Author Archives: Michael D. Shaw

Prey Of A Foul Command Part 1: ERCP Patients And Superbug Infections

The title of this piece is taken from a mordant lyric in Richard Fariña’s 1966 folkie love song “Children of Darkness.”

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It’s 2015…Let the ARRA/Obamacare EHR Penalties Begin!

A few weeks ago, I had an appointment with my dermatologist–an old school guy, well-loved by his patients. He’s straightforward, no-nonsense, and has long office hours. You know the type: The one you hope will never retire. As I was led to the examining room, I noticed something not too common these days–shelf after shelf of medical records in manila folders. When the doc came into the room, I commented that he did not appear to be an early adapter of electronic health records (EHRs). He replied that it was definitely worth the Medicare reimbursement penalty (starting in 2015) to not be involved with them.

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Save Us From The Experts…Please!

Last week, many newspapers ran some version of a Washington Post piece entitled “The U.S. government is poised to withdraw longstanding warnings about cholesterol.” Reporter Peter Whoriskey lavishes more than 1800 words on a story that is well-summarized in his first two paragraphs:

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If It Only Understood Health Care, The FTC Would Stop Fighting Hospital Consolidations

According to the Federal Trade Commission, “When health care markets are competitive, consumers benefit from lower costs, better care, and more innovation.” On a superficial level, this sounds good, but the devil is in the details. A huge detail is that the health care consumer rarely pays directly for the services, and has little say over how they are performed. Likewise, the notion of what constitutes “better care” and “innovation” are hotly debated. Ironically, those two precepts often lead to higher cost, with questionable benefits to outcome.

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Betrayal Of The Public Trust…And How To Fight Back

Last week’s article, which detailed officialdom’s unrelenting war on e-cigarettes, generated plenty of e-mail and commentary—100 percent of which was favorable. Many commenters were truly dismayed how the public trust could be betrayed by money, egos, fanaticism, or a combination of the three. Others asked how they could fight back; more on that later.

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Scaring People About e-Cigarettes: A Public Health Disgrace

According to Dr. Gilbert Ross, Medical and Executive Director, American Council on Science and Health

Smoking is America’s most important, and preventable, public health problem: It is estimated that almost a half-million of us will succumb prematurely to smoking’s deadly effects each year, with twenty-times that number sickened. Among our 43 million smokers, over half try to quit each year, yet less than one in twenty succeed. The FDA approved products—patches, gums, and drugs—help “boost” that to about one in ten, an abysmal “success” rate of 10 percent. Yet, the official line, from the FDA and the CDC on down, is “stick with the FDA-approved methods; don’t even try anything else!”

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No consumer health risk from bisphenol A exposure–so says EU food safety group

EFSA’s comprehensive re-evaluation of bisphenol A (BPA) exposure and toxicity concludes that BPA poses no health risk to consumers of any age group (including unborn children, infants and adolescents) at current exposure levels. Exposure from the diet or from a combination of sources (diet, dust, cosmetics and thermal paper) is considerably under the safe level (the “tolerable daily intake” or TDI). Continue reading