bag-150x150If patients can benefit from price transparency by hospitals, shouldn’t employers and health insurers post online what they are paying for medical services? Yes, say federal regulators, who started requiring this effective July 1.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has ordered parties that act as health payers to make public a wealth of economic information that previously had been closely held, NPR and the Kaiser Health News service reported:

“[H]ealth insurers and self-insured employers must post on websites just about every price they’ve negotiated with providers for health care services, item by item. About the only exclusion is the prices paid for prescription drugs, except those administered in hospitals or doctors’ offices. The federally required data release could affect future prices or even how employers contract for health care. Many will see for the first time how well their insurers are doing compared with others. The new rules are far broader than those that went into effect last year requiring hospitals to post their negotiated rates for the public to see. Now insurers must post the amounts paid for ‘every physician in network, every hospital, every surgery center, every nursing facility,’ said Jeffrey Leibach, a partner at the consulting firm Guidehouse.

denismcdonough-150x150One of the nation’s largest health care systems had its ambitious plans to reshape itself for the 21st century torpedoed by a dozen members of the U.S. Senate, with taxpayers and veterans left in the lurch with great uncertainty about the future medical care for those who valiantly have served this country.

Just a few weeks ago, Denis McDonough, the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (shown right), met a deadline from Congress to detail significant shifts in how his sprawling agency cares for former military personnel and their families.

He provided a proposal — a plan only — to shut many of the VA’s 1,200 big, aging hospitals and clinics or slash services there, shifting to smaller facilities, and refocusing the agency’s caregiving to parts of the country where its patients live. His plans and the future of VA care, which already have been under study for at least four years, were then to be taken up by a blue-ribbon group, the Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Commission. The commission then would have reported back to Congress for possible action.

fireworkspm-196x300This great country will celebrate its 246th birthday on July 4, 2022 — a national holiday marking the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress.

Here’s hoping one and all have a glorious, fun, and safe Fourth!

Wouldn’t the holiday be all the finer if folks, especially those fortunate to be in the area of the nation’s capital, enjoyed the flashy public festivities. And if the annual bunch of knuckleheads didn’t partake of illegal fireworks, or the even more dangerous practice of firing guns into the air?

cubanmark-150x150While some individuals with jaw-dropping wealth have pushed into showy extremes of shooting themselves and their pals into outer space or dropping hundreds of millions of dollars on yachts or Manhattan penthouses, a tech mogul and pro basketball franchise-owning billionaire is winning attention by attempting something different, challenging, and potentially beneficial to regular folks in great need: He is trying to make skyrocketing prescription drug prices affordable.

The Cost Plus Drug startup by entrepreneur Mark Cuban (shown above) could not only benefit individuals but also the federal government, providing Medicare an estimated $4 billion in 2020 savings on the cost of generic meds.

Those aren’t figures hyped by the imagination of the Texas billionaire’s publicists. They were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, based on research by three MD-Ph. D.s in part of the medicine department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Hussain Saleem Lalani, the lead author of the study, told NBC News this of the research findings:

ashtray-300x195Federal regulators have cracked down on Big Tobacco and its zealous, profit-seeking promotion of products that fuel some of the leading causes of preventable disease in this country: cigarette smoking and vaping.

The federal Food and Drug Administration ordered the maker of Juul, a pioneer in pushing so-called e-cigarettes and vape flavorings on the young, to pull its products off the markets.

Agency experts also made public their plans to order Big Tobacco to slash the nicotine in conventional cigarettes, a move designed to gut the addictive allure that is foundational to an estimated $95 billion-a-year industry.

abortionbanstates-300x205Congress has passed a modest gun control law for the first time in three decades. The breakthrough, compromise measure, quickly signed by President Biden, not only provides for background checks for would-be weapons buyers younger than 21 and a push for states to pass laws to take guns away from the dangerous, it also provides a rare boost of tens of millions of dollars for desperately needed mental health services across the country.

kidshealthanniecasey-300x155But at the same time, the U.S. Supreme Court has upended New York’s long-standing restrictions on concealed weapons and the justices threw out a half century of established precedent in reversing Roe v. Wade.

