Medical Devices for Appearance Vs. Health and the Impact on Your Wallet

Surgeons

When it comes to medical devices, articles that impact the function or structure of the human body, how much the patient pays depends on who is paying the bill. If the implementation of such a device is considered medically warranted and is covered in part or in full by the patient’s health insurance, it will cost one price. If the implementation of the device is the patient’s choice, for cosmetic reasons and not covered by the patient’s health insurance in such a case, the same item may cost substantially less.

Breast augmentation provides a good example. A woman receiving a breast implant following a mastectomy, with proper health insurance, will have the entire procedure including implant covered by her plan. On her bill, it wouldn’t be unusual to see the breast implant billed at up to $3,500. A young woman with uneven breasts seeking an implant to give herself uniformity will pay on average, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, $3,718 for the implant and the procedure including the surgeon’s fee. That would suggest she paid much less for the implant than the patient in the first example.

Another example of medical device price discrepancy are knee and hip implants. A 2017 JAMA study showed that insurance companies were billed double the amount paid to the manufacturers for the implants by the hospital.

Why the price discrepancy?

Not all hospitals are non-profit and in those cases, it’s a business. But that business can have grave consequences for some.

One study in 2015 by Health Affairs stated “Collectively, this system [of giving hospitals free rein to mark up their costs] has the effect of charging the highest prices to the most vulnerable patients and those with the least market power.”

The vulnerable they reference would be those who don’t have medical insurance or don’t have enough insurance. If they should become ill, they are responsible for paying whatever the hospital wishes to charge, even if it sends them to bankruptcy court when they can’t pay.

The Health Affairs study found many of the hospitals with high-markups to be in the south. Of the top 50 such hospitals, 20 are located in Florida which offers a friendly environment for for-profit hospitals.

For patients without proper insurance, one course of action would be to determine which hospitals local to them are non-profit and which are for-profit. The for-profit hospitals tend to have higher markups. As long as the ACA exists, it requires non-profit hospitals to give discounts to uninsured patients that meet eligibility requirements.

from Jasmine Sidhu-NovoGradac Career Overview http://jasminesidhunovogradac.com/medical-devices-for-appearance-vs-health-and-the-impact-on-your-wallet/
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How to Pack Smarter

Packing
Is there such a thing as packing enough belongings? There’s always something missing. However, spending unnecessary finances on the trip is not an option, and it is stressful dragging 10 bags around the airport. Luckily, there’s a happy medium.

Pack According to Airline Requirements
Check the airlines’ carry-on and checked baggage weight requirements on their website. Since the answers vary by airline, look for the number of acceptable luggage, types of acceptable luggage, and luggage measurements. Find out the cost of overweight luggage. Learn about the overhead cabin dimensions for carry-ons on the airline’s website too. Check the website for this information for every trip as requirements change.

Use Luggage Organizers
Packing cubes, plastic bags, zipper pouches, and travel bottles organize luggage so it’s easier to locate necessary items. The four offer additional storage space for liquids, small items, makeup, cell phones, tablets, chargers, and underwear. In the same vein, luggage organizers separate dirty and used items from clean items. An organized bag is easy for airport security to search the bag too, reducing time spent in line.

Maximize With Less
To avoid unnecessary stress, carry no more than three bags and maximize it. Use shoes to stuff socks, ear buds, and underwear inside. Include dual-purpose garments and lightweight clothes because it weighs less. In turn, travelers can pack more. Use mesh and see-through compartments to store items that require checking by security. Wear the bulkiest and heaviest clothes on the plane (i.e., coat, boots) to preserve luggage space and reduce luggage weight.

Divide the Group’s Clothes Between Suitcases
In some cases, checked bags arrive late. Some group members have clothes to wear while others must buy clothes until the bags arrive. While there’s nothing travelers can do about late bags, travelers can avoid buying clothes by dividing everyone’s clothes among the group. For example, if three people are traveling together and each is carrying one suitcase, divide everyone’s clothes into thirds. Each traveler’s bag will have clothing everyone can wear, and if a bag is late, there are two more bags filled with clothes to rely on in the meantime.

