Archive for the ‘medicine’ Category

Stem Cells, Obama, Science, Morality, Taxes, Responsibility

March 9, 2009

One of our regulary readers commented on another site: “Yes, please. Let’s allow scientists to determine what is right and moral; they have such a lack of bias and experience in knowing right from wrong.  I’m sure Dr. Mengele would approve wholeheartedly of such a course of action.”

Well, we aren’t much suprised at the irony of American life: a nation that has food banks for underfed dogs and cats has chosen a course of politial action called “choice,” which is really a birth control measure for those too lazy to use prevention measures wnich results in, many say, human death.

We are in the age of f**k you!

So now we are going to use the human death of some future genertion to keep alive (if the science eventually works) older people suffering from Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other fatal illnesses.

Maybe.

And the president who hosted a “Fiscal Responsibility Summit” sees no lack of responsibility in abortion and the use of hman tissue for “research.”

Ironic.

Well, the unborn are overtaxed already under the Obama spending, borrowing and debt plan so who cares if the unborn live to pay their tax bill?

We’ll be gone.

Seems America has joined others in the world of the totally selfish….Fiscal responsibility is now the mantra: yet we are burdening our children with debt (if they survive their embrionic stage).

Ironic.

I am sure the Vatican will weigh in on this latest American retreat from morality and that most of the mainstream media will blow off the Pope by saying he supports sexual abuse of children….

Charles Krauthammer siad, “The President hasn’t thought about  this enough.”

Related:

http://eideard.wordpress.com/2009/03/09/obam
a-to-let-health-institute-decide-day-to-day-policy-
on-stem-cells/

***********************

By Rachel Zoll, Ap Religion Writer

A wide-ranging study on American religious life found that the Roman Catholic population has been shifting out o of the Northeast to the Southwest, the percentage of Christians in the nation has declined and more people say they have no religion at all.

Fifteen percent of respondents said they had no religion, an increase from 14.2 percent in 2001 and 8.2 percent in 1990, according to the American Religious Identification Survey.

Northern New England surpassed the Pacific Northwest as the least religious region, with Vermont reporting the highest share of those claiming no religion, at 34 percent. Still, the study found that the numbers of Americans with no religion rose in every state.

“No other religious bloc has kept such a pace in every state,” the study’s authors said.

In the Northeast, self-identified Catholics made up 36 percent of adults last year, down from 43 percent in 1990. At the same time, however, Catholics grew to about one-third of the adult population in California and Texas, and one-quarter of Floridians, largely due to Latino immigration, according to the research.

Nationally, Catholics remain the largest religious group, with 57 million people saying they belong to the church. The tradition gained 11 million followers since 1990, but its share of the population fell by about a percentage point to 25 percent.

Christians who aren’t Catholic also are a declining segment of the country.

In 2008, Christians comprised 76 percent of U.S. adults, compared to about 77 percent in 2001 and about 86 percent in 1990. Researchers said the dwindling ranks of mainline Protestants, including Methodists, Lutherans and Episcopalians, largely explains the shift. Over the last seven years, mainline Protestants dropped from just over 17 percent to 12.9 percent of the population.

The report from The Program on Public Values at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., surveyed 54,461 adults in English or Spanish from February through November of last year. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 0.5 percentage points. The findings are part of a series of studies on American religion by the program that will later look more closely at reasons behind the trends.

The current survey, being released Monday, found traditional organized religion playing less of a role in many lives. Thirty percent of married couples did not have a religious wedding ceremony and 27 percent of respondents said they did not want a religious funeral.

About 12 percent of Americans believe in a higher power but not the personal God at the core of monotheistic faiths. And, since 1990, a slightly greater share of respondents — 1.2 percent — said they were part of new religious movements, including Scientology, Wicca and Santeria.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090309/
ap_on_re/rel_religious_america

File:Petersdom von Engelsburg gesehen.jpg

Michelle:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/09/anot
her-unhinged-democrat-to-taxpayer-get-the-fk
-out-of-my-office/

Related:
http://nobamablog.wordpress.com/2009/03
/09/obamas-political-munchausen-by-prox
y-syndrome/

****************

By Philip Pullella

 

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – President Barack Obama‘s lifting of restrictions on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research puts him at odds with Pope Benedict and the American Roman Catholic Church.

