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  • A Healthy Body for Everybody – July Lab Specials July 3, 2015
    This is a great way to be proactive and keep up with your health as well as that of your loved ones. Women’s Health Check  $109 (Regular Price $179, Retail $823) This valuable package of laboratory tests is structured with …
  • Colonoscopies: Don’t Flush Your Money Down the Drain July 1, 2015
    Preventative medical procedures, such as colonoscopy, are now required to be covered by Obamacare health insurance plans, as well as the anesthesia it requires. What may be more uncomfortable than the procedure itself is the price of the bowel prep …
  • Taking Control of Your Medical Records June 29, 2015
    Leaving your health records solely in the hands of doctors and hospitals is a big mistake. This gives them too much power over your information and increases possibility for errors. When you are in control of your own records, you …
  • High Deductible Plans are Changing Patient Interaction June 26, 2015
    High deductible plans are changing where patients get medical care and how they pay for it. Once a bill exceeds 5% of household income, patients most likely cannot pay for it themselves. Major employers offer high deductible plans (an average …
  • Beet Juice Lowers Blood Pressure June 24, 2015
    A small study in London showed that drinking a cup of beetroot juice significantly lowered blood pressure in hypertensive patients within six hours. After 24 hours, their blood pressure remained lower than those in the control group. The benefits come …
  • Supreme Court Decision on Healthcare Subsidies to Come This Week June 22, 2015
    by Jane Orient, MD The Big Lie of ObamaCare is in the title: the Affordable Care Act. Administration officials invoke “affordable” over and over again. The U.S. Supreme Court could well blow the Democrats’ cover in King v. Burwell if …
  • Shopping While Hungry Leads to Poor Eating All Week June 19, 2015
    A study at Cornell University examined the food selections that a group of shoppers put in their virtual online grocery cart. The shoppers that had not eaten four or five hours beforehand selected 23% more processed junk food than those …
  • Long ER Waits Continue in Canada as Budget Cuts Increase June 17, 2015
    Lee Parker of Ottawa had to wait 48 hours in the Emergency Room before being admitted for heart attack complications. He watched other patients come in, but since there was no room for them, they lay on gurneys in the …
  • Health Benefits of Cucumbers June 15, 2015
    There are hundreds of varieties of cucumber and dozens of colors. Cucumbers are a fruit, not a vegetable, as most people think. They are a good source of phytonutrients with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits. The peel and seeds are …
  • Should a Business Offer Healthcare Benefits? June 12, 2015
    Offering healthcare benefits is optional for small businesses, but is important to an employee as one of the most popular benefits in a compensation package. An employer who wishes to stay competitive with other businesses in the community will most …
  • Study Shows Some Hospitals Inflate Prices 1000% June 10, 2015
    A study published recently in Health Affairs shows that hospitals mark up their prices, often 10 times the actual cost. The 50 most expensive hospitals in the US are for-profit and have an average markup of 1010%. Out of network …
  • How to Keep Mosquitos Away June 3, 2015
    by Adrienne Snavely In the summer, spending more time outdoors means spending more time out with mosquitos, of which 200 species can be found in the US. It seems to be hard to escape their itchy bites, but protecting yourself …
  • Buying Real Health Insurance is a Crime June 1, 2015
    It’s illegal to sell true health insurance in America. With true insurance, such as auto insurance, we pool our risks to reduce the financial burdens brought on with unforeseen accidents or illness. Insurance originated with churches and labor unions, then …
  • Coffee Bean Extract Lowers Blood Sugar May 29, 2015
    Manufacturers of green coffee extract in Austin, TX conducted a study in India on the effects of unroasted coffee beans on blood glucose. All participants were normal weight with normal blood sugar. All of them had results of lowered blood …
  • Implanted Heart Devices Affected by iPads May 27, 2015
    A new study has found that the magnetic interference from iPads could alter the settings or even deactivate implanted defibrillators. This interference comes from the magnets imbedded in the iPad 2 and its Smart Cover. Magnets in the heart devices …
  • Canadian Cancer Patient Says Korean Surgery Saved His Life May 22, 2015
    Gerd Trubenbach of British Columbia was diagnosed with cancer, as a huge tumor was growing in his neck. His family doctor suggested that the tumor could not be removed and there was nothing else that could be done. The wait …
  • How to Prevent Hemorrhoids May 20, 2015
    Many people have hemorrhoids at some time, and they are a common problem. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anal canal, which can be painful but not usually serious. They are caused from too much pressure on the veins in …
  • Emergency Room Visits Increase with Obamacare May 15, 2015
    Obamacare predicted that expanding health insurance coverage for the poor would reduce costly emergency room visits. A new study has found that newly insured people are actually visiting the ER more often, 40% more often than those who are uninsured. …
  • Transparency: Changing the US Healthcare System May 13, 2015
    Ralph Weber, President and CEO of MediBid, is interviewed by David Saltzman of ShiftShapers. Mr. Weber has been in the benefits business since the mid 1990s, serving clients in the US, Canada, and around the globe. A lack of information …
  • Appalachia Sees Increased Cases of Hepatitis C May 11, 2015
    Infections of Hepatitis C, a contagious liver infection spread by blood contact, has more than tripled in Appalachia – Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia – fueled by prescription drug abuse in rural areas. About 73% of patients are under …