All tips listed will make traveling less hectic while staying on a budget no matter what happens. Travelers who commit to packing less by carrying less will benefit the most. Families will benefit from these tips too.

from Jasmine Sidhu-NovoGradac’s Travel Blog http://jasminesidhunovogradac.net/how-to-pack-smarter/
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Millennials Are the Driving Force Behind the Rise in Urgent Care Facilities

Hospital

 

Convenience is key for millennials seeking health care. Like every other product or service they consume, millennials look for speed of delivery, ease of access, and simplicity of service. While doctors’ offices are making use of technology to improve the customer experience, urgent care centers are the clear winners when it comes to finding cheaper, faster, and easier to obtain health care services.

Urgent Care Industry: $18 Billion and Growing

Here are some statistics about the urgent care industry that may be surprising. According to Medical Economics,

• In 2015, there were 6,946 urgent care clinics in the U.S. By mid-2018, that number grew to 8,258.
• Industry experts expect that number to grow by 5% to 6% by year end.
• Each year, 89 million people receive care at urgent care clinics.
• 29% of all primary care visits are at an urgent care facility.
• 15% of all outpatient care is handled in an urgent care clinic.

What do millennials want most from their healthcare providers and medical facilities?

When it comes to obtaining health care, millennials value convenient healthcare more than anything else.

Today’s patients are consumers, and that goes for non-millennial patients as well. They don’t want to wait weeks or even months to see a doctor for a simple evaluation, treatment, or prescription. Urgent care clinics provide conveniences that some traditional doctor’s offices still lack. These include same day or walk-in appointments, easily accessible, ground floor offices in retail locations, and on-site diagnostic equipment.

What are the real benefits of choosing an urgent care clinic?

1. Reduced costs. The average cost of an emergency room visit can exceed $2,000. For those with no insurance, or must pay a deductible or copay, this can be cost prohibitive. Urgent care visits, by contrast, can cost less than $200 depending on the services needed.
2. Less waiting time. People spend several hours in an emergency department to be evaluated for pain, flu, and other conditions or to be treated for simple fractures and wounds. Much of that time is spent waiting for diagnostic imaging and interpretation by a radiologist. Urgent care centers reduce that time and can provide diagnosis and treatment almost immediately.
3. Easier to access. Urgent care clinics are found in many residential and retail areas that are more accessible than hospital campuses. Parking is often available at the door at no cost in a retail area parking lot.

Consumers of Medical Care Have More Choice

There will always be a need for emergency rooms, hospital campuses, and traditional doctors’ offices. Trauma centers and surgical units are still the best place for major medical issues like cardiovascular emergencies. But for minor emergencies and everyday care such as wellness visits, work and sports physicals, evaluations and prescriptions, urgent care facilities provide people with a quick and inexpensive alternative for medical treatment.

from Jasmine Sidhu-NovoGradac Career Overview http://jasminesidhunovogradac.com/urgent-care-industry-18-billion-and-growing/
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Precision Medicine Advancements

Precision Medicine

Sema4 is a patient-centered health company that has begun looking at a new paradigm for healthcare. By using data from medical records, researchers can look at the underlying causes of disease, and develop accurate diagnostics identifying for identifying and preventing them as well giving individualized treatment for patients. Sema4 states that the current healthcare system for large hospitals and physician networks cannot provide this type of patient treatment yet. But, over the last few years Mount Sinai Health System in New York, has founded several groups that are advancing this field of precision medicine. The Institute for Next Generation Healthcare, Lab100 and Sema4 are among the groups started by Mount Sinai to research in this new field of medicine. By accessing new capabilities in gene sequencing, bioinformatics, pharmacogenetics, and RNA analysis, researchers at Mount Sinai are working with different groups and departments to bring healthcare into the future.

