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February 2020

A look at urgent care


This HND piece examines urgent care, first discussing its history. Urgent care these days has become an important part of primary healthcare delivery. References are cited to help you determine when to go to an emergency room and when to visit and urgent care facility.

Millennials might take credit for the surge in urgent care, but people of all generations agree that there has to be a solution beyond your own primary care physician or the ER. Notably, the cost of care for the same affliction at an urgent care clinic is one-tenth what would be charged at an ER. And, sometimes, you just can't wait for that doctor's appointment.

Back in the 1970s, the "experts" were laughing at this concept. Now, major healthcare centers are running their own urgent care facilities.

Read the complete article.

Law enforcement and drug rehabilitation


This HND piece traces the often sordid history of law enforcement and illegal drugs. There was always a racial and political component, from its inception in the 1870s. In any case, the War on Drugs has been a massive and expensive failure, and in the past few years, the law enforcement community has started to realize it. That's why, more and more police agencies are promoting rehab, rather than arrests.

Spearheading this effort is the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative, which has a kindred spirit in the Law Enforcement Action Partnership. Ironically, Nixon's War on Drugs did include provisions for rehab and treatment. Of course, these were immediately overshadowed by enforcement activities, racking up virtually no real success since the programs were instituted in 1971.

Read the complete article.

Can Haven fix healthcare?


This HND piece focuses on proposed solutions to fix healthcare, and then looks at Haven—the new healthcare company formed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase. Not much as been heard from Haven since its founding in 2018, but it will supposedly first concentrate on the healthcare needs of the 1.2 million combined employees of the parent companies.

As to "fixing" healthcare, most of the proposals involve making it easier to pay for, as well as all sorts of ideas to make it cheaper and more efficient. But, as smart as the folks behind Haven's parent companies may be, healthcare is a far more difficult business than what created the fortunes of these masters of the universe.

Read the complete article.

More bad news for Vivitrol


This HND piece looks at the recently filed wrongful death lawsuit against Alkermes, the manufacturer of Vivitrol. We reference an earlier article in which we discussed the problems that drug is having with the FDA—regarding false or misleading advertising. The basic deficiency with Vivitrol is that it shuts off receptors for opioids and endorphins, thus increasing the risk of an overdose.

That's why the drug was much more favored by the criminal justice system than the medical community. That and the fact that unlike methadone and buprenorphine it does not have the possibility of being addictive. Alas, Vivitrol was apparently forced on a hapless patient in California, and he died of an overdose. Expect more such lawsuits to follow.

Read the complete article.