A Healthy Body for Everybody – July Lab Specials

running

This is a great way to be proactive and keep up with your health as well as that of your loved ones.

Women’s Health Check  $109 (Regular Price $179, Retail $823)
This valuable package of laboratory tests is structured with a focus on the disorders that affect women.postmenopausal-woman
order now

Includes:

 

The CWP which is #1 ordered test – year after year!
Over 50 individual laboratory tests to provide a thorough Biochemical assessment of your health, and includes the basic cardiovascular tests as well as diabetes testing.
Lipid: This is a group of simple blood tests that reveal important information about the types, amount and distribution of the various types of fats (lipids) in the bloodstream.
Complete Blood Count (CBC’s): Used as a broad screening test to check for such disorders as anemia, infection, and many other diseases. It is actually a panel of tests that examines different parts of the blood.
Fluids and Electrolytes: Includes Chloride, Serum, Potassium, Sodium, Serum, and Carbon Dioxide
Thyroid Panel w/TSH: Includes T-3 Uptake, T4, T7, TSH
Liver: Includes Albumin, Alkaline Phosphatase, Alanine Transaminase (ALT) (SGPT), Aspartate Transaminase (AST) (SGOT), Bilirubin, Total, Bilirubin, Direct, Protein, Total
Kidney: Includes Albumin, Calcium, Carbon dioxide, Chloride, Creatinine, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, BUN
Glucose (Diabetes)
Mineral and Bone: Iron, Total, Calcium, and Phosphorus
Urinalysis: Over 15 different items, this panel is useful in the evaluation of conditions such as urinary tract infection, dehydration, and kidney stones.
Estradiol: Estradiol is a form of estrogen, necessary for many processes in the body. Estradiol is a female sex hormone that is involved in the development and maintenance of the female reproductive system.
CRP, hs: hs-CRP is usually ordered as one of several tests in a cardiovascular risk profile. This test can help determine the potential risk level for cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and strokes. The current thinking is that hs-CRP can play a role in the evaluation process before one encounters one of these health problems.

Men’s Health Check $109 (Regular Price $179, Retail $756)
order now

Includes:

 

Comprehensive Wellness Panel: Over 50 individual laboratory tests to provide a thorough Biochemical assessment of your health, and includes the basic cardiovascular tests as well as diabetes testing:
Lipids (cholesterol, HDL, LDL, the risk ratio, triglycerides)hormonemen
Complete Blood Count (CBC’s)
Fluids and Electrolytes
Thyroid w/TSH
Liver
Kidney
Glucose (Diabetes)
Mineral and Bone

Urinalysis: Over 15 different items, this panel is useful in the evaluation of conditions such as urinary tract infection, dehydration, and kidney stones.

PSA: The prostate specific antigen (PSA), is a protein made only in the prostate gland. PSA is produced by normal, abnormal and cancerous prostatic tissue. The PSA blood test is an accurate measure of this amount. The theory is that cancer causes more of the protein to be made and leaked into the blood than normal prostate tissue, so PSA is now used for assisting in the diagnosis and monitoring of prostatic carcinoma.

CRP, hs: CRP is a critical component of the immune system, a complex set of proteins that our bodies make when faced with a major infection or trauma.
Over a dozen major studies demonstrate that baseline levels of CRP in apparently healthy men and women are highly predictive of future risk of heart attack, stroke, sudden cardiac death, and the development of peripheral arterial disease. Individuals with elevated levels of CRP have a risk about 2 to 3 times higher than the risk of those with low levels.
If your hs-CRP level is very high, above 10mg/L, you should have the test repeated after 2-3 weeks, as the high hs-CRP level may reflect an acute infection that you are experiencing at the time. You should therefore have your hs-CRP evaluated ONLY when feeling well. If upon repeat testing your hs-CRP level remains high, then you are most probably in the higher cardiovascular risk group and should consult your physician.

