clearly they did not look too hard. I have been a member for 12 years and have given dozens of presentations and radio interviews about this very topic.

If one were to attend a meeting of Physicians for a National Health Program, you would not expect to have me as a speaker, being a rabid opponent of government medicine. Likewise, you would not expect to hear about the supposed virtues of socialized medicine at a meeting of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), a staunchly conservative pro-free market physician organization, but the MMA presumably represents all of its physician membership. Being a state medical association and promoting this event as a forum of discussion, it is reasonable to assume that various views would be heard. It makes one wonder, does the MMA actually represent Minnesota physicians at large or does the leadership of the MMA have its own agenda?

My time at the meeting was not a complete waste. I listened to the arguments for single payer intently. I have heard them all before and they are specious, but it was illuminating to see how compelling their arguments would seem to the uninitiated. The information presented to make their case was factual, but it was out of context and incomplete. For example, indeed Canadian physicians do spend far less time on billing paperwork than American physicians, but it was not mentioned that being a monopoly payer, the Canadian provincial governments can utilize Draconian methods to balance the books like retroactively and unilaterally changing the fee schedule demanding physicians pay money back that they had justly earned. Using the force of government, care is rationed and resources are intentionally limited and waiting lists for service can stretch out for weeks, months and even years!

The provincial government of Quebec pays older physicians to retire, even in the presence of a physician shortage, seeing doctors as cost centers for the system doing things like ordering tests, hospitalizing patients, and generally doing the things that physicians are supposed to do to care for patients.

It is not unheard of for emergency departments in Canada to go unstaffed with physicians because the doctor shortage is so severe that there may simply be none available. The physician shortage was engineered by government to limit costs. In the1990’s, the federally-commissioned Barer Stoddart report concluded that the best way to limit escalating health care costs was to limit the number of physicians.

In Quebec in the summer of 2004, there was a highly publicized death when a patient had a heart attack and there was no physician available to care for him. The provincial minister of health declared martial law on doctors decreeing that they will work when and where they are told. It was not unheard of for doctors to complete a 12-hour ER shift and then be delivered a court order compelling them to work again in the next eight hours at a facility 300 miles away or incur a $5000 dollar fine. Ayn Rand’s phrase, “enslavement of the medical profession”, is not hyperbole. Would you want your doctor caring for you at the point of a government gun? Thankfully, the Quebec doctors challenged this in court and won.

Indeed there is far more to the story about single payer than its Utopian vision of “healthcare for all”. I could go on and on. I could write a book on it. In fact, I did. In “Health Reform – The End of the American Revolution?” I document the horrors of government medicine and how it threatens to undermine the very fabric of American society that was originally based upon the rugged individualist values of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”, not entitlement and enslavement. But of course, the Minnesota Medical Association has no interest in such concerns for their “balanced” forum on the issue of single payer healthcare.

Lee Kurisko, MD is Chief Medical Officer of MediBid. He is trained as a family physician, radiologist, and neuroradiologist. He is author of “Health Reform-The End of the American Revolution?” He is now pursuing Board Certification in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine.” His blogposts on health and fitness can now be seen at www.healthandfitnessdoctor.com.

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Posted in Business and Medicine Tagged , , , , , , , |

Ralph Weber Talks About Healthcare Pricing – Video

Physicians used to take any type of payment for their services, be it in cash or trade (goods). The doctor would give you a price up front. Why can’t you get prices now? Insurance companies hide the real prices so patients think that purchasing an insurance policy is the only way to afford medical care.

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Posted in Cost of Health Care Tagged , , , , , , , |

Hysteria’s History Episode01 FINAL

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Posted in Economics, Medibid Television

Ambulatory Surgical Centers: Safe & Quality Medical Care

by Adrienne Snavely

Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASC) arrived on the scene in 1970. Physicians continue to own nearly 90% of such facilities. Physicians can conveniently schedulesurgok procedures, assemble their own teams of highly skilled staff, check over the equipment and supplies to ensure high quality, and design facilities best to suit their specialties. ASCs have demonstrated an exceptional ability to improve quality and customer service while reducing costs. They have all the same equipment, surgeons, and staff as a hospital operating room without all the restrictive bureaucratic procedures that burden hospitals. ASC procedures are 75% cheaper than hospitalization because of the greater efficiency of the surgery center.

ASCs are regulated by federal and state organizations, just like any other health care facility. The safety and quality of care is evaluated by state licensure, Medicare certification, and voluntary accreditation. Most states require ASCs to be licensed in order to operate. All which serve Medicare patients must be certified by the Medicare program, which means they comply with the federal standards ensuring safety of the patient and the quality of the facility, physicians, staff, services, and management. Many ASCs choose to go through voluntary accreditation by an independent organization.