 

After Obama signed the order on Monday, the Vatican and U.S. and Italian Church leaders condemned the move. One commentator said the test of “a real democracy” was its defense of the most defenseless.

 

Obama’s executive order reversed and repudiated restrictions placed on the research by his predecessor, George W. Bush, freeing labs across the country to start working with the cells, which can give rise to any kind of cell in the body.

 

Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ committee on pro-life activities, called Obama’s decision “a sad victory of politics over science and ethics.”

 

“This action is morally wrong because it encourages the destruction of innocent human life, treating vulnerable human beings as mere products to be harvested,” he added.

 

The Catholic Church, other religious groups and pro-life advocates oppose stem cell research — which scientists hope can lead to cures for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s — because it involves the destruction of embryos.

 

The Catholic Church supports adult stem….

Read the rest:
http://www.reuters.com/article/vcCa
ndidateFeed2/idUSTRE52933620090310

Advertisements

Obama Doesn’t Understand What Many Americans Are Thinking

March 8, 2009

“First of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.”

Words from Barack Obama?  Hardly.  Those are words from Franklin Roosevelt’s first inaugural address.

See:
http://historymatters.gmu.e
du/d/5057/

I am disappointed in my president, our president.

He has changed some really great rhetoric like FDR’s “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” into this:

“I don’t think that people should be fearful about our future.  I don’t think that people should suddenly mistrust all of our financial institutions.”

“I don’t think” indicates an Obama-centric view of the financial turmoil of Americans — not a “people centric” view.

And by guessing at what Americans really do fear, “financial institution,” Obama is saying it is these evil “financial institutions” that many of us do fear.

Well, maybe in Obama World and Obama’s White House, people fear financial institutions because they have no understanding of capitalism, business, the stock market and the American dream.

I am afraid that President Obama has no clue….That’s my fear.  And I resent Him telling me what I think.

I believe generally that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” and I also believe in JFK’s famous challenge: “Ask not, what your country can do for you.  Ask what you can do for your country.”

I also believe in Ronald Reagan’s exoration: “Government is not the solution.  Government is the problem.”

I am afraid now because President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and a lot of other well meaning folks think the government is the solution.

America’s founders wrote down the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the other parts of our national fabric because they were living in fear of a far off all knowing and uncaring English Government.

And their spirit lives today in the saying, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”  Many of us fear such naive, ignorant hubris.

I am starting to fear Washington.  Obama’s Washington.  A far off, all knowing and uncaring government about five miles from my house, which is surrounded by other foreclosed houses.

I really do fear that Obama and many Democrat’s don’t get it.

Just last week, on Tuesday, President Obama, while speaking about the economy and the stock market, mentioned the “profit to earnings ratio.”

And I thought he went to Harvard.  There is no “profit earnings ratio.”  There is a “price to earnings ratio” or PE.  Investors care more about their return on the dollar, reflected in the price they paid and the earnings that resulted.

Tom Petruno wrote in the Los Angeles Times on March 7, “He didn’t get the lingo right, assuming he meant to say ‘price-to-earnings ratios,’ a measure of stock prices relative to earnings per share. That flub caused snickering among market pros.”

See:
Obama, Socialism, Fear, Lack of Confidence: Tanking Stocks, Skyrocketing Debt, Recovery Doomed This Year

I was even more disappointed when the president repeated this ignorant flub in a New York Times interview late in the week.  That meant to me that nobody in the White House was smart enough to straighten out the president by holding a little school call on him.  Or maybe they just don’t know; and don’t read.  They certainly don’t listen.

But they’re thinking about curing all my education and health care problems, undoutedly….

So Obama’s lack of stock market lingo doesn’t mean to me that he slept through high school: it means he has no idea what drives capitalism because he was reading socialist doctrine instead of paying attention to America, as he himself indicates in his books.  Maybe he never invested in anything but himself.

*****

What is wrong with America?  Everything, in Obama World:

“Look, I wish I had the luxury of just dealing with a modest recession or just dealing with health care or just dealing with energy or just dealing with Iraq or just dealing with Afghanistan,” Obama said. “I don’t have that luxury, and I don’t think the American people do, either.”

