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Archive for June, 2009

Royal Pains and Concierge Medicine

Posted by Catherine Morgan on June 26, 2009

Royal Pains: Can Concierge Medicine Coexist With Obama’s Healthcare Plan?

Have you seen the new show Royal Pains?  If so, you are probably now familiar with what a concierge doctor is.  It’s not a bad show, but is concierge (or boutique) healthcare bad for patients?

This is from an episode of The Doctors

Have you ever wished you had your own personal doctor at your beck and call? Now you can. Concierge doctors are gaining popularity, but can the average person afford them? President of Elite Personal Physician Services, Dr. Cheryl BryantBruce, explains that her clients have 24/ 7 direct access to her.

“Whether you get the $100,000 package or the $10,000 package, you will get the same medical care,” Dr. BryantBruce assures. “We have a Hippocratic oath that tells us that is what we are supposed to do.”

It seems to me that if you can afford it, it’s a great way to go.  The trouble is, most people probably can’t afford it.

From Womanist Musings – The Terrible Nightmare of Single Payer Healthcare

The United States has some of the world’s best hospitals, yet millions of U.S. citizens are unable to access their services, making their existence meaningless to large sections of the population. Many die each year due to a lack of insurance and the greatest cause of bankruptcy is unpaid medical bills. Looking from the outside, it is clear that the American Health care system is about profit, whereas the value of a single human life is priceless.

From Doc Gurley

For those of us who don’t live in the rarefied world of “concierge” anything, here’s how a concierge doc works: you, as a doc, sign up people for a fixed monthly amount, then you offer them hand-held service for that monthly payment. Also part of the arrangement is a (sometimes explicit, sometimes assumed) limit on the total number of patients the doc will see – say, 600 people total.

But it’s not just about more and more physicians turning to concierge medicine, it’s about why?

From Chelsey Ledue at Healthcare Finance News

To adapt to market pressures, some physicians are moving to full concierge practices. The model works well for physicians – and for patients who can afford it – but it often disenfranchises those patients who can’t afford or don’t want to move to such a model.

“The way the market is moving we may well create a system where millions of Americans no longer have access to primary care physicians,” said Lipton. “This creates a bit of a paradox as the administration and healthcare leaders are publicly highlighting what an important role PCPs play in providing and coordinating care for Americans.”

From Jennifer Erickson of The Laguna Beach Independent

Some opponents of concierge medicine view the business model as an extra level of bureaucracy atop managed care medical insurance. Dr. Bill Anderson, who runs the Sleepy Hollow urgent care facility downtown, wrote recently in a weekly ad, “if you have a real doctor in a private practice and not a managed care medical plan, you get the same service, minus the frills. Your doctor or an associate is available by phone 24/7 and they coordinate emergency and hospital care when you need it. So what’s the big deal?”

Will concierge medicine help or hurt the millions of uninsured and under-insured in our country?

From Josie Brown at Single Minded Woman – Support Single Payer Healthcare

Last week I got a notice from our insurance carrier that our family policy rate was going up — almost 35% (!!!) — oh, and yeah, it’s time for my college age daughter to get a plan of her own: another $159 above and beyond the increase.

Few kids in college can afford to cover their own health insurance policy. Of course Martin and I will do so until she’s making an income that will do so (forget about a plan from an employer: those are becoming as rare as Ugg boots).

Adding to our cost concerns, our deductible is being raised again, and some benefits (I use that term lightly) are no longer included.

How will this new form of healthcare integrate itself into the Obama healthcare plan?  Does it even want to?

From Mommy Life – Obama and ABC Merge

On the night of June 24, the media and government become one, when ABC turns its programming over to President Obama and White House officials to push government run health care — a move that has ignited an ethical firestorm!

Highlights on the agenda:

ABCNEWS anchor Charlie Gibson will deliver WORLD NEWS from the Blue Room of the White House.

The network plans a primetime special — ‘Prescription for America’ — originating from the East Room, exclude opposing voices on the debate.

Have you checked out the new show Royal Pains?

From Megan’s Minute – The “Royal Pains” of the Hamptons

Did you know there were such things as concierge doctors?

Medical professionals who hang out at ritzy resorts waiting for party-goers to overdose, or slip on the dance floor or crack-up their cars? That’s when a discreet doctor is literally worth his weight in gold.

So…What do you think about concierge medicine?  Will it help or hurt our chances of getting quality and affordable healthcare for everyone?  If you had the money would you prefer to have a concierge doctor?  Let me know your thoughts in comments.

