Date: Friday, October 1, 2010

Time: 11 AM Eastern, 10 AM Central, 9 AM Mountain, 8 AM Pacific

Dial in information: 1-888-283-2975

Passcode: 1862596

Join Surgeon General Regina Benjamin on the conference call to learn about two historic opportunities created by the Affordable Care Act:

  • The National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council, chaired by Dr. Benjamin and composed of senior cabinet-level officials across federal agencies, and the development and implementation of the National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy.
  • Dr. Benjamin is conducting this outreach call to engage the public and professionals in the  development of the National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy. Join her in this national effort to improve the health of all Americans.

For more information on this call visit:

Due to the large number of callers, please plan to call in 5-10 minutes ahead of time.

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Ovarian Cancer National Alliance Hosts First Tea of Hope

“This is the kind of tea party I can support!” exclaimed Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-3rd), addressing Tea of Hope attendees to accept her “Award of Hope” this morning.

The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA) hosted its first annual Tea of Hope on Capitol Hill this morning in honor of Ovarian Cancer awareness month (September). The Tea celebrated successes – legislative and personal – and honored Rep. DeLauro for her continued efforts to increase awareness and research funding.

In a standing-room-only banquet room of the Rayburn House Office Building, woman (and a few men!) gathered to celebrate, commemorate and champion ovarian cancer issues. In an audience that included not only Members of Congress but also Miss USA, nothing stood out more than the resounding hope for increased advocacy, awareness and research.

The morning had notes of both victory and nostalgia, hope and heartache as DeLauro and others recalled both those lucky enough to still be in our vicinity and those not as fortunate. DeLauro recounted her personal fight – now almost 25 years ago – with ovarian cancer, and how it changed her life. She also acknowledged her fellow Members fighting for women’s health issues, including friend and colleague Rep. Nita Lowey (NY-18th).

DeLauro’s message was especially appropriate today, as Johanna’s Law: The Gynecological Cancer Education and Awareness Act  is up for reauthorization in the House this afternoon. Of course, she urged all in attendance to do their part and get it passed.

The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance is the foremost advocate for women with ovarian cancer in the United States. To advance the interests of women with ovarian cancer, the organization advocates at a national level for increases in research funding for the development of an early detection test, improved health care practices, and life-saving treatment protocols.  The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance educates health care professionals and raises public awareness of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. A recent initiative that OCNA completed was its United States of Teal campaign – which garnered support from state level legislators for ovarian cancer awareness and research. During the month of September, OCNA members lobbied their representatives to “turn their state teal.” By the end, nearly half the states had turned teal.

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A Vital Partnership in Health Care

The following post is by guest blogger Helen Durkin, JD. Helen is the Executive Vice President of Public Policy for the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA)—a not-for-profit trade association representing health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, sports clubs, and suppliers worldwide. She joined IHRSA in 1989 and developed the health club industry’s first government relations and legal service programs. She has served as the association’s director of public policy since 1999. In this leadership capacity, Durkin has succeeded in aligning IHRSA with the national effort to improve America’s health through healthy lifestyle choices and in promoting public policy that recognizes exercise as a key component of preventive health care.

Concerned about health care costs? Consider this: only one of every three adults exercises regularly; one in four does not exercise at all; nearly 40 percent spend the majority of the day sitting; and even though eight out of ten adults recognize the benefits of exercise, only two exercise enough to meet physical activity guidelines. What’s more, chronic diseases—many of which are preventable and related to lifestyle choices—remain the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. It’s no wonder that health care costs continue to soar.

More must be done in health care settings nationwide to address physical activity and exercise if we are to make greater progress in improving America’s health and curbing the cost of health care. And we must put a greater focus on the fundamental practice of prevention—in the form of healthy lifestyle choices.

For decades, the health care and fitness industries have been operating separately, working toward the same goal of improving people’s health and well-being. A synergy exists between the two industries that must to be recognized and leveraged. It’s time for the health care and fitness industries to forge a partnership. We can maximize our efforts and become more effective. And we can build upon one another’s strengths to improve America’s health.