ASCs provide services in facilities specifically designed for outpatient surgery. They consistently perform as well, if not better than, hospitals when quality and safety are examined. Rates of inpatient hospital admission and death were lower in ASCs than hospitals, even after considering high risk patients. The excellent outcomes reflect the commitment that the ASC industry has made to quality and safety, with a keen focus on ensuring the quality of the services provided. The ASC industry has shown itself to be ahead of the curve in finding promising ways to improve health care delivery at lower cost. Technology allows for a growing range of procedures to be performed on an outpatient basis. The advancement in medical innovations is driven by high levels of patient satisfaction, efficient physician practice, high quality, and cost savings that benefit all.

ASCs are required to maintain complete, comprehensive, and accurate medical records. A physician must examine the patient immediately before surgery to evaluate anesthesia risk and the procedure to be performed. Prior to discharge, each patient must be evaluated by a physician for proper anesthesia recovery. A registered nurse trained with emergency equipment must be available during a procedure. They also must have a way to transport patients to a hospital in case of an emergency.

Patients have a lower risk of hospital-acquired infections due to the specialized nature of the facilities. ASCs ensure patients to do not acquire infections during their care at these facilities. They must establish a program for identifying and preventing infections, maintaining a sanitary environment, and reporting outcomes to the proper authorities. The program must include specific procedures for prevention, early detection, control, and investigation of infectious and communicable diseases according to the CDC. ASCs have very low infection rates. Reliable data on the rate of infections after surgery is hard to find. Since patients return to their physician’s office for post-op, the surgery center may never know that an infection has occurred. Every year, surgery centers that belong to SOIX are surveyed for infection rates. Of the 35 surgery centers who participated in the survey, the surgical site infection rates results:

  • Overall infection rate was 1 in 1000 (0.1 %)
  • Ophthalmology – 0.01% infection rate
  • Pain management – no infections
  • Orthopedics – 0.3% infection rate
  • Otolaryngology – 0.02% infection rate
  • Gastrointestinal – no infections
  • Urology – 0.2% infection rate
  • No specialty with an infection rate over 0.7%
  • Most centers reporting infections were multi-specialty
  • More than half reported one or more infections for 2010

The aging population will be a major force in a growing demand for surgical services. Federal regulations limit the surgical procedures that Medicare will reimburse, services limited to elective procedures with short anesthesia. Medicare reimburses surgery centers at much lower rates (56%) than it reimburses hospitals, even when the procedures are identical. It is difficult to show data supporting ASC safety on Medicare patients since it refuses to reimburse ASCs for many procedures, and pays low rates for the rest. ASCs will become more appealing as an inexpensive and efficient way to provide care and meet increasing demand.

Not only do ASCs ensure the best surgical experience possible, it is also the most affordable. They offer valuable surgical services at a lower cost than hospitals for the same service. Patients also pay less co-insurance for procedures at an ASC than in a hospital setting. By having surgery at a surgery center, patients can save as much as 60% compared to the same procedure at a hospital. Employers incur lower health care costs by using ASC services because they see that ASCs deliver consistently high quality outcomes at a significant savings. ASCs make pricing information available to the patient in advance. They want to make price transparency a reality for all patients. This will empower patients as they evaluate and compare costs among various physicians.

 

http://americanactionforum.org/insights/ambulatory-surgical-centers-and-medicare
La Couture, Brittany. “Ambulatory Surgical Centers and Medicare.” Insights. American Action Forum, 5 Aug 2014. Web. 26 Aug 2014.

http://www.asge.org/uploadedFiles/Members_Only/Practice_Management/Ambulatory%20Surgery%20Centers%20%E2%80%93%20A%20Positive%20Trend%20in%20Health%20Care.pdf
“Ambulatory Surgery Centers – A Positive Trend in Health Care.” Practice Management. American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. Web. 26 Aug 2014.

http://www.beckersasc.com/asc-quality-infection-control/10-points-on-post-surgery-infection-rates-by-asc-specialty.html
Callard, Abby. “10 Points on Post-Surgery Infection Rates by ASC Specialty.” Infection Control & Clinical Quality. Becker’s Healthcare, 20 Oct 2011. Web. 26 Aug 2014.

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Posted in Business and Medicine Tagged , , , , , , , |

Ralph Weber Talks About Transparency – Video

Prices for medical care can vary across town, across the state, and across the country. There may be no difference in a surgical technique or the training of the physician, yet the price can differ up to 20 times as much, even within the same insurance network. Patients have a right to know about their options for care.

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Posted in Cost of Health Care Tagged , , , , , , |

Here’s The Thing #1: Transparency

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Posted in Common Sense Health Care Solutions, Cost of Health Care, Economics, Employer Health Plan, Health Care Innovation, Insurance, Medibid Television, Obamacare

Here’s The Thing #2: Healthcare Pricing

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Posted in Common Sense Health Care Solutions, Cost of Health Care, Economics, Employer Health Plan, Health Care Innovation, Insurance, Medibid Television, Obamacare

Here’s The Thing #3: Procedure Cost

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Posted in Common Sense Health Care Solutions, Cost of Health Care, Economics, Employer Health Plan, Health Care Innovation, Insurance, Medibid Television, Obamacare

Save Yourself from Your Desk Job – Part II

By Sue Redmond

sitting-at-deskStudies have now shown that the “couch potato” lifestyle, and even a desk job where you are sitting for long periods of time, can heighten your risk of certain diseases and even age you faster. Joan Vernikos PhD., former director for NASA’s Life Sciences Division, found that the force of gravity is essential to good health. Astronauts were able to reverse the rapid aging from anti-gravity in space (muscle, bones and overall health) by frequent actions that resist the force of gravity. In her book Sitting Kills, Moving Heals, Vernikos lays out a plan for the average man or woman to do the same without a diet or exercise. She shows how non-strenuous, frequent actions that resist the force of gravity can accomplish this.