Related:
From CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITIC
S/03/07/obama.interview/index.html

Related:
 NYT Interviews Obama; No Economic Recovery This Year
.
NYT: After March 6 Economic News, “2009 is Probably a Lost Cause”

Related:
Obama: Crisis is time of ‘great opportunity’

 President Pelosi?

 Obama, Socialism, Fear, Lack of Confidence: Tanking Stocks, Skyrocketing Debt, Recovery Doomed This Year
.
Can Democracy Fail With Obama’s Socialist Help?

*****

It seems to us that the attacks on Rush Limbaugh fromTeam Obama are an effort to tell Americans what to think and what not to think.  This kind of arrogance often manifests itself in unusal ways: Limbaugh’s radio show ratings doubled.

So I really do fear that President Obama and his guys don’t get it….

Democratic Attacks On Limbaugh Boost His Ratings — But He’s Not The Problem

********

I fear that the president doesn’t understand that many of us don’t want to pay more taxes, however they are hidden or veiled and whatever thay are for, many of us DO MIND paying for por, even though Chick Schumer thinks we don’t, and many of DO want to further understanding of the good news/bad news behind such huge spending on health care and other Obama projects.  And I certainly DO WANT to understand how all this government debt will degrade American growth and quality of life in the future.  I don’t like sending money for oil to Saudi Arabia and I don’t like sending debt/interst payments to China eaither….

****************

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama offered his domestic-policy proposals as a “break from a troubled past.” But the economic outlook now is more troubled than it was even in January, despite Obama’s bold rhetoric and commitment of more trillions of dollars.

And while his personal popularity remains high, some economists and lawmakers are beginning to question whether Obama’s agenda of increased government activism is helping, or hurting, by sowing uncertainty among businesses, investors and consumers that could prolong the recession.

Although the administration likes to say it “inherited” the recession and trillion-dollar deficits, the economic wreckage has worsened on Obama’s still-young watch.

Every day, the economy is becoming more and more an Obama economy.

More than 4 million jobs have been lost since the recession began in December 2007 — roughly half in the past three months.

Stocks have tumbled to levels not seen since 1997. They are down more than 50 percent from their 2007 highs and 20 percent since Obama’s inauguration.

The president’s suggestion that it was a good time for investors with “a long-term perspective” to buy stocks may have been intended to help lift battered markets. But a big sell-off followed.

Presidents usually don’t talk about the stock market. But the dynamics are different now.

A higher percentage of people have more direct exposure to stocks — including through 401(k) and other retirement plans — than ever.

So a tumbling stock market is adding to the national angst as households see the value of their investments and homes plunge as job losses keep rising.

Some once mighty companies such as General Motors and Citigroup are little more than penny stocks.

Many health care stocks are down because of fears of new government restrictions and mandates as part a health care overhaul. Private student loan providers were pounded because of the increased government lending role proposed by Obama. Industries that use oil and other carbon-based fuels are being shunned, apparently in part because of Obama’s proposal for fees on greenhouse-gas polluters.

Makers of heavy road-building and other construction equipment have taken a hit, partly because of expectations of fewer public works jobs here and globally than first anticipated.

“We’ve got a lot of scared investors and business people. I think the uncertainty is a real killer here,” said Chris Edwards, director of fiscal policy for the libertarian Cato Institute.

Some Democrats, worried over where Obama is headed, are suggesting he has yet to match his call for “bold action and big ideas” with deeds.

In particular, they point to bumpy efforts to fix the financial system under Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Obama may have contributed to the national anxiety by first warning of “catastrophe” if his stimulus plan was not passed and in setting high expectations for Geithner. Instead, Geithner’s public performance has been halting and he’s been challenged by lawmakers of both parties.

Republicans and even some top Democrats, including Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, have questioned the wisdom of Obama’s proposal to limit tax deductions for higher-income people on mortgage interest and charitable contributions.

Charities have strongly protested, saying times already are tough enough for them. The administration suggests it might back off that one.

Even White House claims that its policies will “create” or “save” 3.5 million jobs have been questioned by Democratic supporters.

“You created a situation where you cannot be wrong,” the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Montana Democrat Max Baucus, told Geithner last week.