The fitness industry specializes in exercise and knows what motivates people to become and remain physically active. Physicians and others within the medical community are highly influential and have access to people when they are most focused on their health—and when they are most receptive to accepting health care recommendations. In fact, 65 percent of patients say they would be more interested in exercising to stay healthy if advised by their doctor and given additional resources; 25 percent note that their doctor would be the first person they turn to for advice on exercise and physical activity; and four out of ten physicians talk to their patients about the importance of exercise—but don’t always offer suggestions on the best ways to be physically active. (more…)

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Health Care News Roundup

By Hope Ditto. A big Friday in health care news – we have pledges, reforms and analysis – oh my! (This week’s Roundup was also posted here.)

First, some major provisions of the health care bill go into effect today – though exactly how many seems to be up for debate (I credit the crystal clear, completely straightforward, not even remotely ambiguous language of the bill for that.) Democratic House Caucus chairman John Larson outlines the 10 new reforms and how they will impact health care policy here. Meanwhile, Kaiser’s Health on the Hill blog explains the eight new laws (and their subsequent seven caveats) here. Interpret away.

And for answers to all your questions about health care reform – including the latest 10 provisions, check out this Q&A with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Also worth a read, National Journal’s Meghan McCarthy offers a more thoughtful look at health care reform – six months later.

The Republicans unveiled their Pledge to America (full text) yesterday, a 21 page document outlining their revised vision for the country and especially for health care reform. All the details of their intentions and vision here and Jonathan Allen’s analysis of it here.

We know things haven’t been going so well for Obama, especially on the health care front, but how bad are they really? Well, if this Politico headline is any indication, pretty darn bad. One of the headlines in their health care section: Barack Obama seeks divine intervention on health care reform. Read the story here.

Not everyone is quite as pessimistic though. According to Kaiser Health News writer Jenny Gold, Democrats’ best bet at selling health care reform is going back to the basics. As Democratic pollster Peter Hart told Gold, Democrats need to start saying, “’Here’s what the bill’s about. Here’s why it makes a difference. Here’s why it’s good for you and it’s good for America.’” Read more analysis here.

Post reporter/blogger Ezra Klein offered his own analysis on the situation and advice to Obama this week – his was a bit more straightforward than Hart’s. Klein’s take on the ever-complex and highly complicated situation: cut Medicare first. The second most straight-forward advice Obama has ever gotten on HCR, after “REPEAL.” Well, it’s something at least.

Going outside of the Beltway, an interesting story in the Wall Street Journal blog about how many lives mammograms actually save. Hint: not as many as you think! Great news to break on the day that a law goes into effect mandating insurance companies cover mammograms. Maybe Politico wasn’t so off on the divine intervention jibe.

Another interesting blog entry, this one from Washington Post’s The Checkup – do abortions cause depression? Not in teens says a new study, contrary to previous research on the subject.

And, shifting focus to another politically charged health debate – genetically modified salmon. Are they safe for human consumption? Will allowing them into our food source jeopardize our ecosystems? Will these genetically superior salmon be capable of actually swimming upstream? Read the Washington Post analysis here.

On another note, Disruptive Women in Health Care turns two this month; a big thank you to all our bloggers and readers for making these past two years truly disruptive!

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Wired Women: Connected Health Care Decision Makers

This month marks Disruptive Women in Health Care Blog’s second anniversary and today’s breakfast was the perfect way to celebrate. This morning’s speakers included Regina Holliday, DC based patient rights advocate with personal experience in meaningful use and electronic health records, and Disruptive Women in Health Care blogger; Aldis Berzins, Director, Information Technology Initiatives, Special Olympics, Olympic Gold Medal Winner, Volleyball; and Bradley Merrill Thompson, Partner, EpsteinBeckerGreen.

Regina Holliday presented her heart wrenching personal story about her husband’s battle with kidney cancer and the obstacles they faced while in the health care system. Her experiences led her to discover that currently people need a guidebook to navigate the health care system which should not be the case. So, after her husband’s passing she made it her goal to fight to change the health care system to ensure patients’ voices are heard. She has done this through her murals, getting involved in various social networks and taking advantage of every opportunity to talk about her experience and what others can do to change the system so it does not happen to them.

