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October 2014

Urban Hospitals & Health Insurance: Making It Work

This HND piece is really a three-part health care story. It starts with a brief history of how health insurance experienced outrageous mission creep in the wake of Medicare, and then segues into the saga of how some entrepreneurs saved a bankrupt Bayonne Medical Center from closing for good, only to have to fight the insurance companies on reimbursements.

Livin' for the city. Read the complete article.

Artificial science on…artificial sweeteners

This HND piece shines the spotlight—again—on outrageous junk science, having to do with artificial sweeteners. Frankly, there are so many things wrong with this study that attempting to explain them in an abbreviated fashion suitable for this blog posting would just not be appropriate.

Suffice to say that, among other things, the researchers try to assign interchangeable biological effects to sweeteners as a CLASS of compounds, despite the obvious difficulty that these sweeteners are vastly different chemicals. The fact that they taste sweet to humans is merely a coincidence. Indeed, lead paint tastes sweet also, and that is why there was a serious problem years ago with little kids eating such paint chips, and getting lead poisoning.

Sadly, this nonsensical study was published in the once prestigious journal Nature. How the mighty have fallen.

Read the complete article.

From our friends at Zero Hedge: The head of the CDC was behind the big gulp soda ban In NYC

George Washington's picture

Submitted by George Washington on 10/16/2014 08:38 -0400




Hey Bloomberg,<br /> here&#8217;s a big gulp of&#8230;..FREEDOM.</a></p> <p>by Anthony Freda“Hey Bloomberg, here’s a big gulp of…..FREEDOM” by Anthony Freda

NANNY COLABloomberg the Nanny, by William Banzai

Libertarians were outraged by New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s “Big Gulp” ban (which a state court ultimately struck down). They slammed it as a “Nanny State” measure.

But it was current Centers for Disease Control head Tom Frieden who was actually behind the ban.

The New York Times reported in 2004:


Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the city’s health commissioner,
has turned out to be an active policy advocate among the city’s
department heads, the outspoken architect of some of the Bloomberg
administration’s more controversial policies.


Although Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is more closely associated with a
law that bans smoking citywide, the legislation was actually developed
by Dr. Frieden, who was also given responsibility for helping to push it
through the City Council.




Even Mayor Bloomberg’s partnership with Snapple to sell juice in vending machines in schools has not gone without his notice.


"I would have preferred water,” he admitted, although he added that he liked the money that the agreement will raise.


He is almost certainly the only city agency head who keeps a bowl of condoms in the reception area of his office.

And the Daily Caller reported in 2010:

  • In 2009, Frieden took to the pages of the New England Journal of
    Medicine to sell the need for a soda tax. “It is difficult to imagine
    producing behavior change of this magnitude through education alone,
    even if government devoted massive resources to the task,” Frieden
    wrote. “Only heftier taxes will significantly reduce consumption.”
  • In 2010, after Obama tapped Frieden to head up the Centers for
    Disease Control, Bloomberg announced his support for a soda tax. “The
    soda tax is a fix that just makes sense,” he said in a March 2010 radio
    address. “It would save lives. It would cut rising health care costs.
    And it would keep thousands of teachers and nurses where they belong: in
    the classrooms and clinics.” Three years earlier, Bloomberg said he was
    opposed to a soda tax.



Is it true public health advocacy… Or is it fearmongering and fads?

This HND piece examines the irrational fear of sunlight, that is being hyped by none other than the Surgeon General. While skin cancer is certainly out there, it hardly seems to be worth the strident tone of a report issued July 29th, in which the SG is using the same forum as its famous 1964 "Smoking and Health" publication.

As I cover in the piece, the science behind UV exposure and skin cancer is far from settled, and prominent dermatologists are not toeing the company line. Moreover, analysis of UV/cancer data takes on a whole new light, once unsupervised home tanning and high-dose medical phototherapy is removed from the mix. Add to the mix that the American Academy of Dermatology gets megabucks from the sunscreen industry, and this whole thing takes on a new, uh, light.

Read the complete article.

Electronic health records: Stop the bleeding!

This HND piece starts off with another example of how bad electronic health record (EHR) systems can be. In this particular case, there was no method built into a well-known system to properly document a decrease in a patient's heparin dose. When you consider how many billions of dollars have been put into EHRs by the government, let alone the customers, this sort of thing is pretty appalling.

But, at least this glitch—being an error in code—can be fixed. However, fixing the security of these records is another matter altogether.

We interview a health IT executive who states:

“There are two absolutes in the world today. First, it is impossible to provide 100% network security protection because there are simply too many entry points which a hacker can breach. The second absolute is that all data protection systems are based upon a certified industry encryption algorithm protection standard that can be hacked in as little as two to four hours, therefore providing zero data security protection.”

His company, Impervio Technologies Inc., has some new ideas, and could finally provide an answer.

Read the complete article.