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

Colonoscopies: Don’t Flush Your Money Down the Drain

toilet-bucket-money

Preventative medical procedures, such as colonoscopy, are now required to be covered by Obamacare health insurance plans, as well as the anesthesia it requires. What may be more uncomfortable than the procedure itself is the price of the bowel prep kit and pre-screening consultations, which are not included and can cost around $250.

Colonoscopies are the most requested procedures on MediBid, where those who are seeking this procedure out-of-network or as a self-pay patient can find a colonoscopy plus facility and physician consultation for about $400.

http://khn.org/news/your-colonoscopy-is-covered-but-surprise-the-prep-kit-may-not-be/
Andrews, Michelle. “Your Colonoscopy is Covered, But Surprise! The Prep Kit May Not Be.” News. Kaiser Health News, 30 Jun 2015. Web. 1 Jul 2015.

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

Taking Control of Your Medical Records

medicalrecord

Leaving your health records solely in the hands of doctors and hospitals is a big mistake. This gives them too much power over your information and increases possibility for errors. When you are in control of your own records, you can give out information to specialists, for second opinions, and when shopping for affordable health care. Over 400,000 Americans die each year because of medical errors and doctors who cannot get the proper information. Electronic records makes it easier for the government and insurance companies to access patient information than for patients to access their own. Keeping your own medical records puts the patient in control of how their information is used. Here are five steps to help you obtain your records and improve well-being.

  1. Demand Your Data – Under federal law, you have the right to get copies of your medical records, and providers have 30 days to act. Even with this right, few patients have accessed their records, possibly because physicians haven’t told them they can or haven’t provided a way to do so.
  2. Get Organized – There are several software programs and mobile apps to create your own personal health records from the data you obtain. Patients can collect records for their whole family and keep it in one place.
  3. Share Information – Patients can share their data with whomever they choose without waiting for a doctor’s office to do it. Having your own records also removes the awkwardness of requesting your doctor to send data to another provider for a second opinion. Family members can access critical information about you in case of an emergency. There is even an app called ICEBlueButton where users can upload whatever information they choose and is accessible to paramedics.
  4. Generate Your Own Data – Wearable devices can record several health factors such as heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar which can be added to your own medical records.
  5. Protect Your Data – Keeping your own health records safe from loss or theft is a big responsibility. Protect all personal health records and medical apps with passwords and encrypt data when shared electronically.

 

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB12367224787933994021304581064031716335262
Beck, Melinda. “How to Take Charge of Your Medical Records.” Health. The Wall Street Journal, 29 Jun 2015. Web. 29 Jun 2015.

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Posted in Patient Privacy Tagged , , , , , , |

High Deductible Plans are Changing Patient Interaction

Chalkboard2

High deductible plans are changing where patients get medical care and how they pay for it. Once a bill exceeds 5% of household income, patients most likely cannot pay for it themselves. Major employers offer high deductible plans (an average deductible of $1200) in combination with health savings accounts. Deductibles for exchange plans are even higher. Some hospitals are asking for 25% prepayment for self-pay patients. Physicians are having financial conversations with patients before any treatment is given. The online company Simplee allows patients to get real, pre-service estimates and explore financing. Patients are very interested about their cost-sharing estimates. The growth of high deductible plans is turning healthcare into a retail market, especially for services such as imaging and lab tests. Urgent care centers and surgery centers are increasing competition with hospitals. Some health systems are publicizing their prices as a way to get into the retail market.

http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20150624/NEWS/150629941/high-deductible-plans-change-how-hospitals-interact-with-patients
Kutscher, Beth. “High-deductible plans change how hospitals interact with patients.” Finance. Modern Healthcare, 24 Jun 2015. Web. 26 Jun 2015.

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

Beet Juice Lowers Blood Pressure

Beet-Juice

A small study in London showed that drinking a cup of beetroot juice significantly lowered blood pressure in hypertensive patients within six hours. After 24 hours, their blood pressure remained lower than those in the control group. The benefits come from inorganic nitrate (NO3) found in beets and leafy vegetables. The body converts NO3 to inorganic nitrite (NO2), then is broken down to nitric oxide (NO), resulting in vasodilation. The nitrite had little effect on the blood pressure of healthy study participants. Patients with renal failure should avoid beet juice. Providing nitrite could be an affordable, safe, and effective option for hypertensive patients to achieve their target blood pressure.

http://www.drbordenave.com/articles/id/164
Bordenave MD, Jorge. “Beet Juice Beats Hypertension.” Articles. DrBordenave.com. Web. 24 Jun 2015.