Next, Aldis Berzins gave the audience a peek into the work being done by the Special Olympics involving the empowerment of the athletes to be in control of their medical data. They are currently working on an AHRQ funded pilot project to determine how this is best done.

The final panelist, Brad Thompson discussed whether or not the government, specifically the FDA can and should regulate connected health care devices as medical devices. His takeaway message was that despite the government’s valiant efforts to and input do not always get it right, therefore patient involvement is critical. 

We want to thank the breakfast’s sponsor EpsteinBeckerGreen for enabling us to bring together this exciting and informative panel. Video and photos from the breakfast will be available soon, so stay tuned.

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Disruptive Women’s Latest Additions

Robin Strongin

By Robin Strongin.  It is my pleasure to annouce our four newest Disruptive Women bloggers. This group of amazing women all work in innovative ways to improve the lives of others; they are committed to improving the health and well being of everyone – men, women, and children.

Take a moment to look over their bios and of course stay tuned for their future posts.

Alexandra Drane  Alexandra Drane has devoted her career to inspiring people to lead healthier, happier and more engaged lives through the use of innovative technology. She is currently president and co-founder of Eliza Corporation and is also a co-founder of Engage with Grace, a not-for-profit movement launched in October 2008 aimed at helping people understand, communicate and have honored their end-of-life wishes.
Gwen Mayes  Gwen Mayes has devoted her 30-year career to the responsible development of health policies that balance the interests of patients, regulators and health providers. While working in women’s health, Mayes launched Writing With Insight®.
Halle Tecco  Halle Tecco is a San Francisco resident and social entrepreneur passionate about technology, service and healthy living. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Yoga Bear, a non-profit providing more opportunities of health and wellness to cancer patients through the practice of yoga.
Nancy LeaMond Nancy LeaMond is the Executive Vice President of Social Impact for AARP where she leads strategic planning, government relations and advocacy, education and programs for AARP’s health care, financial security, livable communities and global aging agenda. She led AARP’s Health Action Now campaign as well as Divided We Fail.

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This is a story about the power of ideas to go viral

Alexandra Drane

By Alexandra Drane.  About a year ago, as key elements of the health reform bill were in debate, some savvy political strategists coined the term “Death Panels.”

 It was both brilliant and damning – positioning end-of-life care as an incredibly personal decision put in the hands of a big government.  And it was catchy – to the point of scoring a cameo appearance on Saturday Night Live …even proving worthy of parody by Bill Maher.

What those savvy politicians forgot was that  sometimes even the best laid plans can be put to rest (pun absolutely intended). Because as frustrating as it was to see end-of-life issues exploited for political purposes, in the end, the Death Panel fiasco actually served to breathe life into the very opposite movement.   It did those of us telling our story about the importance of really understanding, sharing, and having honored our end-of-life wishes –whatever those wishes might be – a favor. It got people talking and thinking about this one issue that affects absolutely every one of us – ending our lives with the same grace and intent with which we lived them.

And today, one year later, we have a huge, respectable body of work around end-of-life planning in response to what was intended as a damning political catch-phrase.  Articles like Atul Gawande’s in The New Yorker; an Associated Press article on how Americans are overtreated; a multi-part segment on National Public Radio; debate over the topic in the Boston Globe …and so many more. 

We couldn’t have imagined when we went live with Engage with Grace in 2008 (you can watch a video of the launch here) that our movement would spread so far – but having seen the outpouring of support from people just eager to tell their story, we shouldn’t have been surprised by  the backlash Death Panels created.

The idea behind Engage with Grace is simple – we as a nation need a tool to help get these conversations started.  Something that can be shared easily with family, friends, colleagues – anyone really.   

So we came up with The One Slide —  just five questions about our end of life preferences each of us should be able to answer for ourselves, and for our loved ones, before it is too late to decide.  Preferences we should then commit to supporting – no matter what the opposition.  And we asked a whole lot of people to answer the questions for themselves, and then spread the word.

