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The Cost of In and Outpatient Surgeries

Nearly 58 percent of the surgeries performed in hospitals were done as outpatient procedures.  Outpatient surgery charges for hospitals totaled $55.6 billion, compared with $259 billion for inpatient surgeries.  [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HCUP, Statistical Brief #86Hospital-Based Ambulatory Surgery, 2007.

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February 26, 2010 Posted by | Cost, healthcare, hospitals | , , | Leave a comment

Overuse and Misuse

More PCT testing could reduce unnecessary antibiotic use
If physicians commonly tested patients for procalcitonin, or PCT, it would help them identify those whose respiratory tract infections respond to antibiotics and help prevent prescribing unnecessary drugs, researchers said. The study estimated antibiotic prescriptions for respiratory tract infections could drop by more than 40% if the simple test was used routinely. MSNBC/Reuters (2/25)

February 26, 2010 Posted by | drugs, healthcare, Overuse, quality | , , , , | Leave a comment

Health Care — Getting to the Heart of the Matter

Obama debated Republicans vigorously and with precision—but it looked like a debate among people with actual philosophical differences, which in part it was. After an in-the-weeds debate about how the Congressional Budget Office accounted for premium increases, it became clear that the debate was between Democrats who want to set minimum standards for coverage and Republicans who want the market and individual choice to rule. The Democratic plan is more expensive but covers more people. The Republican plan is cheaper and doesn’t.

As it played out, the event didn’t look like one reasonable person aligned against a company of hooting morons. As Obama said during the lunch break: “The argument Republicans are making really isn’t that this is a government takeover of health care, but rather that we’re insuring the—or we’re regulating the insurance market too much. And that’s a legitimate philosophical disagreement.” Obama continued to affirm this view by saying things like this: “Neither of these proposals is radical. The question is which one works best.”

http://www.slate.com/id/2246025/?from=rss

February 26, 2010 Posted by | Federal Government, healthcare | , , | Leave a comment

As the Health Care Debate Continues

Editor’s note: The best news in all of this is that there was verbal recognition that, “…the voters will have the final verdict…”

Politico (2/26, Allen) cites “a Democratic official” who said before the summit that it was “expected to ‘give a face to gridlock,'” and NBC Nightly News (2/25, lead story, 3:25, Guthrie) said that with “no major breakthroughs, the President hinted at the close of the session he’s looking to Democrats now to go forward — and the voters will have the final verdict on what they do.”

        The Wall Street Journal‘s Kimberley A. Strassel (2/26) casts doubt on the House’s ability to pass the Senate measure. Strassel estimates that if all Democrats who voted for the House bill in November stick to their guns (given one death, one retirement and the stance reversal by the lone GOP backer), Democrats would have the exact number of votes they need, 216. However, Strassel believes the worsening political climate for Democrats, coupled with Blue Dog anger at the leadership, is likely to peel away support for the bill.

        March Seen As Final Deadline For Passing Health Reform This Year. On ABC World News (2/25, story 2, 1:15, Sawyer), George Stephanopoulos said that the White House “wants to make an announcement on how to proceed by next week,” and wants “the whole thing…done by mid to late March, before the President goes to Asia. If they can’t get it done by then…they’ll put it aside.” The AP (2/26, Babington) also reports that “party officials said March is probably the last chance to act.”

February 26, 2010 Posted by | Federal Government, healthcare | , , | Leave a comment