Daily Rounds: Slashing Costs At Children's; Billions In Patent Losses; Health Care Politics; Talk Therapy Fades

Children's Hospital zeroes in on cutting its health care costs (The Boston Globe) "Children’s has reduced its fees to private insurers and to Medicaid-managed care programs by $90 million over the last year and a half, hospital executives said, by focusing on charges for lab tests, doctors’ appointments, imaging, surgery, and hospital admissions. Children’s also recently slashed imaging and outpatient surgery prices by 20 percent at the hospital’s three suburban sites."

Patent Expirations Threaten Drug Industry Profits - "At the end of November, Pfizer stands to lose a $10-billion-a-year revenue stream when the patent on its blockbuster cholesterol drug Lipitor expires and cheaper generics begin to cut into the company’s huge sales.The loss poses a daunting challenge for Pfizer, one shared by nearly every major pharmaceutical company. This year alone, because of patent expirations, the drug industry will lose control over more than 10 megamedicines whose combined annual sales have neared $50 billion." (

More Women Opt For Less Invasive Breast Biopsies | WBUR & NPR Researchers in Florida report that surgeons are performing many more invasive breast biopsies than needed. Another recent study finds similar rates of unnecessary biopsies in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
But, at the same time, that study offers good news: Nationwide, doctors in most states are adhering to guidelines and performing surgery for only 10-15 percent of biopsies for breast cancer. And the national average for so-called "open surgical biopsies" has declined dramatically in recent years. (WBUR | 90.9 FM)

Municipal health care costs debated in Mass. - "On Monday, unions representing teachers, firefighters and other public workers have scheduled a news conference to announce their proposal for changes in the current municipal health care system.
On Tuesday, the Legislature’s Public Service Committee will hold a public hearing on several bills aimed at lowering costs for cash-strapped cities and towns. "(

Talk Doesn't Pay, So Psychiatry Turns To Drug Therapy ( "Like many of the nation’s 48,000 psychiatrists, Dr. Levin, in large part because of changes in how much insurance will pay, no longer provides talk therapy, the form of psychiatry popularized by Sigmund Freud that dominated the profession for decades. Instead, he prescribes medication, usually after a brief consultation with each patient. So Dr. Levin sent the man away with a referral to a less costly therapist and a personal crisis unexplored and unresolved."

This program aired on March 7, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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