Sep 17, 2009 | 47
Going without health insurance can delay when people obtain primary and preventative care, potentially resulting in poorer health. Even more gravely, a lack of private health insurance brings an increased risk of death; uninsurance is to blame for some 44,789 adult deaths across the U.S. every year, according to a new study published online today in the American Journal of Public Health.
The findings show that uninsured Americans—between the ages of 17 and 64—have a 40 percent higher risk of death than those who have private insurance. (Those enrolled in government insurance programs, such as Medicaid and Department of Veterans Affairs insurance, were excluded from the study.) About 46.3 million Americans didn't have health insurance as of 2008, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and the number is estimated to be higher now since the recession has forced many off of employer health plans.
Sep 16, 2009 | 7
Despite the American Medical Association's (AMA) previously hearty lobby against public options for health insurance, only 27 percent of doctors are in favor of limiting coverage to private options.
More than half of doctors (about 63 percent of 2,130) in a recent survey preferred a public-private blend, which would allow for expansion of coverage both through tax credits to pay for private insurance and expanded public health plans. The survey results were published online in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier this week.
"The results of the study demonstrated that the majority of physicians support a public option," Dalomeh Keyhani told National Public Radio (NPR) on Monday. She is the lead author on the report and a researcher at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Jul 28, 2009 | 5
Many doctors have a hard time owning up to errors, in part due to fears of being sued over malpractice claims and the consequent increase in malpractice insurance premiums.
However, the University of Michigan Health System’s (UMHS) approach, acknowledging mistakes and compensating patients up front, has reduced the number of malpractice cases and subsequent costs, according to the Associated Press.
In 2004, the university implemented a transparency concept in which the hospital admits mistakes, not only addressing patients’ concerns but also allowing doctors the freedom to learn from their mistakes.
UMHS malpractice claims dropped from 121 in 2001 to 61 in 2006, two years after implementation of the policy, Richard Boothman, the system’s chief risk officer, told the AP.
Jun 5, 2009 | 7
At least 62 percent of all U.S. family bankruptcies result from medical expenses, reports a study released yesterday in The American Journal of Medicine—an increase from the 46 percent the reseachers found in 2001.
Analyzing data from 2,314 randomly selected 2007 (pre–mortgage meltdown) bankruptcy filings revealed that most of those who had claimed bankruptcy because of medical expenses had health insurance, owned homes, were in their mid-40s, and had middle class incomes.
High out-of-pocket expenses for those already insured and the loss of private insurance were the primary reasons for medical bankruptcy, report the study authors—many of whom are active members of Physicians for a National Health Program, a group that advocates for a single-payer system.
Oct 21, 2008 | 1
Ten people today allowed their genetic maps to be publicly displayed on the Web in the name of research. The effort is part of Harvard Medical School's Personal Genome Project (PGP), which aims to create a large public database of human DNA to aid researchers in their quest to find the causes and cures for genetic maladies.
The first 10 volunteers, dubbed the PGP-10, include project director and Harvard Medical School geneticist George Church; Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker; technology writer Esther Dyson; Duke University science editor Misha Angrist; Keith Batchelder, CEO of Genomic Healthcare Strategies in Charlestown, Mass.; Rosalynn Gill, founder of personalized health company Sciona in Aurora, Colo.; John Halamka, technology dean at Harvard Medical School; Stanley Lapidus, chairman and CEO of Helicos BioSciences Corp. in Cambridge, Mass.; Kirk Maxey, founder of the research biochemical company Cayman Chemical based in Ann Arbor, Mich.; and James Shirley, senior scientist at the Boston Biomedical Research Institute.
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