If you're a Boston resident in one of the high-risk groups, you can get a free shot this weekend at clinics run by the Boston Public Health Commission.
Paul Levy at Beth Israel (the Avis to Partners Healthcare's Hertz) says what we have here is a failure to compete due to a sort of health-care duopoly - a market with one dominant provider and one dominant insurer.
WBUR reports some local hospitals say the number of ER visits by people with flu-like symptoms has plateaued.
WBUR reports that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is seeing an increase in prescriptions for antibiotics to treat flu symptoms, which the insurer calls "a little concerning" since antibiotics don't work against the flu.
The Los Angeles Times reports on a health-care "reform" pushed by John Kerry (and, to be fair, by the late Ted Kennedy) that would require insurers to pay for Christian Science counseling sessions as a health-care expense.
Via Deb Geisler, who requests our new senior senator read up on the First Amendment's separation clause.
Lynch was one of 64 Democrats in the House tonight to vote for the so-called Stupak amendment to bar even private insurers from paying for abortions if they take any money at all from the government.
Representatives Tsongas, Markey, Delahunt, Capuano, Tierney, Olver, Frank and McGovern all voted no. Rep. Neal voted along with Lynch.
UPDATE: Lynch then joined his Mass.... Read more
A couple of clinics on Saturday and Monday. My Dorchester has the details. Because of vaccine shortages, only people in high-risk groups (which the site lists) will get shots.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Paul Levy is running an online auction to help the Bowdoin Street Health Center in Dorchester raise the money it needs to buy an ultrasound machine, so that pregnant women could get examined in their neighborhood, instead of several miles away at Beth Israel.
Among the items up for grabs: An overnight stay at the Four Seasons, a baseball... Read more
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CEO Paul Levy writes Caritas Christi is "out of line" by attempting to take possession of several thousand medical records belonging to two doctors who left the hospital chain for rival Mt. Auburn Hospital, as reported yesterday by the Globe:
... This is out and out cruelty to patients by attempting to restrict their doctors' access to them... Read more
The Globe reports that Ropes & Gray bought up enough Tamiflu to hand out to all its employees for them and their families.
Or as Above the Law puts it, who knew lawyers in expensive suits were as at high risk as young children, pregnant women and people with immune disorders?
... The old, the young, and the weak become seriously ill from... Read more
Doctors don't often share personal information with their patients, but sometimes it makes a difference.
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that a group of 50-something Marlboro smokers who continue to smoke to this day can sue Philip Morris for the costs of ongoing lung-cancer screening.
The ruling by itself does not win anything for the plaintiffs, however, because it comes in the form of an opinion on Massachusetts law to a federal court that is actually hearing the case.... Read more
Ibby Caputo, now a writer at the Washington Post, reports what happened when she was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia in 2007:
... The disease proved resistant to chemotherapy, but a transplant of blood stem cells was successful. A miracle. Six weeks after the transplant, I came down with viral meningitis, and though it left me skeletal and barely able to walk for a... Read more
J.L. Bell proves what's old is new again, with a post on pre-Revolutionary fervor against vaccinations - for smallpox. In fact, anti-vacciners burned down a Marblehead hospital that was providing vaccinations - and when they were arrested, several hundred of their supporters beat back the local militia to spring them from jail.
Dr. Gwenn tries to dampen rising hysteria over swine-flu shots:
... Sometimes as parents we have to stop over thinking a situation and do what we have to in order to keep our children safe. I believe this is one of those situations. Instead of questioning data and acting out of fear, we need to start trusting the doctors and scientists working hard to... Read more
The Globe reports on a proposal to pay health-care providers set amounts per patient per year, rather than per procedure.
A report last week indicated the number of non-emergency visits to Massachusetts emergency rooms hasn't really dropped since the state began requiring everybody to have health insurance.
Anya Rader Wallack, whose Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation helped fund the report explains some of the reasons why - most notably, people seeking medical care after their normal practitioners have gone home for... Read more
Here is a list of places to get free shots against the seasonal flu in Boston, if you don't have the money to pay for one at a drug store or if your regular health center has either already run out or can't get enough vaccine in stock.
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center reports more people have health coverage here than anywhere else in the country.
And no pre-existing condition clauses! Of course, we also have the nation's longest wait to see a primary-care physician and, for people with families who find themselves self-employed, some pretty expensive premiums, even for coverage that could leave them liable for up to $10,000... Read more