Space Coast Daily Healthcare Headlines of the Week
By Dr. James Palermo // September 5, 2014
Topics Include: Hospital Food Around The World; U.S. Workers Take On More Healthcare Costs; Ralph Lauren’s Biometric Shirt – and More
A study ongoing from 1998 to 2011 out of the Cancer Prevention Institute of California showed no survival benefit with double mastectomy in breast cancer patients with a unilateral diagnosis of cancer, compared with breast-conserving surgery known as lumpectomy and radiotherapy.
According to the study, which was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the number of patients opting for bilateral mastectomy increased significantly throughout California during the 13 year study period.
However, lumpectomy and radiation, which avoids the risk of major surgery and loss of a healthy breast, had a more favorable 83.2 percent 10-year survival rate than the 81.2 percent of those women who underwent bilateral mastectomy. (Shute, NPR, 9/2)
Hospital cuisine in this country is oft maligned and has a fairly significant impact on patient satisfaction surveys.
However, before passing critical judgement on our American hospital fare, take a look at a revealing photo essay album found at Imgur.com that compares trays of hospital food from around the world, revealing vast differences in quantity and quality.
Be thankful you’re not laid up in a Polish or Norwegian hospital.
The New York Times reports that more large companies appear to be in a cost-sharing shift with health plans, which makes workers responsible for more of their care, as well as providing more motivation for employees to comparison-shop for medical services.
The report on the front of the Times’s Business Day section projects that “next year, even more corporate workers are likely to be offered high-deductible plans…and at a rising share of large companies, it will be the only option remaining.”
According to the Times, in 2015, “nearly a third of large employers will offer only high-deductible plans — up from 22 percent in 2014 and 10 percent in 2010, according to a study by the National Business Group on Health.” Health savings accounts, which frequently go hand in hand with the high-deductible insurance products, are also becoming more prevalent as companies seek to find effective ways to decrease overall corporate health costs. (Bernard, New York Times, 9/1)
The Treasury Department has clarified its rules related to Affordable Care Act (ACA) healthcare policies as a deadline looms for people asked to confirm their citizenship or immigration status.
However, few have responded so far, with Health and Human Services officials reporting that by Tuesday, September 2, 239,000 of the original 300,000 were still slated to receive final notices. (Appleby, Kaiser Health News, 8/29)
The fashion legend Ralph Lauren has ventured out into the burgeoning personal biometrics market, turning a fashionable sports shirt into wearable biometric technology.
The Polo Tech smart shirt uses silver-yarn-based sensors to assess athletic performance by measuring movement and heart rate, the details of which are fed directly into a smartphone or tablet.
You may have seen some of the ball boys at the U.S. Open wearing the shirt, but it won’t be available to the general public until next year. (Campbell, Time, 8/27)
Earlier this year, CVS Caremark, the country’s largest retail healthcare provider announced that selling cancer-causing products like tobacco conflicts with its mission to provide high quality products and services that improve the health of their customers through its pharmacies and Minute Clinic walk-in primary care centers, and said that tobacco products would go off the shelves at all of its 7,700 retail stores by October 1.
Those products have actually already been removed, a month ahead of schedule, and CVS Caremark is changing its name to CVS Health, effective immediately. In addition in-store and online anti-smoking campaigns have been launched.
The move will cost the company an estimated $2 billion in annual tobacco sales by no longer carrying the number-one cause of preventable death.
However, CVS executives are hopeful that abandoning smokers will boost CVS’s recent efforts to expand its pharmacies and better position them as a primary provider of health care services, reach more profitable agreements with hospitals and insurers, and appeal to the expanding number of newly insured under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). (Murphy, Huffington Post, 9/3)
CNN’s Brian Todd reports on CVS’ decision to stop selling tobacco products in the video below.