Another shocker

Another day, another suicide of a famous person, Anthony Bourdain.  I just wrote about the terrible rise in the take your own life statistics which keep rising in our country, and have been for the past 20 years…and then, a day after Kate Spade…..another shocker.

He was one of my favorites. Oh, to be like him-to be able to travel so many places on our troubled globe, enjoy the finest, and just local sometimes unusual food and drink!

I admired his attitude in statements like “Your body is not a temple. It’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.”  Now it seems his wild ride ended much too soon.

Today, in the U.S. about 121 people will take their own lives. And every day to come the average death rate from his malady will continue.

Something is wrong with this picture. Mental health in our country seems to be eroding. Depression and anxiety continue to rise. Are you suffering from these maladies? Have you considered suicide? Get a pen and write this number down:  National Suicide Prevention Hotline   1-800-273-8255

And remember to think not only about yourself, but about the damage you are doing to all those you are leaving behind to endure the pain of your untimely demise.

Out of the blue and into the black, and once you’re gone you can’t come back. I wish today that Anthony Bourdain and 121 other souls would have called first before acting.

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It Never Goes Away

Many people were deeply moved by the recent suicide of Kate Spade. I was one of them. We lost a son to suicide. It devastated our family, and the sad part is the pain, although not as sharp as when it happens, is always there. It never goes away. Oh, you don’t speak of it on a daily basis, but when you hear about it happening today it creeps back into your conscience. Oh, what might have been if there wasn’t a permanent fix to what was a temporary problem. Our son was only 26. A real tragedy.

I saw today on TV that the suicide rate in the United States has gone up an astounding 25% since the late 90’s. That is shocking, unreasonable, and somebody in the mental health field should be looking for answers to this growing problem in our society.

Good lives wasted can never be brought back. Pain instilled through a loved ones ghastly action never ceases. Suicide in itself is horrible, but that it continues to last is worse.

 

 

 

Radiated, but Should I have Been?

Some 15 years ago I went through over 30 sessions of radiation therapy after being diagnosed with Prostate cancer. Although I was able to avoid surgery (lots of men did not) the treatment did have it’s deleterious affects as well as I suppose efficacy. I never had a recurrence although other problems did occur that are with me today.

The procedure was undertaken as a result of a bad PSA test. Today, the accuracy of this lab test is widely debated. It has been labeled as notoriously imprecise therefore making treatments for this malady in many cases totally unneccesary. Thanks a lot, that infomation is a little late for me.

Today, a new test called IsoPSA has been hailed by medical studies as much more on the diagnostic nose. thus reducing biopsies up to 45%.

The new test is being developed by Cleveland Diagnostic and it is a new way to measure the PSA-protein levels in the blood and determine whether they are Cancer related.

Prostate Cancer deaths average about 30,000 annually in the United States, however most males with the malady die with this condition isolated as this is a very slow moving Cancer and it takes many years for it to spread. FDA approval is still needed for the new exam. Currently, the latest guidelines from U.S. Preventative Services Task Force answer the question whether men should get screened with a resounding “maybe”, and recommend no testing by men over age 70. Where were you when I needed you?

 

Why You Should Vote NO on Single Payer health care. (Part 1)

Coming up for a vote in California this November is SB562, the so-called Healthy California health care bill. With so many terms thrown around and used interchangeably these days I thought I would start this presentation with a brief glossary of the terms being used to help you understand what is being proposed.

SINGLE PAYER- is a state run system to be paid for through more taxation, that presumably would cover all health care costs for residents regardless of income, occupation, or health status. This act would eliminate an individual’s option to buy or not buy coverage from private insurers. There would be no more Medicare, MediCal, Veteran’s health care, and on and on. We truly believe this is a bad idea, and the reasons way will be covered in the next part of our series.

UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE is a catchall phrase for a program that is run by the government but allows the option of getting coverage through a private insurance company.

UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE- Refers to providing every citizen through a national public insurance program, like Canada’s.

It is important to understand these terms as health care in our country is going through significant transition.

Please look for part 2 of the story on Thursday!

 

Every Breath You Take…

A Good RX analysis for Asthma inhalers shows prices have gone up 35% since 2013. One product, Advair has risen to nearly $500(!) during this short period of time. Had consumer costs risen with a 7% rate of inflation that inhaler would be priced at $299. These increases illustrate what is happening with prescription drug prices as a whole. Despite the fact insurance pays a portion, due to high deductible plans and other factors, more and more cash payment is coming out of our pockets. Something must be done to help us as it’s getting harder to breathe!

AMERICA’S HIDDEN EPIDEMIC

The statistics are scary- about 20% of Americans, over 48 million have some degree of hearing loss. Guest columnist Elaine Miller discusses her battle with this afflication.

Family: MOM!  ELAINE?

Elaine: What?

Family: Didn’t you hear us?

Elaine:….No.

This was becoming a common conversational occurrence in my home. My family was annoying the heck out of me with their constant quips about my hearing, or lack thereof. It irritated me to the point of frustration and I finally told them I would go to the doctors and have my hearing evaluated, basically so I could prove them wrong. Only problem, they weren’t wrong. It was determined that I truly do have a hearing loss, more in my left ear than my right. It was not genetic but was from excessive noise exposure. (Yeah for the concerts of my youth!), When the Audiologist gave me a pair of hearing aids to try she explained you have to retrain your brain to hear. Really? Hearing aids? Come on, I’m only 59! But, she was right! Newer hearing aids aren’t like the ones your grandparents used that were mostly amplifiers. These are amazing technologically advanced processors which are calibrated specifically for one’s hearing defects. They are bluetooth compatible with my phone, so I no longer need earbuds to listen to music or watch a video. The extra accessories available also allowed me to link them up with my TV. The shows then stream directly into my ears in surround sound! I can now also speak on the phone hands-free with my connect clip. Finally, I use rechargeable batteries as they are more convenient and cost effective. Regular batteries last for about three years and are pretty expensive. If these fail I just replace them after recharging. Easy!

I am now hearing things I didn’t even know I was missing. Like pebbles hitting the underside of my car while driving on the freeway, and the background sounds on TV shows and movies. I love the sizzle on the grill while barbecuing, and the birds chirping and singing which is such a thrill. But do you know what I don’t hear? ” Why are you shouting? ” or ” Didn’t you hear me? ” I am so grateful to have my hearing back and I will never go back to my ” old ears “.

(Note: Thanks to my daughter Elaine Miller for sharing her story!)

 

 

 

How to Understand the New Medicare Cards, and what to avoid!

First understand the new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier and how it is compiled, so that you will know it is a real card and not some scam.  And remember there is absolutely no cost for the replacement you will receive this year and the early part of 2019. So if someone calls and wants money for it….,my advice is hang up the phone as quickly as possible!

The new MBI is a combination of uppercase letters and numbers, so be aware of how it is constructed:

  • The MBI has 11 characters
  • Positions 2,5,8, and 9 will always be alphabetic
  • Example: 4A44A44AC33
  • All letters are UPPERCASE
  • To reduce confusion the MBI will never include the letters S,L,O,I,B, or Z which  can be read erroneously as numbers.

You want need to contact the carriers as there will be no impact to enrollment or claims processing.

Lou Reinitz    LJR Health Care Solutions