US Physicians Spend More Time Dealing With Insurers

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US Physicians Spend More Time Dealing With Insurers.

Pauline W. Chen, MD, writing in the New York Times described a study published in Health Affairs.  Researchers asked hundreds of physicians and administrators in private practices across the United States and Canada how much time they spent each day with insurers and other third-party payers.” Notably, US physicians spent significantly more time than their Canadian peers “dealing with multiple health plans: more than $80,000 per year per physician, or roughly four times as much as their northern counterparts.  And their offices spent as many as 21 hours per week with payers, nearly 10 times as much as the Canadian offices.”  Chen points out how all this time spent dealing with insurers “inevitably gets in the way of patient care.” And how about escalating healthcare costs and doctor frustration?

 

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Supplement Eases arthritis Pain of  Hand Osteoarthritis

Salyn Boyles writing for WebMD reported the findings of a study that found the supplement chondroitin sulfate to be effective for relieving joint pain in patients with osteoarthritis of the hand of the hand. Researchers reported that chondroitin both decreased hand pain and improved stiffness. The study included 162 patients with hand pain caused by osteoarthritis treated daily with either 800 milligrams of chondroitin sulfate (80 patients) or placebo treatments (82 patients) for six months.  Lead investigator Cem Gabay of Switzerland’s University Hospitals of Geneva characterizes the difference in the two groups as “modest.” But he says the study shows a clear benefit for chondroitin sulfate over placebo for the treatment of hand pain caused by osteoarthritis.

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Brain Stent Treatment May Double Risk Of Repeat Stroke.

Scott Pelley reporting for CBS News cited a new study showing disappointing news about the use of brain stents.” A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine “found when the stents were used on patients who already had a stroke, they can more than double a risk of another stroke or even death when compared with…therapy or lifestyle changes.” Very disappointing… and pretty scary.

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Bioengineered Smallpox virus May Shrink Tumors.

Ryan Flinn writing in Bloomberg News reported a study in Nature in which JX-594, a “genetically modified smallpox vaccine,” was given to “patients with advanced cancers” in different doses. Researchers found that “six participants in the highest dose group had their tumors stabilize or shrink” without the virus attacking healthy cells. Bloomberg News notes that scientist chose this specific virus, because of its natural ability to replicate itself in cancer cells,” and that this is the “first study to show the potential of using a virus to fight human alignancies.”  Now… that’s encouraging news!

 

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