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
at Catherine-Morgan.com and Women4Hope

Posted in Health, life, lifestyle, medicine, Women, women blogging, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Losing Weight and Getting In Shape For The Summer

Posted by Catherine Morgan on June 22, 2009

Sunday marks the first day of summer…How are you feeling about getting into your bathing suit?  Personally, I was hoping to be in a little better shape by now.  Even though I’ve been successful at getting closer to my ideal weight, I’ve been playing one step forward and two steps back for the last several weeks.

Since I know I’m not the only mom out there struggling to eat healthy and lose weight, I’m not going to give up.  I’m determined to have my Valerie Bertinelli moment, and it would be great if I could get to it sometime this summer.  And yes, I do have a plan.  It involves a few of the things that have already worked for me, and a couple of new (somewhat unconventional) ideas too.

Here’s an unconventional idea from izzimomBest Weight Loss Tip Ever

I’m not implying that any of YOU need to lose weight but if you ever need some inspiration to keep your eye on the ball and your ass in gear, just put on your bathing suit and look in the mirror. This is especially important if you’re putting on your bathing suit for the first time since it got warm. The impact will be much greater. But possibly more depressing, too. Consider yourself warned.

Then? Repeat EVERY SINGLE DAY so you never, ever become complacent or forget that you have NOT reached your goal…mostly because you sit in front of your computer all day. Ahem.

Check out some of the comments here.

I don’t know about you, but I can totally relate to This Mama

From This Mama Cooks! On A Diet – My Weight Loss, Slower Than A Herd Of Turtles

Most weight loss and diet bloggers do a lot of weekly update posts. I haven’t since going back to Weight Watchers earlier this year and starting on their Momentum Plan. You know why? Because reading that I’ve lost 1 pound here, or gained a few pounds back there, is boring.

Well, it’s beyond boring to me that is. In fact, it’s downright maddening.

I know I’m going to need to shake things up a bit if I’m going to get back in the swing of things.  So, here is my plan…

First, something new – I’m going to take the advice of Violette DeSantis from Type-A Mom and try eating a Horned Melon (hopefully they aren’t too expensive)…

If we are not eating right our efforts at dieting and exercise are complemented with fatigue. Truth is we are more apt to work at eating right and continuing on a course of fitness when we have energy and less frustration. One remedy to fight fatigue is iron and a favorite source for most of us is melon. What usually comes to mind is our summer favorite, watermelon but let’s discover a new melon that packs a wallop of iron, the horned melon.

Yes, it looks scary; a puffer fish on a vine. I promise it won’t bite back.

Second, something old – I’m going to get more exercise to try to increase my metabolism, as suggested by Workout Mommy – Simple Ways To Lose Weight

Instead of spending your free time on the couch, walk around and get a few household chores done as you keep an eye and an ear on the television. Instead of taking the elevator, use the stairs. Park at the end of the lot so that you need to walk longer to get to the office or your home. And get down to enjoy some rambunctious fun with your kids. These are small things, they’re certainly not what we would call exercise, but they do increase your metabolism and help you lose weight.

And third, something unconventional – I’m going to try a subliminal weight loss program that I received a few months ago.  I listened to it a few times, but never committed to using it every day.  But starting tonight, I’m going to give it a real try.

I’m hoping these subliminal messages will help keep me motivated to make healthy food choices and say “no” to the empty calories and angry whoppers.  I’ll keep a journal for the next month so I can report back to everyone on whether it actually worked or not.

So that’s my plan, and I’m going to try really hard to stick to it.  Do you have any plans for staying healthy or losing weight this summer?  Will you be trying any unconventional weight loss methods?  Does the thought of being seen in a bathing suit affect your desire to get into better shape?  Let me know in comments.

Posted in body image, dieting, Health, life, lifestyle, nutrition, self-help, thoughts, weight loss, Women, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Is It Possible To Eat Healthy on a Budget?

Posted by Catherine Morgan on June 6, 2009

Could The Recession Be Making More Americans Fat?  Is it possible to eat healthy on a budget?

There seems to be evidence that the poor economy is taking its toll on American families and their ability to make healthy food choices.  For some it may be that stress is contributing to an increase in emotional eating, and for others it may be the cost of eating healthy.  For what ever reason, the recession appears to be having a negative affect on obesity in America.  And since there is no sign of economic recovery in the near future, we need to all find ways to get ourselves (and our families) through these hard times without forfeiting our health.

Back in October I wrote a post on saving money while still eating healthy, and now more than ever, I think we need to take another look at how we can do that.

Today Newsweek had an article about how the recession is contributing to an increase of overweight Americans.

Is The Recession Making Americans Fatter?

