Daily Rounds: Hospital Workers Sicker; Cochlear Implant Recall; SpongeBob Effect; Patients Who Bill Doctors

Hospital workers outspend others on medical care | Reuters "Hospital employees spend 10 percent more on healthcare, consume more medical services, and are generally sicker than the rest of the U.S. workforce, according to a study released on Monday. The cost difference was even greater when dependents were taken into account, with healthcare costs 13 percent higher, including medical care and prescription drugs. The study, conducted by Thomson Reuters Healthcare, analyzed the health risk and utilization of 1.1 million hospital workers and compared them with 17.8 million health plan members across all industries around the country. Researchers did not look at the causes for the disparity." (Reuters)

Cochlear Recalls Latest Implant Range, Shares Plunge - "MELBOURNE—Cochlear Ltd., the world's biggest maker of bionic ears, on Monday recalled its latest range of hearing implants after a recent unexplained increase in failures. The voluntary recall of the Nucleus CI500 implants, which Cochlear says are the world's slimmest titanium hearing implant, will affect sales in around 75 countries, including the U.S. and Australia. "(Wall Street Journal)

Pants-wearing sponge tied to kids’ poor attention - Health - Children's health - "Back in 2005 he caught flak from a Christian evangelical group because its leader thought he was gay. Now a small new study suggests he could be turning preschoolers' minds to mush.
The study, published online Monday by the journal Pediatrics, found watching a snippet of a SpongeBob cartoon negatively affected 4-year-olds’ attention spans. Watching a more realistic PBS cartoon did not. These days, kids typically start watching television at 4 months of age, and they watch lots of it, Dr. Dimitri Christakis writes in a commentary accompanying the study." (MSNBC)

Patients who bill their doctor for being late "Elaine shared: “If I’m kept waiting, I bill the doctor. At the twenty minute mark, I politely tell the receptionist that the doctor has missed my appointment and, at the thirty minute mark, I will start billing at $47/hour.” Wow! I had to hear more. Elaine scheduled her physical as the first appointment slot of the day.  She waited thirty-five minutes in a paper gown before getting dressed, retrieving her copay, and informing the receptionist to expect a bill. The doctor pulled up just as Elaine was leaving. Prior to her initial visit, Elaine signed the standard agreement outlining no-show and late fees. On follow up, Elaine knocked on the door and discovered her therapist with another client. He apologized for his scheduling error. Elaine sent a bill; check arrived the following week." (Kevin, M.D.)

Gym Jones Preaches the Cult of Physicality - "Yes, the name is an overt nod to Jim Jones, the sect leader who steered more than 900 people to suicide in 1978. No, the couple that owns the gym, Lisa and Mark Twight, don’t see anything obnoxious about that. “We knew some people would call us a cult,” Ms. Twight said, “so we decided to own the joke.” The zealous devotion clients have toward the gym and its fitness philosophy, which turns as much on psychology as it does on physicality, can indeed be a little frightening. Picture Scientologists, except with really big biceps." (

The other shoe drops: Most are bad for feet - "Those cute little roll-up ballet flats women carry in purses to slide on during foot-pain emergencies have rapidly achieved most-favored streetwear status among millions — and worst-footwear status among podiatrists. When used only for their intended purpose — worn just a few minutes as relief from aches, or while deskbound or on a plane — they're not terrible, foot specialists say. But it's a problem when women wear the slipperlike coverings, made by several companies and selling for $8 to about $35, as regular shoes. "There's no structure, essentially no sole, they're too flat, and there's no support," says Michele Colon, a podiatrist and shoe blogger in El Monte, Calif." (

Enrolling in weight-loss programs could save Medicare billions - "Medicare could save billions of dollars if people who were pre-diabetic or at risk for cardiovascular disease took part in community-based weight-loss programs, a study finds. Researchers projected cost savings for the government healthcare program if millions of people in the U.S. age 60 to 64 participated in a program that helped them lose weight and gain more healthful lifestyle habits. They based their findings on an existing YMCA diabetes prevention program that is, as of this year, at 50 facilities in 24 states. In a study of a similar program, participants lost an average 7% of their body weight and maintained that over 2.8 years. The prevalence of diabetes went down 71% among people age 60 and older." (Los Angeles Times)

This program aired on September 12, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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