Now, thanks to an annual Thanksgiving blog rally  as well as countless supporters spreading the word through their teaching, their business presentations, and their after-hours conversations with friends and family – The One Slide is spreading, and the five questions are getting answered.  Engage With Grace was even named to the 2009 healthcare lexicon by HealthLeaders magazine.

So now, to celebrate the great honor it is to be in the company of Disruptive Women, we humbly ask that you help us keep the movement alive.   

Oh yeah – and one more thing – to all you fear-mongers out there who coined and perpetuated the Death Panel mania – we want to thank you.  Looks like your best laid plans just might be finding their final resting place.  

Pass it on.

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A Short Story about Dumping my Doctor

Gwen Mayes

By Gwen Mayes. It was 1998 and I was new in town.   By town, I mean a Midwest city on a big river with well over two million residents and two academic medical centers.  Having been diagnosed with a rare heart disorder many years before, finding a good cardiologist in town was one of my first priorities. 

I checked my health plan, researched the local paper, called the university medical centers and settled on a highly regarded, mid-50s, white-haired cardiologist in private practice with an affiliation at one of the medical centers in the area. 

Our relationship lasted six months.  Well, maybe one year, but that would be a stretch.

As a former physician assistant, I handled the paperwork and repetitive tests that come with seeing a new doctor without concern.  But the first few months of my move I was miserable and an emotional wreck.  My mother died four days after I moved; her mother the next month.  The job I was hired to do was canceled and I missed passing the bar exam by one point.  I was exhausted and trembling at night from the weight of all the changes and uncertainty in my life. 

When the palpitations started, I knew the stress was too much.

“I think I’m depressed,” I said with a lump in my throat to the Midwest cardiologist a bit shocked that I could utter the word.  It was our third visit.  I went on.  “I’m not sleeping well, all I do is cry, and I’m just a bundle of nerves.”    

Without looking up from the note he was scribbling in my chart he said, “Have you thought about looking for help on the internet?”

It was all I could do to sit upright on the examining table.  I was shocked and disappointed that this was his best suggestion.

 “The internet?” I thought to myself.  “Who is going to hold my hand or hug me on the Internet?”

At that moment I realized I needed a different doctor.  I walked out of his office and never returned.

What I had overlooked was the importance of finding a doctor I meshed with personally.  Not just one who had a prominent title, several clinical trials to his name, and a prestigious academic center standing behind him, but one that could simply look me in the eyes and tell that something wasn’t right.  Someone with empathy and a gentle touch.  Someone I could build a relationship with.

The doctor-patient relationship is delicate; for patients living with chronic conditions or illnesses it means balancing personal rapport with clinical knowledge.  Sometimes all you want are the facts from your doctor.  But sometimes, you want a hug and some encouragement and the personal connection is as healing as any pill.   Keep looking until you find the best of both.

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Health Care News Roundup

By Hope Ditto. It’s Friday and you know what that means – a brand new roundup of health care news you can use!

The big news this week – census data is out and the percentage of people with health insurance is down for the first time in over two decades. More on the report and its findings from the Wall Street Journal Health Blog.

Ding-ding! And we’re back in the ring for another round of fight-that-doesn’t-end on the Hill. With election season officially upon us, both sides are jumping at the chance to offer their solution to the health care issue.

But first, in case you’re confused by just what health care reform is and isn’t in effect, a “Consumer’s Guide to the Health Law, Six Months In,” by Kaiser Health News.

The White House is planning a full-scale PR strike to promote both the original bill and their additional proposals that will be coming up for a vote in the next few weeks, according to Politico. Loyalist Democrats launched the Health Information Center this week, a multi-million dollar effort to promote all of this and supplement White House efforts with more down-in-the-dirt, War Room style tactics. Gritty reports from the trenches to follow, no doubt.

Meanwhile the GOP is planning a slightly simpler approach – as House Minority Leader John Boehner told an editorial board earlier this week. Knowing that a repeal of the original bill is unlikely, Boehner plans instead to just cut off all funding required to implement it. “They’ll get not one dime from us. Not a dime,” he promised. And the war wages on…

Ezra Klein of the Washington Post reports that across the board, health care reform is polling poorly as did the Wall Street Journal blog, citing one report that more Americans would vote for a candidate that supported repealing the health care reform act than wouldn’t.

