Category Archives: News

Herd Immunity

Herd immunity is a key component of public vaccination campaigns that keep everyone healthy and safe from preventable diseases.  538 did an article on this topic recently, and included a reference to FRED.

FRED is pretty interesting.  You can pick a location and view the impact of a Measles case over time.  With an 80% vaccination rate, measles cases soar.  With rates of >95%, though, a case doesn’t spread.  The importance of high vaccination rates is pretty clear.

Response to Hospitals Are Dramatically Overpaying for Their Technology

HBR had an article that’s stuck with me all week about interoperability standards in healthcare technologies. They give a poignant example of how interoperability affects the delivery of care.

For critically ill patients on breathing machines, a simple step drastically improves their survival chances by almost 10% — from 60% to 70%. It involves programming the machine to deliver enough life-sustaining breaths, but not so much that it damages their lungs by overinflating them. Given that this intervention could prevent more suffering than many wonder drugs, one would expect that there would be zero market for a breathing machine that didn’t make lung-preventive ventilation as easy as possible. But in health care, few things work as expected. Fewer than half of patients, and in some hospitals fewer than 20%, receive this life-saving intervention.

One big reason why is that hospitals purchase technologies without requiring that they communicate with each other. The optimal air flow is based on a straightforward calculation using the height of the patient. Height data, however, resides in the electronic medical record, which typically does not communicate with the ventilator. As a result, physicians must retrieve this information from the medical record, perform the calculation (sometimes on paper), and enter the order. A respiratory therapist then takes the order and types it into the ventilator, often relying on memory.

Their primary recommendation is to have hospitals use their purchasing power to force vendors to improve interoperability.  Which this is a laudable goal, working at a major academic medical center I can see the challenges with that approach that would need to be overcome.

Power (and by extension funding) is often very diffuse, spread between different management structures.  In a more corporate environment, purchasing can be empowered to negotiate deals that embed certain requirements.  In our environment, on the other hand, different equipment can be purchased through different mechanisms.  Some items may be funded by the institution.  Other equipment, though, may be acquired through government grants, non-profit and private donations, or research contracts with private industry.  Because the processes, rules and ownership vary depending on the funding source, leveraging procurement to force this kind of interoperability is a significant challenge.

The recommendation needs to be further developed to address this type of structural challenge.

 

BIAPA Notice: Now is the time to let our Senators know about the potential impact of cuts to Medicaid in the American Health Care Act

Below is a message from the Brain Injury Alliance of PA.  Please offer your support!


Action Alert:Now is the time to let our Senators know about the potential impact of cuts to Medicaid in the American Health Care Act

The American Health Care Act (ACHA) proposes significant cuts to Medicaid.  The proposed per capita caps and cuts will have serious consequences for individuals with disabilities and seniors.  The Senate is currently writing the bill, so this is the time to communicate with our Senators to educate them about the potential impact and what it means to you personally.

DC Rally:

BIAA is co-sponsoring a Don’t Cap My Care Rally on June 6th at 11:30 am with Senator Casey (PA), Senator Van Hollen (MD), Hon. Tony Coelho, and other members of Congress. The rally is at 1st St SE & Constitution, across from the Supreme Court.

This rally was organized on short notice, and we encourage you to attend if you’re in the DC area or able to travel there, but it’s not the only way for you to participate as a brain injury advocate on that day.

June 6 No Caps Call-in Day and Social Media Action:

June 6th will also be a national call-in day and day of social media action focused on opposing Medicaid caps. You can download the Day of Action toolkit, compiled by the Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities which BIAA is an active member of, with information about calling in and social media (primary hashtag #SaveMedicaid and secondary of #NoCutsNoCaps).

One more way to help: Share your story

Senator Casey, one of our senators from Pennsylvania, shared that his office is collecting stories of how individuals with disabilities lives have been improved because of Medicaid. If you would like to send your story to Senator Casey, please email it to healthcare@casey.senate.gov

As always, thank you for your advocacy efforts on behalf of individuals with brain injury and their families.  Your voice is important.

Two HBR Articles: Perspectives on Gender in the Workplace

HBR a few weeks ago had two interesting articles on gender in the workplace.  The unconscious biases highlighted in the VC funding article were eye-opening to me given that this occurred in what I perceive as a progressive northern European country.  The second article is a nice reminder on silly sex segregation ideas that just don’t go away.

601 West Camplain Road

I stumbled on a story earlier today about a rundown building in Manville at 601 West Camplain Road.  The decline and outcome of this building is sad to see, given the fact that this building is a part of my family’s history.

My grandfather at one point owned it and operated a store out of it.  My parents used to talk about it as it was a part of their youth and it was a place that holds meaning for them.  Eventually, it was converted to an apartment building.

After my grandmother died in the early 1990s, my grandfather eventually met Lucy and re-married. By the time he died around 2004 or 2005, Lucy was set to receive the inheritance.  Control passed to her, and the building passed out of my family’s hands.

 

 

Lillian Pair Update – July 2013

Amazing!  I was searching for Lillian Pair in light of a story I heard recently about offshore tax havens and decided to check to see if she’s still in prison.  Imagine my surprise when I read on the Federal Bureau of Prisons site that she was released on August 30, 2012 and arrested on September 1, 2012 for check fraud.  She apparently pled guilty on June 14, 2013.

Can you believe it?  A few years in federal prison, and how do you celebrate your freedom?  By diving right in with more fraud!  I can only imagine what other mischief she’s been up to.

EU Banking Supervision?

I love how Wolfgang Schauble, the German Finance Minister, puts two effectively contradictory statements right next to each other in his FT op-ed:

It is crucial that the new system be truly effective, not just a façade. We must eschew yesterday’s light-touch approach for good and endow this supervisor with real and clearly defined responsibilities, coercive powers and adequate resources.

This also means that it should focus its direct oversight on those banks that can pose a systemic risk at a European level. This is not just in line with the tested principle of subsidiarity. It is also common sense; we cannot expect a European watchdog to supervise directly all of the region’s lenders – 6,000 in the eurozone alone – effectively.

Is a regulator really effective if some institutions remain outside its scope? Hasn’t that been one of the fundamental failings over the past 20 years that led to the financial meltdown in the first place?