Bringing together scientists, data engineers, and clinicians, Sema4 is working to refine precision medicine. In 2015, researchers there carried out the first study to sequence the human diploid genome using sequencing technologies. They also developed one of the first holistic molecular models for Alzheimer’s disease, demonstrating the interactions of genes and environmental factors and giving insight into possible gene therapies for the disease. In August 2018, a different group at Sema4 developed two new reproductive testes using the Sema4 Health Intelligence Platform ( SHIP). These noninvasive prenatal tests can screen for genetic disorders that can cause developmental delays, like Prader-Willi and Angelman syndromes, and detecting rates for such genes as CYP21A2( which causes adrenal disorders) and GBA ( mutations which cause liver disorders, bone pain, and anemia).

Doctors and researchers know that an inter-disciplinary approach is what will be needed across the seven Mount Sinai hospitals and the Icahn School of Medicine. Creating such things as DAPHNE, a software program that can decipher the RNA of multiple myeloma cancer cells, and developing machine learning algorithms that analyze large-scale molecular datasets, these groups are heading for the new frontier of healthcare. It is a future that will depend on accessing genetic and personalized information. With this information on a patient’s genes, environmental factors and medical history, generational healthcare can be developed for a patient and their children, and their future family.

from Jasmine Sidhu-NovoGradac Career Overview http://jasminesidhunovogradac.com/precision-medicine-advancements/
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The Best Luggage Exists for Every Budget

Luggage
Luggage is one of those things that everyone needs at one point in their life or another. Everyone needs luggage to store their clothes, personal effects and hygiene tools while they are in transit but not everyone has the same budget for it. This article seeks to highlight the best luggage brands for multiple income brackets.

Someone in the market should consider designs, warranties, materials, and the presence of handles, wheels and zippers. The ideal luggage optimizes storage while also satisfying travelers’ and airlines needs. The list below covers several notable major brands.

American Tourister

American Tourister is a great low-to-mid price brand ideal for people who rarely travel.

Samsonite

Samsonite started over a century ago by making steamer trunks. Today’s Samsonite offers hard and soft bags, backpacks, and so on. Many Samsonite goods feature four-wheel configurations for easy movement. Samsonite is another excellent low-to-mid range option.

Travelpro

This mid-tier brand is favored by flight crews; Travelpro was actually invented by a pilot who needed wheeled luggage.

Delsey

This company began as a Parisian in 1946, initially focusing on leather camera cases. Delsey moved on to luggage in 1970. Since then, it has continued to serve medium value budgets.

Eagle Creek

This is a medium-price point brand known for its high durability luggage to the point that it offers customers a trademarked lifetime warranty.

Briggs & Riley

This brand features a lifetime warranty while featuring a proprietary CX expansion for compression. Briggs & Riley is on the higher end of the medium price tier.

Tumi

This is an upper-medium-tier luxury brand that offers free monogramming, on-site repairs and luggage tracking.

Victorinox

The same company responsible for the Swiss Army Knife has taken a similar approach to luggage on the high end price tier since 1999.

Hartmann

The company whose tagline “Since 1877” alludes to its founding work as a producer of steamer trunks. A Hartmann Skymate suitcases was featured in “Live and Let Die.”

Rimowa

This 120-year-old company has developed a reputation for lightweight, high quality materials for ages; they made the first aluminum trunk in 1937. Rimowa luggage has a distinct parallel groove design.

Bric’s

This luxurious, fashionable Italian brand is popular with frequent fliers. The high price of Bric’s luggage is reflected in the materials used.

Globe-Trotter

This is THE luxury luggage brand. Globe-Trotter has been used by Queen Elizabeth and Winston Churchill. Every piece of Globe-Trotter luggage is handcrafted.