With all this in mind, it doesn’t come as much surprise that Democratic congressional candidates are wary – to say the least – of jumping on the Obamacare bandwagon. In fact, according to a report out today, they’re actually spending more money on ads opposing health care reform than ads promoting it. Per Politico, “Since the beginning of Congress’s August recess, Democratic candidates have poured $930,000 into ads deriding the health overhaul but just $300,000 in pro-reform spots, according to Evan Tracey at Kantar Media,”  And, according to The Hill, one Democratic candidate has even gone so far as to sign the GOP repeal pledge.

Only one thing about health care reform and the midterm election is clear at this point – it’s going to be a long six weeks.

On a different but equally politically charged topic, a CDC report out this week indicates that almost one-third of all sex education courses for teens discuss birth control – different methods, how they are used, etc. As a Washington Post blog entry on the report explains, lessons about saying no and STDs were much more common.

Ever felt bad coughing, sneezing or otherwise exposing your doctor to your germs while in for a visit? Think again. As USA Today reported, more than half of doctors and nurses they surveyed would and do come to work when they themselves are sick. Talk about a germy situation!

And, just in time for fall, new tips on how to track the flu, per the WSJ Health blog.

Finally, in the age of Big Business, Big Government and Big Brother, a piece on the plight of the community hospital and its fight to remain independent.

That’s all for this week; check back every Friday for your weekly roundup of health care news you can use.

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Save the Children through “See Where the Good Goes”

Every three seconds, a child somewhere in the world dies due to the lack of basic health care. Of those children under the age of five, almost two-thirds could be saved with simple low-cost health interventions, if only they had access to basic health care.

Save the Children is addressing this with their “See where the good goes” campaign. Launched in partnership with the Ad Council, the Good Goes campaign aims to mobilize citizen action in the U.S. to help local health workers save more children worldwide by using social media strategies to raise awareness about the importance of local health workers in developing countries.

Every four seconds, a child survives thanks to the basic health care provided by local health workers – such as the ones Save the Children helps train and supply in villages around the world. Frontline local health workers can help children survive threats like newborn complications, pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and malnutrition every day. Global estimates suggest that we need more than four million more local health care workers in order to save the children – the education and supplies for which quickly add up.

To highlight both the need and benefits of local health workers, the Good Goes campaign provides participants with a chance to actually “See where the good goes” – to see exactly what Save the Children funds provide – as a means of encouraging donations. Save the Children and the Ad Council   rather than tell website visitors how their donations will improve the condition and quality of life of millions of children, weaving together various social media platforms to paint a more comprehensive picture of how funding improves the living conditions and daily lives of children at all corners of the globe.

The campaign’s website serves as a portal ready to transport visitors to remote corners of the world and allow them to experience firsthand the horrors and hardships of daily life. Personal blogs from local health care workers not only contextualize the experience, but add a visual element as well. The Great Wall of Good Facebook app  demonstrates how many have already pledged their support, and how many more it will take in order to save the children. The Action Center offers additional ways to get involved and make a difference beyond monetary donations. Each different social media platform provides a different viewpoint, a different insight and a different way to get involved. Put them all together and you get a very different kind of awareness/advocacy campaign.

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How A Gorilla Improved My Memory

Archelle Georgiou, MD

By Archelle Georgiou. Mosque versus no mosque near Ground Zero. The Health Reform bill is good; it’s terrible. Jeff Skilling is a criminal; Skilling was a scapegoat. Marijuana should be legalized; it should remain illegal.

How often have you shifted your position on any of these issues? The likely answer: not often. We watch news programs that are generally aligned with our political orientation. We seek conversations with others who share our position on a controversial topic. We surround ourselves with a world that agrees with us. As a result, we rarely change, or even reconsider, our point of view.

Many of you have seen the famous Invisible Gorilla experiment. If you haven’t, take a look at it . For those of you who have seen the original video, take a look at the up experiment.

