The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) announced
(on January 10!) that it will hold a conference January 13 and
14, 2005 to evaluate the risks of interactions between dietary
supplements and prescription blood-thinning medications. The
NHLBI notes that up to 52 percent of the population reports
using dietary supplements and that four million Americans use
Experts from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will convene with academic,
industry representatives, and advocacy groups to:
GAO estimates that 500,000 of the 21 million were policy-oriented;
overall, between 480,000 and 20,160,000 Medicare claims are
incorrectly denied due to the incorrect information provided
by Medicare representatives.
CSRs are not held accountable for giving accurate information,
says Huntoon. The 2004 GAO study reasserted, "[W]e reported
in 2002 that CMS's definition of what constitutes accuracy is
neither clear nor specific. CMS has not revised the definition."
With no accurate definition of accurate, it appears that CMS
considers accuracy and competence to be irrelevant, says Huntoon.
Source: National Center for Policy Analysis Daily Policy
Digest, January 10, 2005, (http://www.ncpa.org). Reprinted
Background Information: Lawrence R. Huntoon, "Medicare: Incompetence-Based
Bureaucracy," Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons,
Volume 9, Number 4, Winter 2004; U.S. General Accounting Office,
"Medicare: Communications with Physicians can be Improved,"
February 27, 2002; and U.S. Government Accountability Office,
"Medicare: Call Centers Need to Improve Responses to Policy-Oriented
Questions from Providers," July 2004.
Links of interest:
Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons article: (http://www.jpands.org/vol9no4/huntoon.pdf).
GAO 2004 study: (http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04669.pdf).
GAO 2002 study: (http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d02249.pdf).
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So-Called "Evidence-Based Medicine"
is Managed Care Masquerading as Science
Evidenced-based medicine (EBM) is challenged in a new report
by Citizens' Council on Health Care (CCHC).
The extensively documented report, titled "How Technocrats are
Taking Over the Practice of Medicine: A Wake-up Call to the
American People," shines a bright light on the terms "evidence-based
medicine" and "best practices," including its purposes and the
concerns of critics.
"The public needs to understand that evidence-based medicine
is an attack on the patient-doctor relationship. EBM is not
individualized care. It is group-think medicine," says Twila
Brase, president of CCHC and author of the report.
Noting the recent and growing inclusion of these terms in state
and federal law, Ms. Brase told a press briefing, "If evidence-based
medicine is not understood for what it is, managed care will
use it to solidify control over medical decisions and the practice
of medicine. Managed care will become the law of the land."
CCHC stresses the following five concerns with EBM:
1) The term cannot be taken at face value. EBM is managed care.
Same game, different name.
2) Science, the purported foundation of EBM, is not incontestable.
In research there are subjective choices all along the road
to creating the "evidence" in EBM.
3) Practice guidelines used to implement EBM have significant
problems. These include being out-of-date, biased, in conflict
with one another, and single-disease focused; and the lack of
4) Under EBM, practice guidelines are becoming treatment mandates.
Financial consequences are increasingly a possibility for doctors
who do not follow guidelines issued by health plans or government.
Computer systems to track and report physician adherence are
5) Patient harm can result from EBM, and its treatment mandates.
Practice guidelines are based on data collected from the medical
records of many patients. They do not focus on the care or the
unique circumstances and physiologies of individuals. And, as
has been reported in England, the guidelines can be used to
implement health-care rationing.
"Control over medical decisions is being shifted from doctors
to data crunchers; from professionals at the bedside to bureaucrats
in big offices," says Ms. Brase.
"The public should not be fooled by the nifty-sounding names.
Evidence-based medicine is managed care masquerading as science."
The CCHC report is available online: http://www.cchconline.org/pdfreport/
Source: CCHC press release http://www.cchconline.org/pr/pr121304.php
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What the FDA Won't Tell You about
CBN News reported recently that "a little electronic capsule,
smaller than a dime, could be one of the biggest technological
advances in how we share and store private medical records."
But the report notes that it may also be one of the most controversial.
"Known as the VeriChip, it is a microchip that is implanted
under a person's skin, and then scanned with a special reader
device to reveal important medical data about that person.
Applied Digital, the Florida-based company that makes the VeriChip,
hopes the implant will revolutionize how doctors obtain medical
information, particularly in emergency situations. Theoretically,
if a person can't speak, medics could scan that person and quickly
be linked to a database that would provide crucial information
like the patient's identity, blood type and drug allergies."
The news report states, "The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
approved the VeriChip implant for medical use in humans in October
, a huge victory for Applied Digital..But in a letter
obtained by CBN News from the FDA to the VeriChip makers, the
microchip is not completely safe. In fact, the letter lists
a whole host of health risks associated with the device, including
'adverse tissue reaction,' 'electrical hazards' and 'MRI incompatibility.'"
Consumer-privacy advocate Katherine Albrecht reveals the potential
dangers of the VeriChip and other radio-frequency identification
methods on her website: (www.spychips.com).
Source: "Brave New World: What the FDA Won't Tell You about
the VeriChip" (http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/news/041210a.asp).
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Health Freedom Watch is published by the Insitute for Health Freedom. Editor: Sue Blevins; Assistant Editor: Deborah Grady. Copyright 2005 Institute for Health Freedom.