Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sorry for the's been a HARD week.

Sorry for all of my regular readers, I have been a bit absent lately. I've been involved in many different meetings, and than have had a bit of an emotional time at home.

On last thursday morning at 5am. One of my wife's friends from High School died from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She was diagnosed in 2006, underwent a bone marrow transplant, and subsequent treatment, but the disease prevailed. She was 38, and leaves behind 7 and 9 year old daughters, and a 16 year old son.

She would frequently stay with us when she came down to Mayo for treatments.

More here

We wanted to be at her funeral, but we JUST got back from Colorado Springs visiting my wife's brother who is now terminal with stage IV adenocarcinoma of the lung, he is on supplemental oxygen now, and is undergoing palliative chemo, but his time is likely measured in months.

Her father was there too, is 82, can barely walk, and needs help to even get out of a chair now, not to mention suffering from increasing dementia. He also has two AAA's that have doubled in size in the past year.

My poor wife is about to break. I can see it. I just wish I could do more for her. That's all from my corner.

Hug your loved ones.

I will post more in the coming weeks after the AAPA conference, and after my life settles down slightly.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Medicare Advantage Plan Cuts

10.4 million enrollees, 3,354 plans with an estimated expense, or cost of 12 billion more than treating those same 10.4 million patients with traditional Medicare. Defenders claim that these plans offer expanded benefits, that poorer retirees will not be able to otherwise get, as they cannot afford a supplemental Medicare plan.
The problem lies in the fact that these plans will generate about 157 billion in additional costs over the next decade. Obama has said that he wants a bidding process to cut the proposed expenditures for the Medicare Advantage plans. Baucus, Grassley, et al, would like some other way of solving this problem without cutting payments.

Ahh, the joys of congress. Sen Baucus and Grassley, need to realize, that the pie is only so large, and you cannot simply keep taking MORE out of it, without adjusting the size of the pie. It'll be an interesting debate.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Changes to blog...

As my career evolves, so does this little piece of my life. I have now enacted comment moderation. It was suggested to me when I started doing this, to be very provocative, and to post controversial ideas. I will try to continue to do so, but I will be certainly taming down some of my more inflammatory comments. I have been as guilty as anyone in the past. I have enacted the comment moderation, mainly in order to ensure, and hopefully maintain very civil, thoughtful discourse.

We have a range of problems in our healthcare community, we have needs that are many, and many that have not even been adequately defined yet. I want this blog to evolve into a place where PA's, NP's, and even MD's can come and discuss difficult, and sometimes thought provoking commentary on health reform and policy.

I am spending more and more of my time in this arena, and I have decided to post my name on this blog as well.

My career is continuing to rise, I was just asked to possibly accept an appointment with the Mayo Medical School giving some talks/presentations on Health Policy to the medical students.

I look forward to continuing to have more fruitful discussions of healthcare reform, policy, and healthcare economics. With the occasional patient story thrown in as well.

Best Regards,

Michael Halasy, MS, PA-C