In a blink, women’s reproductive health and their rights suffered a damaging blow, with medical experts, including the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, and the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine, condemning the high court’s allowing states to ban abortion, notably without allowing for exceptions for rape, incest, or when mothers’ lives are imperiled.

debtmedicalkhnnpr-300x193The sky-high and relentlessly rising cost of U.S. health care is slamming patients, ensnaring them in pricey over-testing, over-diagnosing, and over-treatment. It is pounding them with pervasive, pernicious, and unacceptable medical debt.

The crushing burden of expensive health care is leaving consumers going without as they also struggle now with soaring prices for gas, food, and other household basics.

Punishing finances have become part and parcel of the American way of health care, with “more than 100 million people in America ― including 41% of adults ― beset by a health care system that is systematically pushing patients into debt on a mass scale,” according to an unfolding investigation by the independent, nonpartisan Kaiser Health News service and National Public Radio. As the media organizations reported:

fb-300x160The kids may obsess about social media platforms. But just how much do patients want them to snoop into their most personal medical information, accessed due to hidden snippets of computer code embedded on the sites of some of the nation’s biggest and most respected hospitals, as well as facilities purportedly dealing with women’s reproductive health?

The cyber culprit that is taking heat from patient advocates is, of course, Facebook, the online giant built in part on its founder’s troubling axiom, urging his colleagues to “move fast and break stuff.”

Facebook not only provides a place for folks to glow about their latest vacations, share cat and dog pictures, and wish each other well on birthdays and other important occasions, the company has become a technology and online advertising titan. A key to its success rests in its capacities to track users via bits of code that users pick up like microbes or fleas when they troop through the Facebook site — or visit online clients of the company’s sweeping advertising enterprises.

teslalogo-150x150Though it may be tempting for owners of and passengers in expensive, high-tech vehicles to leave the driving to increasingly smarter cars, Americans still must beware of lethal, injurious shortcomings in this new autonomous age.

In just 10 recent months, federal officials say, almost “400 crashes in the United States … involved cars using advanced driver-assistance technologies,” the New York Times reported of new data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The newspaper noted this of NHTSA’s aggressive efforts to determine the safety of increasingly popular, advanced driving systems:

“In 392 incidents cataloged by the agency from July 1 of last year through May 15, six people died and five were seriously injured. Teslas operating with Autopilot, the more ambitious Full Self Driving mode or any of their associated component features were in 273 crashes. Five of those Tesla crashes were fatal. The data was collected under a NHTSA order last year requiring automakers to report crashes involving cars with advanced driver-assistance systems. Scores of manufacturers have rolled out such systems in recent years, including features that let you take your hands off the steering wheel under certain conditions and that help you parallel park. NHTSA’s order was an unusually bold step for the regulator, which has come under fire in recent years for not being more assertive with automakers.”

cdcwalensky-150x150Parents with little kids — those ages 6 months to 5 years old — now must decide whether, how, and when to get these babies and tots their coronavirus vaccines, newly approved by federal regulators.

They should talk with their pediatricians and others with medical expertise and experience. The American Academy of Pediatricians, a leading specialists group, says this about the low-, multi-dose regimen of coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna for little ones:

“The AAP recommends Covid-19 vaccination for all children and adolescents 6 months of age and older who do not have contraindications using a vaccine authorized for use for their age. The AAP encourages all states to work with pediatrician practices to make accessing Covid vaccine as simple as possible.”

Patrick Malone & Associates, P.C. listed in Best Lawyers Rated by Super Lawyers Patrick A. Malone
Washingtonian Top Lawyer 2011
Avvo Rating 10.0 Superb Top Attorney Best Lawyers Firm
Contact Information