Whether you follow the plan in Vernikos book or just get up from your desk every 20 minutes throughout your day, you are likely to feel better, physically and mentally.   Habits are formed in about 30 days. You could start out with the easy habit of leaving things out of reach and add some exercise in little by little. Here are some easy steps to start:

  • Place your water bottle or cell phone in a place that forces you to stand when you need them. (Vernikos recommends standing slowly and steadily. Work up to 36 times a day or more.)
  • Once standing, reach overhead. You could even add rising up to your toes.
  • Reach your shoulders back and then round them forward. Repeat.
  • The Handshake – clasp hands together (with one hand’s thumb pointing to the floor and the other pointing to the ceiling). Then pull! Resist the motion of both arms (feel it in your biceps). Hold, release and repeat.
  • The Lean – while you are standing with arms at your sides, simply run your hand slowly down the side of your right leg to stretch the left side. Keep your head in line with your shoulder. Come back to standing and slowly run your hand down the side of your left leg. Come back to standing. Repeat.
  • Desk Squat – Start standing with feet together (and the desk chair pushed out of the way). Bend the knees slightly so the thighs are almost parallel to the ground, as if sitting in a chair. As you bend, raise the arms to shoulder level. Keep the knees together and aligned behind your toes. Hold for 15 seconds and release.

As always, speak to your doctor before starting any new exercises, but get moving!! Your body and mind will love you for it!!

http://www.joanvernikos.com/sitting-kills-moving-heals-media-kit-v2.pdf

Vernikos PhD, Joan. “Sitting Kills, Moving Heals.” Media Kit. Quill Driver Books. December 2011. Web. 14 Aug 2014.

http://greatist.com/fitness/deskercise-33-ways-exercise-work

Milam, Emily. “Deskercise! 33 Smart Ways to Exercise at Work.” Fitness. Greatist.com, 28 May 2014. Web. 21 Aug 2014.

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Posted in Health (taking care of yourself) Tagged , , , , , , , |

Want to Get Lean and Fit? Don’t Do Cardio

Want to Get Lean and Fit? Then Don’t Do Traditional “Cardio” Exercise
by Lee Kurisko, MD

For many, this is heresy but I believe that it is true. Have you ever noticed the people frequenting the ellipticals and treadmills at the gym? Most of them look exactly the same six months later. In fact, virtually none of them would stand out in a crowtreadmillsd as looking very fit. The treadmill is literally the path to nowhere. Exercise like that that imposes a “steady state” demand on the body, is a very inefficient means to improve fitness. Steady state exercise is exercise in which you are breathing harder than usual, but can still carry on a conversation. If your goal is to run a marathon (a ridiculous goal for most people), then you will need to do plenty of steady state exercise like distance running. Research in the last few years has demonstrated that short intense bouts of exercise can produce a higher level of fitness than steady state exercise. This is exercise that causes intense shortness of breath and burning muscles. Think sprinting and not jogging.

Another major problem with traditional cardio is the fact that the same movement pattern is repeated over and over thousands of times leading to injuries. The human body is capable of myriad movements so why focus on just one?

One more problem is that very prolonged exercise, leads to loss of muscle tissue. We all tend to lose muscle with age. Muscle is critical for mobility so we should work to at least preserve it and better yet build more. People that do this type of exercise lose muscle with age at the same rate as people that don’t exercise at all. So you can run a marathon.   Big deal I say. Can you do a few good chin-ups and pushups. If not, you have work to do, but marathon running isn’t going to get you there.

Prolonged cardio style exercise isn’t even really very effective at improving body composition. Even a five mile run only burns about 500 calories. Most people can scarf down 500 calories in the blink of an eye offsetting any calorie burn effect. Getting lean is mostly (but not entirely) about nutrition. Unfortunately, most people have nutrition all wrong also. Perhaps I’ll save that one for another blogpost.

There is even some research coming out now that extreme lifelong aerobic exercise may be a cardiovascular risk factor!

If your goal is to run great distances and this is a sport you love, then go for it. If your goal is to be functionally fit, lean, and healthy, mix up the movements and concentrate on building anaerobic power and strength. Think intelligent weightlifting with moderate weights, calisthenics, and sprinting (whether it be running, swimming or cycling).

Lee Kurisko MD is Chief Medical Officer of MediBid. He is trained as a family physician, radiologist, and neuroradiologist. He is author of “Health Reform- The End of the American Revolution?” He is now pursuing Board Certification in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine.” His blogposts on health and fitness can now be seen at www.healthandfitnessdoctor.com.

 

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