Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mid-week miscellany

  • The Wall Street Journal report on the monopolistic practices of a not-for-profit hospital chain in Roanoke, VA, Carilion Health System. Carilion has caused health insurance premiums in this western Virginia community to soar above Richmond's. (Where's the Justice Department?) The report discloses that a local Roanoke court devotes one day a week to Carilion collection cases. (This is the second WSJ expose on non-profit hospital finances this year.
  • On a related note, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that "in South Florida and nationwide, some insured patients are being asked by hospitals to pay larger portions of their bills upfront — and sometimes hospitals will not do the procedures until they get their co-payments."
  • The Washington Post reports that "Patient-centered care, chronic disease management, self-care and medical homes are all buzzwords in health policy circles these days, in the midst of the national dialogue about quality and systemic reform. But countless doctors, generalists and specialists alike, are moving ahead on their own, reinventing their clinical practices and finding more-effective and more-fulfilling ways of practicing medicine."
  • Finally, and this was my favorite story, health insurers, providers, and the Centers for Disease Control are setting up "islands" in the virtual internet world -- Second Life, according to an AIS article. "Of all the virtual worlds, Second Life is probably the best known. Just five years old, it now claims 14 million registered accounts and "islands" inhabited by colleges and universities, federal agencies and corporations. The average age of a Second Life resident is 35 and edging upward. Facebook and MySpace are experiencing the same trend."

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