Insurance, legal errors, rewards, and more…

FSM News & Articles

Reform Calls: Private health insurance at the crossroads: There is a plethora of data from other countries supporting primary care strategies that reduce hospital admissions for medical problems. The $11 billion of support for PHI should be steadily diverted to pay for Medicare to fund effective prevention focussed Primary Care. We spend close to $8 billion a year funding visits to GPs whose time is consumed with the treatment of established disease. Doubling that amount would allow us to introduce the team-based medical home-based system shown to be so effective in achieving what we need and which I have described in detail here. Supporting the model with the money now used to support PHI would see those dollars return so much more health. Such success would not necessarily see the total demise of PHI and private hospital services. It would see the demise of the need to have PHI. A sensible future may well have private hospitals contracted by the public system to supply services to public patients and even an arrangement where those that choose to do so could contract directly with a private hospitals for their care. The Grattan report reinforces long held observations that the status quo is unaffordable and unacceptable.

Rewards program withdrawn after complaint: “Participating assistants could earn $5 for each myDNA vitamins kit they sold (if they sold four or more), and a $1000 gift card if they “sell the most”… pharmacists (and pharmacy assistants) are meant to recommend products on the basis of evidence; recommending a product because they are being remunerated for selling it (which I’m sure they would not disclose to their customers) is an egregious breach of professional ethics (and the Pharmacy Code).”

FSM Friends News & Articles

Oliver vaccine injury case – Court denies appeal of NVICP ruling: Judge Newman’s opinion on the Oliver vaccine injury case mischaracterizes the science on Dravet and vaccines, incorrectly described the decision in E.O.’s case, and makes other errors. It has no legal authority, being a dissent from an appeal and a dissent from refusal to rehear the case. It should also have no persuasive authority because it is ill-reasoned and ill-founded.


Research is ‘ongoing and growing’ – Chiropractic leaders defend manipulating newborn spines: Claiming research on a topic is inconclusive or still needs to be conducted is a handy way to keep using the same practices and keep charging patients for a therapy that has no evidence to work (and people have looked). And to reiterate – chiropractic vertebral subluxations are not real and no biologically plausible mechanism exists supporting infant chiropractic spinal manipulation. Spinal manipulation on babies also carries a higher risk of harm than adults. I wonder how much evidence for lack of benefit would be needed before practitioners would stop using this entirely.

Big Pharma Conspiracy: There is a subset of alternative medicine proponents who believe Big Pharma have developed a cure for cancer (an absurd notion, as if cancer was one disease that could be covered by a single cure) but have supressed it. The rationale is Big Pharma will make far more money treating cancer than they ever could curing it. However, this fanciful notion neglects one important fact: people. What individual who had cancer or on behalf of a loved one with cancer would leave that magic treatment locked in the vault? It’s not possible. A secret of that magnitude could never be kept. No amount of money could silence pharma employees with a cancer diagnosis. We are all more human than that.

Kids are more vulnerable to the flu – here’s what to look out for this winter: A ten-year-old Perth boy is the latest Australian child to die from suspected influenza so far this year. This follows the deaths of three Victorian children, and a teenager in South Australia. Influenza most commonly causes fever, cough, headache, a sore throat and a runny nose. The virus can also infect the lungs, causing pneumonia. Some children react to the infection by developing vomiting, diarrhoea and muscle aches and pains. Many parents aren’t aware that influenza can also cause damage to the brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. It is unclear why these complications occur in some children and not others, but they can be severe. Young children get frequent infections and often develop symptoms that are difficult to distinguish from influenza. Testing on a nose or throat swab can be done to confirm if the illness is caused by influenza virus. Parents should seek medical attention if their child:

  • has difficulty breathing (breathing rapidly or drawing in chest or neck muscles);
  • is vomiting and refusing to drink;
  • is more sleepy than normal;
  • has pain that doesn’t get better with simple pain relief medication.

Most importantly, if you’re worried about your child during the flu season, see a doctor.

Great Moments in Health & Science

What breakthroughs in medicine came from NASA? Whilst not just any one great moment or invention, many important medical devices such as the MRI owe at least part of their existence to research relating to space and space travel.

Today’s Abused Health Concept

Acupuncture research – Medicare Aims To Study Treating Real Pain With Fake Medicine: Last week, (US) Medicare announced that it wants to start paying for studies of acupuncture as a treatment for low back pain, … to help solve opioid addiction…
But … thousands of studies have already been done, and the verdict was in, long ago, that acupuncture is nothing more than an elaborate placebo. The problem is, acupuncture proponents never give up. Every time a study shows that acupuncture fails (and this has happened, repeatedly), they claim it wasn’t done properly or make another excuse. To make matters worse, the new HHS program will fund “pragmatic” clinical trials rather than the usual, gold-standard randomized trials (RCTs). (Pragmatic studies are useful only for effects have already been confirmed by more rigourous methods. They are not useful for testing if an effect is real as they are HIGHLY prone to false positives. This approach is bound to create misleading positive findings for acupuncture.) “Then the acupuncturists will say, “look, it works! Now please cover acupuncture for all Medicare patients.” Then we’ll spend more tax dollars on pseudoscience, and patients will be in just as much pain as ever.”