“If the economy loses 2 million jobs over the next few years, you can say yes, but it would’ve lost 5.5 million jobs. If we create a million jobs, you can say, well, it would have lost 2.5 million jobs,” Baucus said. “You’ve given yourself complete leverage where you cannot be wrong, because you can take any scenario and make yourself look correct.”

Republicans assert that Obama’s proposals, including the “cap and trade” fees on polluters to combat global warming, would raise taxes during a recession that could touch everyone. “Herbert Hoover tried it, and we all know where that led,” says House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio.

The administration argues its tax increases for the households earning over $250,000 a year and fees on carbon polluters contained in its budget won’t kick in until 2011-2012, when it forecasts the economy will have fully recovered.

But even those assumptions are challenged as too rosy by many private forecasters and some Democratic lawmakers.

Many deficit hawks also worry that the trillions of federal dollars being doled out by the administration, Congress and the Federal Reserve could sow the seeds of inflation down the road, whether the measures succeed in taming the recession or not. The money includes Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget and the $837 billion stimulus package he signed last month.

Polls show that Obama’s personal approval ratings, generally holding in the high 60s, remain greater than support for his specific policies.

“He still has a fair amount of political capital, so the public is willing to cut him some slack and go along with him for a while,” said pollster Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center. “But the public will have to get some sense that the kinds of things he’s proposing are going to work, or are showing some signs that they are working.”

Allan Sinai, chief global economist for Decision Economics, a Boston-area consulting firm, said the complexity and enormity of the crisis make it hard to solve.

“There’s no way to get it all right, regardless of which president is making policy,” Sinai said. “The problem is the sickness got too far. The actions taken, medicine applied, were mainly the wrong actions. So it’s just worse, and it gets harder to deal with. At this stage, there is no easy answer, no easy way out. It’s a question of how we fumble through.”

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/07/tea-part
y-on-taxpayer-revolts-in-green-bay-lafayette-olat
he-and-harrisburg/

Health Care: Computerized Records Just Won’t Lead to Better “Care” or Cost Savings

March 5, 2009

If the cheerleaders – including the one in the Oval Office – are right, computerized medical records will save us all: save jobs, save money, reduce errors, and transform health care as we know it. In a January speech, President Obama evoked the promise of new technology: This will cut waste, eliminate red tape and reduce the need to repeat expensive medical tests,” he said, and he has proposed investing $50 billion over the next five years to help make it happen.

By Scot Haig
Time Magazine

 

Any doctor will tell you the advantages of having lots of patient data on computers: it helps us avoid redundant tests, gather huge amounts of data for research, screen automatically for drug interactions, all with no problems with our famously illegible handwriting. I would be happy if every patient could hand me a digital file of everything about him; it could really save time on first visits. But against our government’s push to get all patients’ records computerized we must keep in mind there will be a cost to this – far beyond the billions to be spent setting it up. Many of us in medicine are concerned that the greatest cost will be in the quality of medicine that we practice. (Read “The Year in Medicine 2008: From A to Z”)

 

American doctors have not been enemies of the digital revolution. Looking up lab results and x-rays on our computer screens beat out carbon copies and sheet film in an instant. We like e-mail; we shop, take tests and read our journals on line. But the romance, for most of us, began to sour with Computerized Physician Order Entry [CPOE]: entering patients’ hospital orders on the computer. This is when we first confronted the downside to uploading our every medical judgment.

 

The majority of us are forced to use computerized orders or risk losing our hospital privileges. But most of us have found that CPOE is a lot harder than writing out orders on paper, takes far more time and in too many ways is just not as good. We’re never quite sure that what we’ve typed is going to be seen by a real, live, analog nurse, that it isn’t just going to disappear. (It does.) We can’t order certain things with those buttons and pull-down menus that we could in writing – things like “patient may wear her own flannel nightgown and underwear” or “please, please get the x-ray I ordered for yesterday”, or “prop up patient’s legs with pillows like this” followed by a little stick-figure drawing. (See pictures from an X-Ray studio.)

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/200903
05/hl_time/08599188300200

Health Care: Totally Fair, Equal and Socialists is Good, Right?

