Volume VI, Issue 25

June 24, 2019
When medical science becomes fake news
Brian C. Joondeph, MD contributes an enlightening post on June 22, 2019, via KevinMD:
Every week there is another health pronouncement saying what is now good for you and what is going to kill you. Unfortunately, the "what" is often interchangeable - what was supposed to kill you last week is now suddenly good for you or vice versa. Foods, supplements, and activities, all studied extensively and determined to be either good or bad, then subject to a new study, with the opposite conclusion. How can this be? Is the science that fickle? Or is this lousy research?
Dr Joondeph examines the conflicting advice we have received over the years regarding many things, including coffee, wine, sunscreen and eggs. The author concludes:
This is the nature of science. Observations are made and a hypothesis created which explains the observations, subject to modification based on new observations and data...Media magpies parrot the latest study without regard as to whether it supports or contradicts the last study they trumpeted. This ultimately leaves us as individuals with no choice but to read beyond the headlines and make our own decisions. And if in doubt, "all things in moderation" will likely be a safe path to follow.
Heart attack at 49 - America's biggest killer makes a deadly comeback 
Betsy McKay reports for The Wall Street Journal on June 21:
One of America's greatest achievements over much of the past century has been a huge decline in death rates from heart disease and strokes. Anti-smoking campaigns, medications to control blood pressure and cholesterol, and surgical advances have extended millions of lives, fundamentally reshaping the U.S. population. Now, progress has stalled. That's helping drive down life expectancy in the U.S. after decades in which each generation of Americans could expect to live longer than the one that came before. The death rate for cardiovascular disease-which includes heart disease and strokes-has fallen just 4% since 2011 after dropping more than 70% over six decades, according to mortality statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to Ms. McKay:
Particularly alarming is that the death rate is actually rising for middle-aged Americans. Younger people, women and nonsmokers are more likely to be victims of the crisis in cardiovascular health, driven by skyrocketing obesity and diabetes. Heart disease was once on course to fall below cancer as the nation's leading cause of death, a change public-health statisticians most recently predicted would occur by 2020. No longer, said Robert Anderson, chief of the CDC's mortality statistics branch. "It's highly unlikely given the current trend that there will be a crossover anytime soon," he said.
Surprise billing fixes would ding hospitals, staffing companies, Moody's says
Rebecca Pifer reports for Healthcare Dive on June 21:

Efforts to curb surprise billing, if enacted, would hit providers across the sector but would disproportionately affect the bottom lines of those that treat a high percentage of out-of-network patients like hospitals, physician staffing companies, laboratories, radiology and other ancillary providers like air ambulances, according to a new Moody's Investor Service report. Curbing surprise medical bills has rare bipartisan support, with the House and Senate in the past few weeks holding numerous hearings and introducing a slew of different proposals to halt the practice. <Not surprisingly> Industry players been vocal in their support for whichever proposal includes the payment model least likely to hurt their bottom lines, with payers stumping for an in-network guarantee or median in-network contracted rates and providers advocating for a dispute resolution system.
"Absent any action, surprise medical bills and the scrutiny around them represent a growing social risk for the healthcare industry, and can ultimately harm some healthcare providers' relationships with their customers," Moody's said.



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Florida Health Industry Week in Review is published every Monday by

Each Monday morning, we share the top healthcare headlines of the previous week and summarize
What Happened (WH) and
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