Thoughts On Mental Health, Medicare And Other Issues
Opinion and editorial writers offer their thoughts on a range of health policy topics.
The New York Times:
Mental Illness Is Not A Horror Show
A new virtual-reality attraction planned for Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif., was announced last month in advance of the peak haunted-house season. The name, “Fear VR 5150,” was significant. The number 5150 is the California psychiatric involuntary commitment code, used for a mentally ill person who is deemed a danger to himself or others. (Andrew Solomon, 10/26)
San Antonio Press Express:
Improving Mental Health Care Is Crucial
Many Americans do not realize the consequences of the lack of treatment options. In reality, Americans will lose money if they do not support the Mental Health Reform Act. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings every year.” Mood disorders, including major depression, dysthymic disorder and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults 18 to 44. (Monica Rae Garcia, 10/25)
Healthy Seniors Embracing A New Stage Of Life: Work
Advances in medicine and efforts to prevent chronic diseases are lengthening the healthy life span of Americans. They are also helping create a new and highly productive segment of the workforce: seniors. Consider these facts: workers over 55 represent the only age group in which participation in the labor force is growing, in contrast to the steady decline among younger workers. Even more striking, there has been a tripling in the ranks of workers 65 and over, from 2 percent of the workforce in 2000 to 6 percent today. (Rosalind C. Barnett and Caryl Rivers, 10/25)
The Washington Post:
Medicare Overpaid For Most Chiropractic Services. Will Patients Have To Repay?
Are you a Medicare recipient? Do you use a chiropractor? If the answer is yes to both questions, it’s highly likely the federal government should not have paid for your services. But don’t worry: You won’t have to pay Uncle Sam back. (Joe Davidson, 10/26)
The Health Care Blog:
Will Clinton Take Another Look At Value-Based Healthcare?
“Value” is the most important concept in healthcare today. But it’s problematic. Futurists say our system is transitioning from volume to value. Device and drug manufacturers tout the value of their products. It even found its way into Wednesday night’s Presidential debate when frontrunner Hillary Clinton answered Chris Wallace’s query Medicare’s long-term viability with the following reply: “We’ve got to get costs down, increase value, emphasize wellness. I have a plan for doing that.” (Paul Keckley, 10/24)
Pharmacists Can Provide The Right Prescription For A Projected Crisis In Health Care
The demand for health care in the United States is growing as the average age of our population increases. Because of this change in demographics, the Department of Health and Human Services expects our shortage of primary care physicians to reach 20,000 by 2020. Mid-level health care professionals are starting to fill the void, but state-level regulation is stifling their considerable potential. (Edward Timmons and Conor Norris, 10/26)
KQED Future of You:
Has Technology Ruined The Radiology Profession?
Today, many of my internal medicine trainees barely know where the radiology department is. Just as your record player and LPs are now long gone, in your local hospital today, the films, the analog X-ray machines, and even those charming film conveyor belts have left the building.Why? In 2000, only 8 percent of U.S. hospitals had some version of a game-changing computer technology called the Picture Archiving and Communications System, or PACS. By 2008, more than three out of four did.Because radiology was the first medical specialty to computerize, what has happened to it — at once shocking and, in retrospect, entirely predictable — is our canary in the digital coal mine, its experience offering important lessons for patients, clinicians and health care systems. (Bob Wachter, 10/25)