February 13, 2009

If health care modernization was easy, Hillary Clinton would have solved our problems some sixteen years ago.  Now she is at the State Department with only monor issues to deal with: China, Russia, North Korea, the Middle East, Afghanistan and other small fry….. Of course she has help from George Mitchell, Susan Rice and Richard Holbrooke.  Even Henry Kissinger will lend a hand.

But health care remains and now without Tom Daschle.

Here is the latest from health care in Britain:

*********************

Patients suffering from the same illness in the same hospital ward could get different drugs under a new top-up scheme, a senior health official admitted yesterday.

By Rebecca Smith, Medical Editor
Telegraph (UK)

Guidance adopted last year means patients can choose to pay for drugs not provided by the NHS without losing their entitlement to have the rest of their care on the NHS.

It led to fears of a two-tier NHS where those who can afford to pay get better treatment, although the Government has always denied that this will occur.

Dr Peter Carter, the chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, has previously said: “We do not want to face a situation where two patients in neighbouring beds can be offered different menus of treatment, based solely on their ability to pay.”

However, Una O’Brien, the director of policy and strategy for the Department of Health, admitted to MPs that there was a theoretical chance this could happen.

It is believed to be the first time an official has made such and admission.

When asked by Kevin Baron, the chairman of the Commons health select committee whether patients on the same ward could receive different drugs based on their ability to pay, Ms O’Brien said: “I think it is a theoretical possibility but I would stress that the thrust of the policy overall is to reduce the circumstances in which that would ever arise.”

Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary, ordered a review of top-ups following a public outcry over the case of Linda O’Boyle, 64, from Essex, who died last year after being told that she was no longer eligible for free NHS care because she had purchased an expensive bowel cancer drug privately.

The Government subsequently announced that patients who choose to buy drugs deemed too expensive for the NHS would no longer lose their right to free health service care.

Prof Mike Richards, who led the Government review, said that when a cancer patient chooses to buy a drug not available on the NHS it should be administered separately from their NHS care.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/46
05605/Two-tier-care-a-reality-health-chief-admits.html

Change: Obama Promised More Health Care Funding; But We Need Less

January 12, 2009

Will Obama be so bold? In the campaign, he proposed more, not less, health spending. It’s easier to embrace the rhetoric of change than change itself.

By Robert J.  Samuelson
The Washington Post

Barack Obama talked somberly last week about getting the federal budget under control once the present economic crisis has passed. To do that, he’ll have to confront the rapid growth of health spending, which in 2007 was already a quarter of total federal spending of $2.7 trillion. If Obama is serious, he should read a fascinating study from the McKinsey Global Institute, the research arm of the famed consulting company.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conten
t/article/2009/01/11/AR2009011101895.htm
l?hpid=opinionsbox1

Vietnam, China: Sex, Medicine Continue To Take Rare, Protected Creatures

December 22, 2008

Vietnam customs officials said Monday they had seized about five tons of frozen pangolin meat, a protected species whose trade is illegal.

The 270 boxes of pangolin meat were found Friday in northern Quang Ninh province, said an official at the Cai Lan port customs office, asking not to be named. Officials suspected the cargo was on its way to China, she said.

Another source at the port’s customs office, who also asked not to be named, said the meat came from 1,481 pangolins.

Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and trading of the animal and its products is illegal.

Demand for pangolin meat, with its supposedly medicinal and aphrodisiac qualities, is widespread in China and in Vietnam, which has a poor conservation record.

A Malaysian customs official holds a number of frozen pangolins ... 
A Malaysian customs official holds a number of frozen pangolins which were discovered en route to Vietnam, near Kuala Lumpur. Customs officials in Vietnam have said they had seized about five tons of frozen pangolin meat, a protected species whose trade is illegal.(AFP/File)

–AFP

China: Poorly Made Products Invade Auto Parts

December 20, 2008

Child restraints that may come apart in an impact. Fuses that could catch fire when overloaded. Tires susceptible to tread separation.

Those are some of the dangers American consumers face as Chinese manufacturers increase the number of automotive parts they are sending to the United States, according to consumer and safety advocates. They parallel problems with some other products from China ranging from medicine to pet food to children’s toys.

The complexity of today’s cars creates many possibilities for problems with imported parts: tire valves that break and let air escape; replacement window glass that does not meet the standards for tempered glass; high-intensity discharge headlight conversions that don’t meet federal standards.