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from Jasmine Sidhu-NovoGradac’s Travel Blog http://jasminesidhunovogradac.net/the-best-luggage-exists-for-every-budget/
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Essentials for Your Great Road Adventure

Road Trip

For many Americans, the idea of a road trip is one with a deep allure. There’s just something inherently exhilarating about traveling the roads with only the supplies in your car and the friends you bring along – but when you’re planning a road trip, you have to be careful not to let the excitement overpower your sense of responsibility. Luckily, you can make all the difference if you bring these essentials along and keep these lessons in mind.

Avoid Texting and Driving With a Phone Mount

Over the last decade and a half, texting and driving has become a more common issue and has been banned in places across the entire United States. Since these bans criminalize the usage of a phone while driving, even if you’re just flipping through places to eat or trying to find something on Google Maps, it’s crucial that you find a way to counter these bans.

The easiest is a simple phone mount, connecting to the dashboard and allowing you to mount your cellular device for easy access. This makes it easy for you to cycle through music or stay on top of where you’re going, within the parameters of the law.

Be Prepared for Digital Failures

These days, cellular phones and similar technologies have become such a common part of our shared identities that we often don’t even imagine they can fail – but the United States is riddled with cellular dead zones, so it helps to prepare ahead of time.

One of the most simple ways to prevent these failures is to bring along tools to counter them – a USB car charger will keep your battery levels high while paper road-maps can substitute for Google Maps in a pinch.

Bring Snacks and Coolers

Although you might be planning on stopping for greasy fast food, prices can pile up quickly, and you don’t want to run out of food money in the middle of the trip – so bringing along snacks like trail mix can be a big help. For liquids like sodas and juice, a cooler that fits adequately into your backseat or onto your floorboard can be a fine choice.

Although these tips identify some of the most important essentials to bring on your road trip, they don’t describe them all – so make sure you do some research before you set out on the road.

from Jasmine Sidhu-NovoGradac’s Travel Blog http://jasminesidhunovogradac.net/essentials-for-your-great-road-adventure/
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The Dangers of Physician Burnout

Physician

 

Physicians oftentimes face burnout in their jobs. Whether they are working longer hours than they need to they have to constantly deal with difficult patients, their overall well-being can become worn down. What’s worse is that doctors who experience burnout and continue working are a liability to patients and themselves. Let’s take a look at physician burnout and how it is affecting the medical industry as a whole.

What Causes Burnout?

Though we gave some examples of burnout causes above, there is actually a more prevalent reason that causes burnout. More than half of physicians stated that bureaucratic tasks are the leading cause of their burnout. Medical boards and administration can lead them to feel overwhelmed and less appreciated in their jobs. However, a close second would be overworking themselves. Doctors oftentimes work in 12-hour shifts for many consecutive days in a row. They oftentimes do not get a chance to take a break and unwind from these stresses. These constant ailments can lead to them experiencing fatigue, mental fog, and other medical problems.

Balance is the Key

To ensure that they do not experience burnout, some physicians are taking a stand to prevent this condition from happening. Many doctors are beginning to say no whenever they are offered more shifts at their medical center. Doctors by nature allow themselves to pile up their workload without thinking about it. Their time in residency is an example of this as there is little time for mistakes. However, once they have begun working in the medical field they forget they have a choice to take breaks. Stepping away from everything for short amounts of time can help keep doctors fresh. It will reduce the possibility of burnout and allow them to come back to work reinvigorated.

Physician Burnout is a Real Problem

The medical industry is booming now more than ever. There are a record amount of sick patients who receive treatment every day. The demand for doctors to help take care of these patients is astounding. Many doctors cannot resist the call of duty to help others. However, they must learn that they have to take care of themselves at the end of the day. Failure to do so will hinder their ability to ultimately provide medical care for those who need it the most.

from Jasmine Sidhu-NovoGradac Career Overview http://jasminesidhunovogradac.com/the-dangers-of-physician-burnout/
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