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Archive for October, 2006

New York Times has an Op-Ed piece from William Chace, a former president at Wesleyan and Emory.  It’s worth a read, and discusses the cost of college education.

I know you’re worried about money. I’m not telling you or your folks anything new when I say that Laudable looks expensive. The tuition increases here, just like those of our competitors, have outstripped the rate of increase in the consumer price index for years. This fall, tuition, room and board averages almost $32,000 at Laudable and other private colleges, and more than $15,000 at public ones.

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A good article in the New York Times regarding exercise and the not-so-simple health effects. I’ll post it for now and comment on it when I get a little more free time…

But for many, whether they say so or not, a desire to lose or control weight is a major motivation. Deciding if exercise is an effective method, though, can be a challenge.

On one hand, you may have heard that exercise is not very useful for knocking off extra pounds, though it helps to maintain weight. Or you may have heard that only weight-bearing exercise — like jogging or brisk walking — can help you lose those unwanted pounds, while activities like swimming and cycling are not helpful as far as weight goes.

At other times you may have wondered why, after you took up activities that were supposed to burn 500 calories a day, you failed to lose that pound a week.

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Another article from the New York Times.

A product sold by Neurometrix, called NC-stat, is the topic of an article today’s New York Times, in particular the way it shows the problems with how doctors are reimbursed for the care that they provide.

Also provided here, is a link from Medgadget, and their review of how the NC-stat device works.

The interest for me, however has less to do with the device itself, but the following paragraph near then end of the piece:

For physicians, who might be able to bill only $80 or so for a routine 30-minute office visit, Neurometrix’s promise of a profit as high as $250 for 15 minutes, is compelling. So was a customer-referral program in which physicians could receive hundreds of dollars in free products for steering other doctors to Neurometrix.

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For some health policy analysts, the popularity of such procedures illustrates why primary care doctors should be paid more for basic office visits and less for money-making procedures. Earning $250 from a diagnostic test “is obviously out of line with what physicians can earn from office visits,” said Paul Ginsburg, the president of the Center for Studying Health System Change, a Washington research group.

The reality is that doctors are simply not paid very much for spending time with patients, particularly in comparison to doing some fancy procedure.  The Medicare payments system that prices things based on the amount of resources it uses encourages people to use resources.  It seems obvious, but if one creates an incentive, one shouldn’t be surprised if people take it.  In this case, one shouldn’t be surprised if the entire medical industry is geared toward using more resources.

In fact, the expert doctor who can accurately diagnose people quickly is actually paid less, because, well, they’re too fast.

Anyway, the complete article is below.

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