Advance Health Care Directives1

An “advance health care directive,” also known as a living will or advance directive, provides a legal mechanism for individuals to specify what actions should be taken for their health in the event that they are no longer able to make such decisions due to illness or incapacity. These instructions can prevent the need for anyone to “guess” what to do. By appointing a person or persons in this capacity, individuals can let their physician, family and/or friends know their health care preferences, including the types of special treatment they may want at the end of life, their desire for diagnostic testing, surgical procedures, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and/or organ donation.

Although requirements sometimes differ from state to state, on December 1, 1991, the federal Patient Self-Determination Act (PSDA) went into effect. PSDA requires health care institutions to ask all adults admitted as inpatients whether they have an advance directive, and to inform these patients of their right to refuse treatment. The PSDA and advanced directive regulations nationwide assume that patients want, need, and appreciate information about medical technological intervention. It further assumes that health professionals and institutions will respect those decisions. … Read more →

Best Places to Work in Health Care0

As part of an annual publication, Modern Healthcare recently ranked the top 100 health care employers in the nation. The following chart shows just one example of the interesting differences between the 100 top-ranked places to work in health care and all of the participating employers nationwide.

For more information about Modern Healthcare‘s “Best Places to Work in Healthcare,” visit the publication’s Website.

Understanding the “Costs” of High Out-of-Pocket Health Plan Deductibles0

In the world of health insurance, a high deductible plan requires significantly higher out-of-pocket expenses for health care in exchange for a lower monthly premium.  The California Health Interview Survey defines “high-deductible” plans as having out-of-pocket deductibles of $1,000 or more for individuals or $2,000 or more for families, and can exceed $5,000 annually.

A new report from the University of California at Los Angeles’ Center for Health Policy Research estimates that as many as three million Californians are enrolled in such health plans. Requiring deductibles in excess of $5,000, these health plans can cause enrollees to delay medical care and create financial hardships for families. According to the report “Profiling California’s Health Plan Enrollees: Findings from the 2007 California Health Interview Survey“, however, these plans may be the only viable option for many Americans. … Read more →

Keeping Halloween Safe0

On October 31 each year, we usually see a mix of ancient Celtic practices, Catholic and Roman religious rituals and European folk traditions that make up what is commonly referred to as Halloween.

The Celtic holiday of Samhain, the Catholic Hallowmas period of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day and the Roman festival of Feralia all influenced the Halloween of today. Whatever shapes our Halloween traditions, and no matter what we may believe about the holiday’s origin, most people tend to agree with the importance of keeping everyone safe, and especially children. … Read more →

November is American Diabetes Month1

In the United States, there are many health care concerns that we must face collectively, and we would be wise to pool our knowledge and resources when waging the necessary battles. Diabetes is one such disease that commands the attention of the nation, regardless of sex, race, financial status or age. As November is American Diabetes Month, there is no better time than the present to reflect upon our need to address this disease together. … Read more →

Studying Sleep0

A new study published in the October issue of Neurology examines differing sleep patterns and the correlating individual responses. By studying people who have a gene variant connected to narcolepsy, the article concludes that the ability of some to function at a higher level with less sleep than others may be a genetic in nature.

Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, sometimes causing individuals to fall asleep at inappropriate times (like work or at school). Often confused with insomnia, narcoleptics usually experience disturbed nocturnal sleep and an abnormal daytime sleep pattern. … Read more →

Accountable Care Organizations: Is This The Future Of Health Care?0

Historically performance measures in health care focused on individual clinicians, not systems. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) encourages the formation of accountable care organizations (ACOs), an idea designed to completely overhaul the nation’s health care system. Interest in ACOs has increased dramatically since PPACA’s passage as it created a new payment model under Medicare, and it fosters pilot programs extending the idea to Medicaid and private payers.[audio:|titles=Better Things]

In creating ACOs, Congress hopes that providers will work together more effectively to improve health care quality and slow spending growth. Critics argue that ACOs will focus too much on the bottom line and either prevent or delay the delivery of medical care, or even use the newly-established leverage to demand unreasonable prices from payers. … Read more →

The American Osteopathic Association Launches New Website1

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) has released a new and improved, user-friendly website combining two previous ones —DO-Online and the original The AOA calls the new site “Your Home for Health,” and it is available for members of the osteopathic family and the public. At viewers will find:

  • Fresh, modern look throughout
  • Enhanced search capabilities
  • Simpler navigation system
  • A rotating news section on the home page
  • More multi-media content

Representing more than 70,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) around the world, the AOA is also the accrediting agency for all osteopathic medical colleges and health care facilities. Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine are fully licensed physicians who provide a full range of services — from prescribing drugs to performing surgery –with a unique approach to patient care. Osteopathic training includes:

  • teaching patients how to prevent illness and injury by maintaining a healthy lifestyle
  • looking at the whole person to reach a diagnosis without focusing just on symptoms
  • helping the body to heal itself
  • believing that all parts of the body work together and influence one another
  • performing osteopathic manipulative treatment

For more information, visit the new AOA website.

Medical School Enrollment Up, Yet More Doctors Are Needed0

Medical schools are doing their best to increase the number of future doctors, but apparently not enough to meet burgeoning patient demand, according to a recent article in Modern Healthcare.

An Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) briefing noted that across the country, freshman enrollment increased by 1.5% over 2009 (18,665 students). Some medical schools are expanding the size of incoming classes, while new schools have recently earned accreditation (such as Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in Roanoke, Hofstra University School of Medicine, and Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine). Twelve additional medical schools are currently seeking accreditation, and this may with the expected physician shortage (a deficit of about 60,000 doctors by 2015, according to the AAMC).

AAMC President and CEO Darrell Kirch stated: “Physician development is dependent not just on new medical schools, but also on the creation of new residency training slots. We’ve been very clear with Congress about the need to expand those slots by 15% in order to meet demand and create physicians who can practice in their communities.” The rest of the article can be found at Modern Healthcare.

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