Tag Archives: Doctors

‘Turkishmaninacanstan’ Strikes Back

Readers of this blog know that from time to time, I have had to criticize those in the workers’ comp industry for their short-sightedness, narrow-mindedness, excessive American Exceptionalism, “Know-nothingism”,  xenophobia and subtle racism.

But when a well-respected online journal re-posts an article by the chief anti-medical travel opponent in the workers’ comp world, it is high time that the medical travel industry speak up and defend itself.

As a tireless advocate for medical travel in workers’ comp, I am leading the charge that you, my friends around the world must do for yourselves.

You will notice the title of this post. This is what the individual in question calls those countries that provide medical travel services. Also, please note that by using this canard as my title, I am in no way insulting Turkey, or any other nation that markets their medical care to the world.

There is fair criticism of Turkey and many other countries in the medical travel industry, but those criticisms are meant to improve the services and to correct the mistakes of the past, and not to pass judgement on them.

But when someone uses a term such as ‘Turkishmaninacanstan’, it conjures up the worse images of third world poverty and backwardness in all aspects of life of the nations so broadly brushed with that epithet.

The individual who coined that despicable name is a self-styled, right-wing American conservative who lives on the gulf coast of the state of Florida, a region where many individuals like him retire to after their careers have declined to play golf.

While this individual may not be one of those just yet, the fact that he dismisses new ideas, that he insults the millions of men and women around the world who are trying to offer real low cost medical care at equal or better quality, that he insults the very nations who could use those resources they are spending to bring medical travelers to their countries as a way to improve their balance of trade and economic power in the global economy, when they could be used to raise the living standards of their poorest citizens, is something that can no longer go unanswered.

So, I ask all of you, doctors, nurses, travel agents, medical tourism promoters and facilitators who are legitimately trying to provide better medical care at lower cost to all of the world’s citizens, to speak up and tell this individual and those like him, that your countries are not ‘Turkishmaninacanstans’, and that you are developing world-class medical facilities that outshine those in his own country, and mine.

Basically, he is calling you con artists and frauds, and that is something that only you can stop.

 

 

 

 

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Accountable Care Organizations May Shift Claims into Workers’ Comp

As reported Monday on the Insurance Information Institute’s blog, Terms + Conditions, and posted by Claire Wilkinson, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may actually cause millions of claims dollars to be shifted into the workers’ comp system, according to research by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI).

Under the ACA, a mechanism called an Accountable Care Organization (ACO), which was designed to control costs, was used by the researchers at WCRI to estimate the nature of the cost shift, as well as giving a general idea of the magnitude of the shift. They used the ACO’s similarity to Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) in their research.

The ACA calls for the creation of ACO’s, which is a network of doctors and hospitals that share the financial and medical responsibility for a group of patients. The ACO receives a set amount per patient for a year, regardless of the services. This is called a capitated plan.

What the WCRI found by looking at a nationwide sample of more than 700,000 claims from 2008 to 2010, was that about 17 percent came from HMO’s. In those states with a large HMO presence, HMO doctors declared 26 percent of soft tissue injuries into workers’ comp. This was 30 percent higher than doctors in fee for service arrangements.

The Executive Director of WCRI, Dr. Richard Victor, estimated that ACO’s could increase the percentage of workers in capitated plans by 25 percent. Such an increase was determined would allow capitation plans to regain 15 percent of the market it has lost since 2000.

As stated in the blog article, cost-shifting in Illinois would out $90 million of claims into workers’ comp. and in Pennsylvania, it would cost insurers $55 million.

As I’ve said in my post, Workers’ Comp at a Crossroads: Where Does it Go from Here?, and in many other articles, things are not looking up for workers’ comp in the near term and well into the future.

But still, with the handwriting on the wall, and the trumpets blaring that will bring down the walls of the padded cell that is the American workers’ comp system, this industry insists on playing the “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” game.

A conversation I had earlier today with a broker about medical travel and workers’ comp convinced me that at some point there needs to be a safety valve in this system, otherwise it will collapse in on itself.

Shortages of doctors, nurses, rising inpatient and outpatient costs, consolidation of hospitals, and other pressures will mount even greater, and not even the move towards domestic medical travel within the US will be sufficient to alleviate the bottleneck that is coming down the road.

But go ahead and keep running around on that wheel you see in squirrel cages, because in the final analysis, you are all just rats in a maze, with no clue.

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I am willing to work with any broker, carrier, or employer who is sick and tired of being bled by the Wall Street vulture capitalists and the entire medico-legal system known as workers’ comp, to save money, and to provide the best care for their injured workers or their client’s employees, while at the same time, helping to break the monopoly of the American health care cartel.

Call me for more information, next steps, or connection strategies. Ask me any questions you may have on how to save money on expensive surgeries under workers’ comp. Connect with and follow me on LinkedIn and my blog. Share this article, or leave a comment below.

The end of the ‘Doctor-Patient’ Relationship?

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While perusing my local South Florida newspaper, I happened to find an opinion piece written by Sally Pipes, the President, CEO, and Taube Fellow in Health Care Studies at the Pacific Research Institute. Ms. Pipes’ article, “Obamacare may put end to doctor-patient relationship” states that the Affordable Care Act, i.e., “Obamacare” is putting an end to the traditional doctor-patient relationship, which she believes will lead to “assembly-line medicine” and impact the quality of patient care.

Some of her criticisms have been addressed in earlier blog posts, especially “Is Medical Tourism “Anti-Union?” where I mentioned that doctors are becoming salaried workers and may one day form a union and gain collective bargaining rights.

But what really caught my eye were the following comments she made:

Fortunately, Americans determined to receive personalized care aren’t without options. In addition to concierge practices, another tactic growing in popularity is medical tourism — traveling abroad for treatments and procedures, often at more affordable prices. This year, three-quarters of a million Americans will travel outside the country for non-urgent care.

The medical tourism group Patients Beyond Borders estimates that Americans can save 25 to 40 percent on their medical bills by traveling to Brazil. For Costa Rica, it’s 45 to 60 percent. And in Thailand, the savings can reach 70 percent.

So if she is right, and the ACA brings an end to the traditional doctor-patient relationship, wouldn’t that also affect the way injured workers receive care? So if Ms. Pipes is advocating patient choice in medical tourism for individuals seeking better medical care, shouldn’t that apply to workers’ compensation? Or are workers “undeserving” of such care?