• Doctors Concede Their Colleagues Are Robbing From Insurance Funds And Challenge Them To Trim Needless Care – In The New England Journal of Medicine today.

    Posted May 27, 2011: by Bill Sardi

    Having written an e-book on The Collapse of Conventional Medicine about all the needless and ineffective care thrust upon naïve patients, and then having watched the public clamor for more of the same in their opposition to rationed or delayed care has been very perplexing. It’s like the masses are saying “don’t cut Medicare even if it’s killing us.”

    Certainly modern medicine is impoverishing America as health care is now beyond affordability. Revelations today in The New York Times and The New England Journal of Medicine are sobering. A great portion of the financial collapse of America can be pointed towards the high cost of ineffective medicine. To make matters worse, the now common combination of unemployment and illness certainly devastates most families. Yet doctor bills keep rising.

    You can read the litany of unnecessary diagnostic procedures and treatments here.

    The list includes colonoscopies for the elderly, prostate screening for men, and placement of stents (arterial props) within coronary arteries that are among the many over-prescribed procedures performed. Modern medicine is simply gouging the system and the American Medical Association as well as State medical boards have sat idly by watching all this happen. An estimated $75 to $150 billion of services could be cut from Medicare without depriving patients of needed care. Apply that money to the needy and immediately realize its impact upon those who cannot afford health care.

    Predictably, doctors will rally their patients to object to any Medicare cutbacks despite the fact that Medicare faces $66 trillion of future care that is beyond its budget. As Rita F. Redberg, a cardiologists and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco says today in The New York Times, “Doctors, with the consent of their patients, should be free to provide whatever care they agree is appropriate. But when the procedure arising from that judgment, however well intentioned, is not supported by evidence, the nation’s taxpayers should have no obligation to pay for it.” Maybe if patients had to pay out-of-pocket for this excessive care they would think twice before signing a consent form.

    Howard Brody, MD, PhD, writing in The New England Journal of Medicine, says “the myth that innocent doctors are bystanders merely watching health care costs zoom out of control cannot be sustained.”

    The real rub comes when it is realized doctors are ordering tests and treatments that are simply ineffective and even problematic. Dr. Brody challenges each medical specialty to make a “top five” list of tests and treatments that are not “evidence based” and eliminate them.

    Dr. Brody says doctors may object to self regulation, but then government will have to step in. If doctors want autonomy, they had better do something about the 30% of health care costs they control that are unnecessary.

    Oncologists Thomas J. Smith and Bruce E. Hillner at Virginia Commonwealth University respond in the New England Journal of Medicine to Dr. Brody’s challenge by conceding that a great deal of cancer care delivered today does not meaningfully extend survival and is costly beyond belief.

    Most new cancer drugs cost $5000 per month or more yet are not cost effective. Drs. Smith and Hillner say: “We must find ways to reduce the costs of everyday care to allow more people and advances to be covered without bankrupting the health care system.”

    In remarkably candid fashion, these cancer doctors concede that most treatment follow-up using cancer markers or imaging studies are of useless value and do not prolong survival. Yet patients cling to these studies as if their life depended on them.

    They challenge their colleagues to withhold chemotherapy for patients in their last two weeks of life. They suggest limiting chemotherapy to patients who are still well enough to walk unaided into a clinic.

    They plead with their colleagues to cease prescribing costly drugs that stimulate white blood cells following chemotherapy. By the way, these drugs (hematopoietic colony-stimulating factors) boost neutrophil count, which is a white blood cell that could be stimulated by something as inexpensive as vitamin D. But oncologists are not given to using something like vitamins because they are making big money off of cancer drugs administered in their offices.

    This drug costs about $3,500 per injection and generates $1.25 billion a year in sales. One oncologist’s office was found to bill Medicare $141 per injection, private insurance $611-to-$1312.

    But Drs. Smith and Hillner bring up the plea that will inevitably arise from patients and their families – that something must be done, and they will obtain 2nd and 3rd opinions till they find some doctor who will treat their loved one.

    Most cancer patients’ optimism exceeds what is expected from cancer care says the New England Journal of Medicine article. One survey showed most lung cancer patients expect to live more than 2 years beyond their date of diagnosis when average length of survival is about 8 months.

    The doctors go on to say: “We understand that this will be extraordinarily difficult, since one person’s cost constraint is another person’s perceived lifesaving benefit and yet another’s income.”

    Modern medicine has become a jobs program for doctors. It proceeds with impunity in delivering costly and ineffective care that patients cannot perceive because the cost is being borne by another party – insurance. Maybe this is the start of a return to sanity to modern medicine. Whether a profession as self-serving as medicine now has become will be able to take money out of its own pocket is still in question. © 2011 Bill Sardi, Knowledge of Health, Inc.

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One Response to “Doctors Concede Their Colleagues Are Robbing From Insurance Funds And Challenge Them To Trim Needless Care – In The New England Journal of Medicine today.”

  1. Dolly Says:
    May 27th, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Bravo. Unfortunately, given the current mindset, most of this will fall on deaf ears. The public don’t understand they live in a system or a matrix. They have been made to believe (with over 100 years of foundational, mainstream media and advertising propaganda) that “healthcare professionals” have 1.) their best interest at heart, and 2.) “healthcare professionals” have the best & latest equipment, tools and drugs, all of which have been through rigorous, unbiased testing for efficacy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, they are being targeted and preyed upon because of their (willful) ignorance. How many sting operations does it take to understand the system is set up to encourage fraud? How many drug companies have to pay millions (or billions) of dollars in settlements in order to avoid admitting to willful crimes, in order for the public to understand the system is rigged. It’s a casino, nothing more, nothing less. In a casino, the house almost always wins—and the public sits at the same slot machines over and over and over again, hoping for a different outcome. When doctors say they “treat” patients–take them at their word!! They never say they’re going to “CURE” a patient. That is a word they’re forbidden to use. Have you ever asked yourself why? KEEP your money in your pocket. Do NOT give to so-called cancer, diabetes, lupus, charities. In over 60 years not one cure has been “found”. And let us not get started as to why there are no cures “found”. That is another subject entirely. WAKE UP. The only time you should ask for and pay for a doctor’s advice is when something acute is happening and you need immediate attention (e.g. a broken bone). Otherwise, you should be running the other way. Look into holistic methods of staying well and treating problems; and before it’s too late, be aware of Codex Alimentarius which is coming to the U.S. It is already taking hold in Europe…er, I mean the EU.

    KnowledgeOfHealth.com:

    here, here, we have at least one reader who gets the message and urges others to heed the advice to back away from partaking in what modern medicine has to offer. The public simply cannot fathom that the prevailing attitude in medicine is that the dumb patients are to be treated like chattel, herded and chastised, belittled and berated, with the doctor’s threat he will abandon care if you don’t follow instructions. Sadly, few patients have enough gumption to stand up to this. -Bill Sardi

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