There are so many automotive products coming in from China that American safety officials can’t keep track of them, said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety.

By Christopher Jensen
Wheels
The New York Times

auto parts
Above: Flaws in auto parts produced in China are raising concerns among safety advocates. Above, a transmission parts producer in Nanchang. (Adrian Bradshaw/European Pressphoto Agency)

Mr. Ditlow has been researching recalls of Chinese auto parts in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s records. Those recalls are now posted on the safety center’s Web site.

Mr. Ditlow said his review convinces him that too many Chinese companies are unfamiliar with — or don’t care about — safety standards in the United States and thus don’t meet them.

For consumers, that means automotive equipment made in China is less likely to comply with safety standards than the same product made in the United States, Mr. Ditlow said.

“The companies in North America know that process,” he said.

Sean Kane is the director of Safety Research & Strategies, a consulting firm. He worried that consumers think there is more government oversight of automotive equipment coming from China than actually exists.

Dan Smith, associate administrator for enforcement at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, says one factor causing these problems is the speed at which China has industrialized.

“It is kind of like their Industrial Revolution happened in a quarter of the time ours did,” he said. “Therefore I think quality control measures need to be emphasized to the extreme in their products.”

Read the rest:
http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/19/rec
alls-of-chinese-auto-parts-are-a-mounting-concern/?hp

Dear President-elect Obama: America’s Healthcare Nightmare — 90% Failure Rate Sector

December 18, 2008

American healthcare has a secret few want to face; conditions “worse than Federal prison” in some cases.

American nursing homes and healthcare for the elderly dehumanizes, degrades, demeans and even harms the people that paid for middle-class and middle-aged Americans and their many luxuries.

After visiting a friend in a nursing home yesterday, my companion said, “That place is worse than Federal prison.” 

My friends are “retired convicts,” as one said.  He told me he’d rather be on death row than in the nursing home facility we visited yesterday.

Our friend in the nursing home wasn’t sure he was getting the proper medications, hadn’t had a bath or shower in weeks and a human waste bucket that had been next to his bed for days stood close to his cold breakfast.

And he’s one of the lucky ones.

More than 90 percent of  nursing homes were cited for violations of federal health and safety standards last year, and for-profit homes were more likely to have problems than other types of nursing homes, federal investigators say in a report issued last September.

The report last September by Daniel R. Levinson, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services said 17 percent of nursing homes had deficiencies that caused “actual harm or immediate jeopardy” to patients.

The veterans of  World War II, for example, the people Tom Brokaw called the  “Greatest Generation,” sometimes live out their last days of their lives in their own filth — and in facilities paid for mainly by your tax dollars and your insurance companies.


Tom Brokaw by David Shankbone

The poorer you are in America the more likely you are to become  neglected, unwashed and uncared-for as an older prerson put away in a nursing home.

You can bet Tom Brokaw won’t end up living in aged squalor.

We’ve visited hundreds of nursing homes over the past year.  Some good.  Some bad.  Some deplorable.

But our overarching impression is this: while you are making money and lots of it, America loves you.  After your energy and money runs out you’ll be treated like an African refugee from Darfur.

There is now a move to rate nursing homes nation-wide.  We support this effert.

The nursing home “industry” is opposed to ratings and angry.

The system “is poorly planned, prematurely implemented and hamhandedly rolled out,” said Larry Minnix, president and chief executive officer of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, an industry trade group.

If you’ve been in a below average nursing home lately, you’ll likely support the new rating system — any new rating system.

Related:
Nursing home industry worries about new ratings

***********************

90% Of Nursing Homes Cited For Poor Care, Violations; 17% Do Harm

By Robert Pear
The New York Times

More than 90 percent of nursing homes were cited for violations of federal health and safety standards last year, and for-profit homes were more likely to have problems than other types of nursing homes, federal investigators say in a report issued on Monday.
.
About 17 percent of nursing homes had deficiencies that caused “actual harm or immediate jeopardy” to patients, said the report, by Daniel R. Levinson, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Problems included infected bedsores, medication mix-ups, poor nutrition, and abuse and neglect of patients.

Inspectors received 37,150 complaints about conditions in nursing homes last year, and they substantiated 39 percent of them, the report said. About one-fifth of the complaints verified by federal and state authorities involved the abuse or neglect of patients.