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Supreme Court Decision on Healthcare Subsidies to Come This Week

by Jane Orient, MD
The Big Lie of ObamaCare is in the title: the Affordable Care Act. Administration officials invoke “affordable” over and over again.

supreme-courtThe U.S. Supreme Court could well blow the Democrats’ cover in King v. Burwell if it rules that people in the 37 states that did not establish an Exchange cannot legally get taxpayer subsidies for health insurance.

The subsidies hide the reality. People generally look only at what they themselves have to pay. They do not care what faceless taxpayers are paying to insurance companies for their policies.

Of the 11.7 million Americans who now have private health insurance through federal and state marketplaces, 86 percent of them are receiving financial assistance from federal taxpayers to help pay premiums—or, more accurately, their insurance company is.

“More than seven million people could lose subsidies, making insurance unaffordable,” said White House officials, according to The New York Times.

These subsidies (“tax credits”) averaged $263 a month and reduced the premium by 72 percent, on average. Taxpayers who manage to earn more than a certain threshold thus have to pay 100 percent of their own premiums plus their “fair share” of 72 percent of premiums for those who earn less.

Assuming that they will be blamed for the surge in the number of uninsured, although they did not write the law, congressional Republicans are scurrying for ways to “fix” the problem of a purported “mistake” in drafting the law.

The only problem they apparently see is that people would lose coverage—not that ObamaCare drove premiums to unaffordable levels. And the only remedy they can think of is to force others to pay the unaffordable cost, at least for a time. Not having learned from vast experience, they assume that an extension of subsidies will be temporary.

One would like to see Republicans explain to the people why the whole structure of ObamaCare is a mistake, which worsens and solidifies the problems that make American medical care so costly in the first place. These are the simple, incontrovertible facts:

  • Guaranteed issue/community rating always drives up premiums and leads to a “death spiral.” Unless premiums are based on risk, people have no incentive to buy insurance when they are well.
  • Mandates to pay for expensive services people do not need or want help purveyors of such services but drive up premiums.
  • Third-party payment itself always and everywhere drives costs far higher than people would pay if spending their own money.
  • Administrative micromanagement drives up costs and limits access.
  • Insurance is not the only way to buy medical care—just the most expensive way.

ObamaCare needs to be repealed. Tweaking one of the interlocking parts just makes the interconnected rest even more unworkable. If the Supreme Court exposes the true cost by removing the veil of subsidies, Republicans should not try to cover it up.

If people lose coverage, another shocking truth might be revealed, to the horror of the insurance cartel: they might be better off. The unsubsidized share of premiums—instead of being sucked into the insurer’s bank account—would be available to buy actual care, which people might now avoid because of high ObamaCare deductibles. A market might develop for true catastrophic-only insurance, with appropriately low premiums. Note that if ObamaCare insurance becomes unaffordable because of lack of subsidies, the individual mandate penalty/tax does not apply.

Of the money paid to insurers, at least 15 percent goes to administration and much more to activities like “quality assurance” that provide nothing recognizable to patients as a medical service or product. And if the insurer does pay for something, it decides exactly what, when, and how much a beneficiary might receive.

There are many alternatives to dependence on the government/insurer monolith, which the cartel would love to crush, such as health sharing ministries, direct-pay practices, and indemnity insurance. More resources are becoming available to patients (for example, medicalselfsufficiency.com, selfpaypatient.com, and medibid.com).

Republicans should not help to suppress alternatives by propping up the ObamaCare monster and leaving the façade of subsidies intact.

Jane M. Orient obtained her undergraduate degrees in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1974. She completed an internal medicine residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital and University of Arizona Affiliated Hospitals and then became an Instructor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and a staff physician at the Tucson Veterans Administration Hospital. She has been in solo private practice since 1981 and has served as Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) since 1989.

http://www.aapsonline.org/index.php/site/article/will_republicans_keep_the_court_from_blowing_obamas_cover/
Orient MD, Jane. “Will Republicans Keep the Court from Blowing Obama’s Cover?” What’s New. Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, 22 Jun 2015. Web. 22 Jun 2015.

