What's wrong with for profit healthcare

Discussion in 'Health and Lifestyle' started by Chris, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. Chris
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    Chris Gold Member

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    Conveyor Belt Cardiology

    by Robert Bazell

    I remember standing in scrubs outside a procedure room in Miami when the other doctors (who mistook me for a colleague) were bragging about how many “normals” they had done angioplasties on. That’s right, people came in complaining of shortness of breath or chest pain, so the doctors put them into the cauterization lab and examined their vessels, then told these patients they needed an angioplasty and did it knowing full well it was unnecessary.

    For many doctors and hospitals, angioplasty has been the mother lode. I’ve had young interventional cardiologists brag to me of their multi-million dollar signing bonuses to change hospitals.

    This specialty faces a mine field of potential conflicts because so much of it is based on self-referral. An interventional cardiologist diagnoses the blockage by injecting dye into the coronary arteries with tubes inserted from vessels near the groin. All too often the doctor will tell the lightly sedated patient he or she has one or more blockages, which can be taken care of right away with an angioplasty. That sure sounds great but it doesn’t always work. And there's no opportunity for the patient to weigh other options; no chance for a second opinion.

    Angioplasty was first tried on humans in 1977, by inflating a tiny balloon on the wire that inserts the dye. But often the opened artery closes up again — a process called restenosis. Over the years doctors have tried to circumvent the problem by using the wire mesh devices called stents, either as bare metal or more recently infused with drugs that try to prevent the re-closing. Suffice it to say the efforts have not been entirely successful.

    When a surgeon performs a bypass operation, the patient is almost always referred by regular cardiologist. So the dangers from self-referral do not affect this type of surgery.

    But let’s go back to the radical notion that oftentimes neither procedure is necessary. For those with unstable angina, where the heart disease is rapidly getting worse, immediate treatment with one of these procedures is needed to restore blood flow to the heart. But most patients who have blockages in their arteries have what is called stable angina. They may be in discomfort but they are not in immediate danger.

    One of the doctors who argued first and loudest that many angioplasties and surgeries were unnecessary was Dr. Thomas Graboys of Harvard Medical School. About a decade ago, after years of struggle, he finally got the American Heart Association to allow him to present a seminar on the subject at its annual scientific sessions. Almost no one showed up. Few have an interest in the less profitable path. (Sadly, Graboys is now fighting a particularly aggressive form of Parkinson’s disease.)

    Then last March, Dr. William Boden of Buffalo General Hospital in New York announced the results of a trial called by the appropriate acronym COURAGE. He randomized more than 2,200 patients with significant blockages. All were treated with heart medicines to control their cholesterol and blood pressure and minimize blood clots and were counseled to diet, exercise and quit smoking. Half of the participants also were assigned to get angioplasty.

    After four and a half years there were slightly more deaths and heart attacks in the group that got angioplasty. Interestingly, the U.S. Veteran’s Administration and the Canadian Health Service — organizations interested in providing the best, but not necessarily the most costly care — funded the research. So far the impact of this powerful evidence on medical care has been minimal.

    Conveyor-belt cardiology puts profits first - Second Opinion - MSNBC.com
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2008
  2. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Well heck--the government is always honest and efficient. Let's let them run the show. :lol:
     
  3. CA95380
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    CA95380 USMB Member

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    What's wrong with it?

    This is part of it ........... $560.00 for a 30 day supply of medication, that has NO generic substitution - prescribed by your doctor (that most likely gets a "kick back" from the pharmaceutical company that manufactures it), and your insurance company will not cover it ............ to keep you alive!

    :confused: Next question?
     
  4. Charles_Main
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    Charles_Main AR15 Owner

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    While I agree costs are out of control. I believe if you remove profit from the system you will remove the reason that the best and the brightest become doctors, and you will remove the inspirations for most advances in medical science.

    We need to find the happy medium in the middle. where prices are not outrageously high, while we do not make the industry so non profitable that nobody wants to be part of it.
     
  5. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    And you don't think the Pharmas have our government representatives by the pocket books ?????
     
  6. Chris
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    Chris Gold Member

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    This is the part that blows me away...

    "After four and a half years there were slightly more deaths and heart attacks in the group that got angioplasty. Interestingly, the U.S. Veteran’s Administration and the Canadian Health Service — organizations interested in providing the best, but not necessarily the most costly care — funded the research. So far the impact of this powerful evidence on medical care has been minimal."

    So more people are dying because doctors are using the more expensive procedure!
     
  7. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Then don't be an idiot--choose the procedure that you want. Is that too complicated for you?
     
  8. Chris
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    Chris Gold Member

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    Don't be an idiot, most people do what their doctor recommends.
     
  9. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Problem #1---stupid people.
     
  10. CA95380
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    CA95380 USMB Member

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    Oh boy! You bet I do believe it!!!
     

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