SAVE On Health Care

None of us can say without a doubt that we will never visit a doctor. This blog offers insights for everyone with and without health insurance.MH900047805

If you are an out of pocket patient, please ask up front for the ‘cash pay rate’ then negotiate terms. Ask about partial payment, schedule, or a discount for all up front. Be sure to get a receipt that says paid in full, so no add-ons are mentioned later. It is smart to have an idea of the cost of medical condition treatments, so go to these 2 websites: and Compare rates and procedures dependent on your location, from MRI to vasectomies.

BE aware that having a procedure/test in a hospital can cost 10-20 times more than at specialized facility out patient center. Many facilities are associated with hospitals but are off-site. Routine tests such as imaging studies, diagnostic procedures such as colonoscopy, gastroscopy can be done safely and efficiently at these facilities. Non-hospital facilities are audited and accredited by the Joint Commission. Ask and check if the facility meets standards for:

  • Ambulatory Health Care
  • Surgery Centers
  • Office-Based Surgery
  • Imaging Centers
  • Sleep Centers
  • Urgent Care Centers

The ordering physicians may have a preference, others will leave it up to you but your insurance has it’s preferences, so ask.

Filling a prescription? – When taking a generic drug, paying cash is more often than not less expensive than the co-pay of your prescription insurance plan. It is well worth checking the list for $4.00 medication on Target, Wal-Mart, Costco websites. Sadly if you are on Medicare you do not have this option. Comparison-shopping can save!

We welcome sharing your experiences from medical encounters.


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Never Bleed to Death

Credit: American Chemical Society

Credit: American Chemical Society

A new take on stopping someone from bleeding to death is almost here!

Wither traumatic injuries, serious car accidents, street violence, or field combat, large volume of blood loss causes death. In reality it is the leading cause of death in individuals under age 45 in the US.

A recent field test may significantly change how treatment transpires.

By using a biopolymer derived from the shells of shrimp, scientists have developed foam that once sprayed on open wounds becomes solid stopping bleeding. Successful testing on pigs was reported recently (5/29/15) in the Journal ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering. On pigs a 90% decrease in blood loss was noted and pressure application was not needed.

Chitosan the biopolymer is already being used in 2 types of non–foam wound dressings approved by the FDA.


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Appendicitis: Antibiotics vs. Surgery



An increasing amount of evidence supports the use of antibiotics (Abx.) instead of surgical removal for treating patients with uncomplicated acute appendicitis.

From Finland comes research showing that uncomplicated acute appendicitis confirmed by computed tomography (CT) can be treated without going under the knife (scalpel)!

The uncomplicated appendicitis patients were divided into 2 groups: those given Abx. vs. those that underwent surgery. Abx was initially intravenous – Invan® (ertapenem)(1 g/d) for 3 days – followed by 7 days of oral – levofloxacin-Levoquin ® (500 mg once daily) and metronidazole -Flagyl® (500 mg 3 times per day).

The primary endpoint for antibiotic-treated patients was discharge from the hospital without the need for surgery and no recurrent appendicitis during a 1-year follow-up period.

Prompt the surgeon if antibiotics could save you the scalpel!

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Must Wear!

This isn’t a blog on ‘tech wearables’ the likes of ‘Fitbit®’ but about life saving wear. Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 12.08.49 PMI hope that you have pertinent medical information on your Smartphone either in an app or in the form of your I. C. E. contact. Many individuals should have more obvious displayed alerts. When time is critical and you are unable to speak,  your medical ID(s) can speak volumes to the healthcare providers.

There are all types of jewelry, many of us choose as identifying piece(s). I suggest that there is one vital piece that you’ll want to wear if you have any type of medical issue(s).

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Reasonable priced (starting $19.99) an engraved band, charm, dog tag, necklace or bracelet can ID a medical condition(s), medication(s) and allergies.

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Breast Cancer- First Blood Test?

Breast abnormalities can be benign (non-cancerous not life threatening), cancerous, or even precancerous. Each diagnostic test finds different information  example mammogram, MRI, ultrasound each offers its  view.

FACTS:Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 10.36.08 AM

-70-90% of the 1.7 million breast biopsies done each year are benign (not cancer)

– Screening mammograms miss approx. 20% of all breast cancer (esp. those in young women or those with dense breasts)

– More than 50% of women who get annual mammograms will have a false positive result after 10 years of screening

A new blood test is claiming to be able to differentiate benign breast disease from breast cancer. The results are either in terms of a ‘low protein signature’ or a ‘high protein signature’ being found in the blood. Biochemical clues – ‘biomarkers’ – have been found in the blood of breast cancer patients hence it may be linked to those individuals developing breast cancer. Now a simple blood test –Klarifyi ®Breast  to help guide the diagnosis and care of breast cancer.