This phenomenon is called “selective attentiveness” –our natural tendency to pay attention only to messages that reinforce our own attitudes, opinions and beliefs. And, not only does it make us narrow-minded, it can negatively impact health.

Speaking of health…

“I am having a senior moment.” I dread when I have to say this. It means that my mind has drawn a complete blank, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t remember your name, what city I travelled to earlier in the week, or the name of the restaurant I was just raving about. The self-deprecating chuckle that accompanies my “excuse” is merely a quick cover-up for my fear: Am I getting Alzheimer’s? Probably not. Too young, no family history, and my genetic tests show I don’t have an increased risk. I didn’t score high on the online Alzheimer’s tests (whew!). But, what’s wrong?

I developed a few theories:

  •  I am stressed.
  • I am not get high quality sleep. The early morning sunshine streaming into our bedroom could be disrupting my REM sleep and circadian rhythms.
  • I am peri-menopausal. Maybe I need a little patch of testosterone. It reportedly improves memory, general well-being, and a few other things.

And, of course, the really irrational theory:

  • We have a problem in our home. “David, do you think we have radon or carbon monoxide problems in our house?” (more…)

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Santé – Raising a Glass to New Partnerships

Lois Privor-Dumm

By Lois Privor-Dumm. Building attention for long-standing but important problems is not always easy. Even when a disease is recognized as the leading child killer, gaining the attention of the public and our leaders to fighting it is easier said than done.   But that’s where creativity can be a big help.

A few of months ago, IVAC’s  Executive Director, Orin Levine, recounted a joke he read in Eric Asimov’s New York Times blog. “What is the difference between a case of pneumonia and a case of Syrah?  You can get rid of the case of pneumonia.”

Next thing I knew, Orin’s wheels were spinning.  He issued a challenge to America’s Syrah producers:  How can we turn this into an opportunity to raise awareness and build support to defeat this leading child killer?  Public health stakeholders often suffer by limiting discussion of important issues to the ‘usual suspects’ – professionals within their own community. 

Bringing in new partners has long been a goal – and here we had a whole new opportunity.  Why not engage America’s wine makers?  Doing so offers the tremendous opportunity to engage those that love wine in the cause.  After a weekend of throwing out ideas to family and friends, we came back and discussed as a group.  What have we got to lose? Orin issued a challenge on his Huffington Post blog and lo and behold –Larry Schaffer of Tercero Wines stepped up to the plate, offering to bring in the Rhone Rangers, America’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to promoting American Rhone varietal wines.. And so began the idea of wine partnerships.

In staying with Eric Asimov’s original blog, we’ve developed a promotion to help increase sales of Syrah.  Participating members of the Rhone Rangers will offer $10 for every case of Syrah sold during the month of November (in honor of World Pneumonia Day, November 12) to the GAVI Campaign.  A donation of just $10 can protect a child against multiple causes of pneumonia.  It’s a win-win scenario.  People get to try great wines, and help protect children in the process.  Now that’s something to raise a glass to!

So now, an invitation for you.  Please be my guest from 6-8 pm on Monday, September 20 at the New York Times Center for Pneumonia’s Last Syrah. The event, held in conjuction with the UN Summit on Millenium Development Goals, will include a wine tasting with 12 wineries and moving photo exhibit judged by Nick Kristof of The New York Times and Ann Curry of The Today Show.  Please be sure to RSVP, as space is limited.   

I look forward to meeting you as we enjoy great wine, help bring attention to the problem of child pneumonia, and celebrate the new partnership that is a win for all us, especially the children of the developing world.

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Some Fatal Flaws of “For-Profit” Health Care

Phyllis Kritek

By Phyllis Kritek. In my day job I function as a nurse who is also a health care conflict engagement specialist. Simply put, I work at improving our collective capacity in health care to discover alternatives to adversarial responses to conflict. As a student of conflict, early on I studied the arms race as an exemplar of irrational behavior. One cannot actually win the arms race without eventually cannibalizing oneself: every one is busy inventing the next iteration that requires that I do the same. Eventually, my investment in the arms race exhausts my resources. (Reference North Korea…)

I find this an instructive analog to the first fatal flaw in health care for profit. If I am engaged in such an enterprise, I am obligated to make a profit. Each year I am expected to meet or exceed last year’s profits. That requires that I continuously decrease expenses and expand my yield. If I fail to do so, I will go out of business or at least lose my stockholders and my stock value. I can never let up on profit expansion. My first best option in decreasing expenses is to cut back on major categories, such as personnel, the big budget item.