About two-thirds of nursing homes are owned by for-profit companies, while 27 percent are owned by nonprofit organizations and 6 percent by government entities, the report said.

The inspector general said 94 percent of for-profit nursing homes were cited for deficiencies last year, compared with 88 percent of nonprofit homes and 91 percent of government homes.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/30/us/30nursing.html?_r=1&a
dxnnl=1&referer=sphere_related_content&partner=rss&emc=r
ss&adxnnlx=1229594626-bUq4AQL/mqsIcfbvqCGZwQ

Nursing home industry worries about new ratings

December 18, 2008

Rating systems help people decide which restaurants to go to or hotels to stay at. So why not something similar from the federal government for the nation’s 16,000 nursing homes?

Such a simple rating for so complex a task as caring for the elderly is leading to much anxiety in the nursing home industry. Home operators worry about the ramifications for their business if they get one or two stars — when five is the best.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was to let everyone know Thursday just how many stars each home is getting. Already the industry is questioning the validity of the rankings. To operators, the five-star system a great idea whose time has not yet come.

The system “is poorly planned, prematurely implemented and hamhandedly rolled out,” said Larry Minnix, president and chief executive officer of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, an industry trade group.

Federal officials say the rankings will put nursing homes “on the path to improvement” because they know family members will think twice before putting someone in a one-star home.

The ratings are based on state inspections, staffing levels and quality measures, such as the percentage of residents with pressure sores. The nursing homes will receive stars for each of those categories as well as for their overall quality.

By KEVIN FREKING, Associated Press Writer

Gareth O'Connor holds his friend's dog 'Spanky' ...
In many places, pet care is better than a nursing home.  Gareth O’Connor holds his friend’s dog ‘Spanky’ as he sits in his pet ambulance in Sydney. Australian duo Niccole George and Gareth O’Connor have established a 24-hour ambulance service just for pets, to help desperate animal owners unable to transport their sick animals to medical help.(AFP/File/Greg Wood)

Consumer groups like the concept, but they agreed there are some potential problems with the data. For example, the staffing data is self-reported just before state surveys and is widely recognized as unreliable.

“From a consumer viewpoint, it’s not stringent enough,” said Alice H. Hedt, executive director of the National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform. “It’s basically taking information already available on Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare Web site and pulling it into an easier system for consumers to use, and that is a good thing.”

Hedt said consumers should consider the star ratings, but not solely rely on them when comparing facilities. Her organization also issued a press release warning that nursing homes may appear in the ratings to give better care than they actually do.

“Our initial reaction is that consumers should probably avoid any facility with a one- or two-star rating and even a three-star rating unless people they trust convince them that the rating is inaccurate or unfair,” she said.

But, in Indiana, eight nonprofit nursing homes have reported they got one star for staffing even though they have some of the highest staffing levels in the states, said Jim Leich, president and chief executive officer of the Indiana Association of Homes for the Aging. He believes the one-star rating is the result of a records glitch particular to any nursing home that is part of a campus that includes housing for residents with less intensive care needs.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081218/ap_
on_go_ot/rating_nursing_homes

Shrink Wrapped: China’s Psychiatric Abuse, Especially For Political Naysayers

December 9, 2008

A Chinese newspaper report alleging authorities locked up people in mental hospitals for criticizing the state and filing complaints about corruption has focused rare attention on the usually taboo topic of psychiatric abuse in China.

An article appearing in the Beijing News on Monday has been widely reproduced by other media and prompted a highly critical editorial Tuesday in the English-language China Daily, a newspaper targeted at foreigners.

According to the Beijing News, Shandong provincial officials in the city of Xintai south of the capital committed people who were seeking to attract the attention of higher authorities to their complaints over local corruption or land seizures.

Some were forced to take psychiatric drugs and all were told they would not be released until they signed pledges to drop their complaints, the paper said.

A bird flies over the Forbidden City on a hazy day in Beijing, ...

A rare example of freedom in China: A bird flies over the Forbidden City in Beijing. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)

Those allegations could not immediately be verified independently, but local officials said they were investigating.

Read the rest from the Associated Press:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081209/ap_on_re_as/as_china_mental_hospitals