Could the plummeting economy be contributing to expanding waistlines? Something is: new data released exclusively to NEWSWEEK from Gallup-Healthways shows that in the past year, the number of Americans considered obese has jumped by 1.7 percent—or almost 5.5 million people—and that the obese report a much lower quality of life than those who are at healthier weights.

. . .

The stress of worrying about keeping or finding a job, paying bills and keeping a stable home does take a negative toll on one’s health, including weight. “There’s a clear link between stress and weight gain,” says Leslie Heinberg, director of behavioral services for the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute at Cleveland Clinic. “People may be more likely to eat comfort foods or eat things that are higher in fat and calories,” she explains. And, this kind of weight gain can be especially unhealthy: “There’s good evidence that stress hormones may play important role in holding onto fat, especially the much more deleterious visceral fat.”  And a tight budget doesn’t just mean stress eating, it also means we’re more likely to choose foods that are cheaper, which are typically foods that are higher in fat and calories.

Let’s take a look at what other women are blogging about eating healthy on a budget.

Read full post on Eating Healthy on a Budget at catherine-morgan.com

Posted in dieting, family, food, Health, heart disease, life, lifestyle, news, nutrition, Women, women blogging, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

What You Need To Know Before You Fill Out An Online Questionnaire

Posted by Catherine Morgan on June 1, 2009

How private do you think your personal medical information is?  You may be surprised (or angry) to find out the truth.

Could you be unknowingly giving away your private information to unscrupulous marketers?  Well, if you’re one of the 27 million people that have taken an online questionnaire to determine your real age, that may be exactly what has already happened.

From Stephanie Clifford at The New York Times

While few people would fill out a detailed questionnaire about their health and hand it over to a drug company looking for suggestions for new medications, that is essentially what RealAge is doing.

RealAge allows drug companies to send e-mail messages based on those test results. It acts as a clearinghouse for drug companies, including Pfizer, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline, allowing them to use almost any combination of answers from the test to find people to market to, including whether someone is taking antidepressants, how sexually active they are and even if their marriage is happy.

From The Great Fitness Experiment — Is Your Real Age Accurate?

At first I will admit I was thrilled with my results. See? That healthy living obsession is paying off in the form of high-kicking organs and a mind that could battle wits against a Sicillian and win (although not in a land war in Asia.) But then the doubt started to creep in. I fussed around with my results and discovered something interesting: the test puts an immense, some might say disproportionate, emphasis on certain supplements. Especially confusing to me was the pro vitamin E stance, considering all the recent research about its harmful effects. A supplement that reportedly causes a 15% increase in early death actually added years to my life according to the quiz. Are they just operating off of old research? After all, Vitamin E used to be the wonder supplement before Vitamin D threw it off the bridge with cement shoes. Or, is something more nefarious going on?

. . .

In addition, The Real Age test, backed by Oprah’s Dr. Mehmet Oz, has branched out into a full online community with mailing lists, chat rooms and even recipes. Boasting a membership of over 27 million, they’ve got a lot of eyeballs. So not only is the test assigning an arbitrary number based on dubious health principles but they’re also creating one of the largest online drug marketing databases in the world.

This is from Cranky Fitness — Find Your “Real” Real Age

Have you taken the “Real Age” test? It’s that site where you sign up and answer a bunch of family history and lifestyle questions. Then the site figures your health risks and tells you how old you “really” are.

Twenty seven million people have taken it so far. And it’s energetically pushed by Oprah’s pal, Dr. Mehmet Oz.

Jodie Andrefski wrote Those Fun Online Quizzes May Be More Than You Bargained For

Then, you have sites like RealAge. Oh, this one is nifty. This one is popular for telling you what your biological age is based on your answers to a detailed quiz about health habits and family history. Are you depressed? How often do you have sex? Now, the answers to these rather personal questions aren’t just to figure out your “Real Age” by the way. Ahhhh….no. Your information is then used to market you based on your answers. Depressed? Having problems in that area and Viagra is starting to look good? Well, let us (RealAge) help. We will allow partners to sponsor messages that we will then send to you. Aren’t we ever so helpful? *cough, cough*

“These [types of sites] are data-mining havens where users willingly opt in from the very beginning,” says Ryan Jacobson, an attorney and co-chairman of the Entertainment Media and Privacy Law Group at the law firm SmithAmundsen in Chicago. “I’m afraid that the average user fails to recognize or take the time to understand what privacy rights he or she is actually giving up by responding.”

What do you think about the way this RealAge site is using our basic desire to stay young and healthy, just to turn around and sell us out to pharmaceutical companies?  Is it dishonest?  Or a shrude business plan?  Have you taken the questionair?  Is so…How does it make you feel knowing your personal information  is being used to send you pharmaceutical spam?  Let us know in comments.

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