I then demand greater productivity. We did this in health care in the 90s when our national average for cutting nursing personnel in hospitals was 9%, while concurrently shortening length of stay with concomitant dramatic increases in patient acuity. Greater productivity not only evokes employee dissatisfaction; it also leads to stress, fatigue, and ERRORS. These errors are expensive. We begin to self-destruct. (I would suggest that this is the maze of horrors much of corporate America finds itself in today; most interestingly, they also now have eliminated so many workers that there is no one to buy their products because unemployed people cannot make purchases…see, it is irrational!)

The second fatal flaw that no one acknowledges is of course that another great way to make a profit is to withhold services. Insurance companies understand this. Hence, finding ways to game the system makes sense. They need to make a profit and delivering services costs money. No matter how dedicated they may be to quality health care, it is in their self-interest to deny services whenever they can. It is easiest to do this with the poor, powerless, and disadvantaged. They are less likely to raise a ruckus, and if they do, we can count on dominant groups to ignore them. After all, this profit making is our driving value, we need to serve our stockholders, and there will be acceptable collateral damage in our push to succeed. Besides, poor people might now even know they have received fewer services. (more…)

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Health Care News Roundup

By Hope Ditto. That’s right – your weekly blog roundups have returned after a lovely summer vacation. Check in every Friday for your weekly dose of health care news you can use.

The top headline this week is President Obama jumping into the ring for round 1000 (at least) of the fight to reform health care. Bloodless so far, Obama said he was “cautiously optimistic” after meeting with Senate Democrats on Tuesday this latest bill would pass without the drama of another all-out, gloves off floor fight. As he told the Post: It’s clear that we are on the precipice of an achievement that’s eluded Congresses and presidents for generations, an achievement that will touch the lives of nearly every American. There are still some differences that have to be worked on. This was not a roll call. This was a broad-based discussion about how we move forward.

Meanwhile, Health on the Hill  sought out to debunk rumors about this latest legislative push. Watch their myth-buster roundtable here for a final answer on the legality of taxing health care benefits and much, much more!

Coming at the same time as Obama’s latest push is this report that government spending on health care will go UP, not DOWN like Obama insisted that it would back in March. Though experts forecast that the increase will be modest, the political fallout is expected to be intense. According to AP reporter Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, “for critics, the numbers show that the law didn’t solve the cost problem, although Obama repeatedly said he wanted to bend the spending curve down.” Read the full article here.

And, according to this piece from the Fiscal Times, it isn’t just the federal government feeling the cost effects of health care reform. State governments – many of which are already in dire shape thanks to that pesky recession – are collapsing under a mountain of Medicare bills, an unfortunate consequence of soaring unemployment. And some analysts say the only solution is for the federal government to shoulder a larger portion of the financial burden. (more…)

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EmpowHER’s 1000Women Campaign Launches TODAY

Michelle King Robson

By Michelle King Robson. Become part of a campaign that is going to change the health and the lives of 1,000,000 women this year!

Through EmpowHER’s 1000Women campaign, they are recruiting 1,000 women who will then each reach out to 1,000 women to create the biggest movement for women’s health and wellness. See, just a few seconds of your time, your email address and 1,000,000 women’s health can be improved and lives changed – just like that. When they have reached their goal of reaching 1,000,000 women, EmpowHER will donate $50,000 towards women’s health research.

Please take a minute to participate. Your participation may just save a life. Here are three easy ways to get involved:

  • Tell A Friend – For every woman that participates in 1000Women, 5¢ will go to women’s health research.
  • Vote for A Story – Stories with the most votes will be featured in major, national promotional efforts. Stories that reach 1,000 votes receive special promotional opportunities.
  • Inspire Others – Help other women by sharing your story.


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