Important: This test is recommended in conjunction with imaging tests.

If your recent mammogram showed a ‘suspicious’ or the finding are questionable perhaps your medical care provider will suggest a quick blood test (results within a week).



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Obese Mother Means Obese Child?

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Doomed From Birth?

Mothers in utero may be ‘programming’ fetal stem cells to accumulate extra fat according to a recent study taking umbilical cord stem cells from of normal weight babies of obese mothers & non-obese mothers. In the lab, cells from the baby with obese mothers grew and had more fat accumulation which can effect insulin resistance in the future.

It has been known for over a decade that women who have or become Diabetic during pregnancy pass on that potential  and other metabolic problems. Now it is would appear that obesity can also be passed on!

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Text for CPR

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 9.16.06 AMTexting can now help save lives! Sweden did a citywide study (published June 11, 2015 in New England Journal of Medicine) with volunteers (6,000 mobile users) responding via text for needed CPR (less 1/3 mile -500 meters away). Trained individuals made a difference in survival rate but not statistically significant due to the  size of the study. It was noted by the same researchers (in another study) that ‘odds of survival to 30 days were 2.5-fold better’ with any CPR was preformed before paramedic arrived.

When a resident dials 112 (the equivalent of 911 in the US), a text message is sent to all CPR volunteers  within less 1/3 mile of the person that is needing emergency care.

The Swedish EMS system is very organized and cell phones are already tracking movements – why not a use to help versus target ads or surveil.

There is already two Apps – ‘GoodSAM Responder’ & ‘GoodSAM Alerter’  for people to register to respond to cardiac arrests that empowers trained laypersons. Don’t miss out, you might need CPR someday!

Cynics out there note: no financial compensation and no major adverse events occurred

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Ebola Diagnosed Under 20 Minutes

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Ebola Virus under microscopic

Now a rapid accurate test to diagnose IF Ebola virus (antigen) is in present.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded development of the ReEBOV® (Corgenix Medical) test. A drop of blood from a fingerstick, through a spring-loaded mechanism (prevents accidental exposure to blood) tests for Ebola virus. Think home pregnancy test – ReEBOV test works similarly: apply to a treated strip, and if the sample is positive for Ebola, a colored line appears on the strip

On the spot, points of contact easy quick test to find control this deadly disease.

Published in ‘The Lancet‘ by scientists at Harvard Medical School (HMS), Partners In Health with Boston Children’s Hospital, and now commercially available this rapid test was as accurate as the standard lab test used during the recent outbreak in Sierra Leone.

This test is the first ‘rapid diagnostic’ test for Ebola to get emergency use from both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the FDA.

NOTE: OraSure™ makers of rapid home HIV ($40 retail) & Hepatitis C tests was produced OraQuick Ebola Rapid Antigen Test®, the first test development to receive US DHS funding under Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).



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Sleep & PTSD

th-2A study in health volunteers showed if you are sleep deprived you have a hard time ridding your mind of unpleasant memories. Fear, trauma recall is not extinguished. Previous studies on rodents had supported this theory. I could not have volunteered for this study! ‘Subjects’ were given low-level electric shock on their wrists -first they were trained to associate a blue circle with electric shock (on wrist) yellow no shock, then made to stay awake 36 hours, the next day they had electromyographic patterns in the eyelid (blink EMG) that are known to signal fear.

This was funded by US DOD where soldiers often do not sleep for over 24 hours.

Yes trauma to mind can lead to sleeplessness but sleep deprivation can lengthen fearful recall.

Source Reference: Straus L, et al “The effect of 36 hours of total sleep deprivation on extinction learning and recall” SLEEP 2015; Abstract 319

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MH900001143Irritable bowel syndrome versus Inflammatory bowel disease is not an easy diagnosis for doctors. Often time it becomes an ‘educated guess’. A submit this blog excited that a blood test may help all involved reach the correct diagnosis.

IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that patients must undergo tests for other conditions that match the symptomatology. In the case of IBD, that typically means repeated colonoscopies.

A blood test that would quickly rule out IBD would be a significant benefit to cost, inconvenience, and discomfort associated with colonoscopies. A Proposed test has a  predicitve value over 95% however can not detect IBS from celiac disease.

Just a bit of news from the biotech front! Prompt your healthcare practicer.



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