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Posted in Health Care Reform Tagged , , , , , , , |

Shopping While Hungry Leads to Poor Eating All Week

Food in a shopping basket

A study at Cornell University examined the food selections that a group of shoppers put in their virtual online grocery cart. The shoppers that had not eaten four or five hours beforehand selected 23% more processed junk food than those who had a snack before starting. They didn’t choose more items, but selected food that required little to no preparation. The study respondents said that healthy snacks are important, yet the most popular snack selections were chips and soda. A cart full of junk leads to a pantry of the same, leaving a person with less healthy food to eat at home. Be sure to have a piece of fruit or other healthy snack before heading to the grocery store for your weekly purchases.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/hungry-shoppers-buy-junk-food-study-finds/story?id=19119044
Neporant, Liz. “Hungry Shoppers Eat Worse All Week Long, Study Finds.” Health. ABCNews, 6 May 2013. Web. 18 Jun 2015.

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

Long ER Waits Continue in Canada as Budget Cuts Increase

Canadacare

Lee Parker of Ottawa had to wait 48 hours in the Emergency Room before being admitted for heart attack complications. He watched other patients come in, but since there was no room for them, they lay on gurneys in the hall. These are the effects of the government’s cuts to hospital budgets. Lee’s wife, Nancy, has started protesting the cuts with a local group of healthcare activists. Several staff positions are projected to be eliminated to balance the hospital budget, while overcrowding and emergency wait times continue in Ontario and across Canada. The Parkers are shocked that there is not more outcry from the public.

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/ottawa-couple-speaks-out-against-hospital-cuts-after-48-hour-wait-in-er
Feibel, Adam. “Ottawa couple speaks out against hospital cuts after 48-hour wait in ER.” Local News. Ottawa Citizen, 10 Jun 2015. Web. 17 Jun 2015.

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Posted in Canadian Healthcare Tagged , , , , , , , |

Health Benefits of Cucumbers

There are hundreds of varieties of cucumber and dozens of colors. Cucumbers are a fruit, not a vegetable, as most people think. They are a good source of phytonutrients with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits. The peel and seeds are the most nutrient-rich parts. Cucumbers are naturally low in calories, with only 16 calories in a cup. Eating cucumbers is a great way to stay hydrated, as they are 95% water. The phytonutrients inhibit growth of pancreatic cancer cells and lower risks of ovarian cancer. Topical application of cucumbers helps decrease swelling, irritation, and inflammation. Cucumbers contain antioxidants, including vitamin C, manganese, beta-carotene, and vitamin K (which helps with building bones and blood clotting). Fresh extracts from cucumber reduce free radicals. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of many health conditions. Pickling cucumbers is a good way to preserve them and prevent spoiling by soaking in salt, vinegar, dill, garlic, or lime.

http://www.livescience.com/51000-cucumber-nutrition.html
Szalay, Jessie. “Cucumbers: Health Benefits & Nutrition Facts.” LiveScience, 28 May 2015. Web. 14 Jun 2015.

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Should a Business Offer Healthcare Benefits?

Benefits

Offering healthcare benefits is optional for small businesses, but is important to an employee as one of the most popular benefits in a compensation package. An employer who wishes to stay competitive with other businesses in the community will most likely offer benefits. Obamacare requires employers with more than 50 employees to provide healthcare coverage. An employer may take advantage of offering group rate insurance to get a tax break.

Pros of Offering Health Insurance

  • Attract and retain employees
  • Avoid Obamacare fines and penalties
  • Premiums are 100% deductible on income tax for employers and self-employed
  • Small business health care tax credit
  • Businesses can get group rates from insurance companies or send employees to Small Business federal marketplace (SHOP)
  • Employees with preventative healthcare will stay healthy and working

 

Cons of Offering Health Insurance

  • Costs continue to increase and drain valuable resources for a company
  • Pushing additional costs onto employees (cost-sharing) can cause tension
  • Filling out all the paperwork, sending in premiums, and acting as a go-between are administrative hassles
  • Employees may sue employers when displeased with a provider or plan

 

http://www.bizfilings.com/toolkit/sbg/office-hr/managing-the-workplace/offering-health-care-benefits.aspx
“Should You Offer Employees Health Care Benefits?” Managing the Workplace. BizFilings, 14 Jan 2014. Web. 11 Jun 2015.

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Posted in Employer Health Plan Tagged , , , , , , , |
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