nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Wellness Exams For Seniors Not Welcomed

Very few want what they're offering.

I was reading an article in NPR's Shots health blog (Jan2) about the Wellness exam that's been offered to new Medicare recipients since 2005, and the beefed up version under Obamacare.  The new Exam v2.0 gives guidance on what should be included, pays doctors more, and is now free (co-pay of 20% under v1.0).  But not many cotton to it.
Fewer than 10 percent of seniors took advantage of the "Welcome to Medicare" physical exam paid for by Medicare, according to the government.  So what does that mean for how seniors will use the new, more comprehensive preventive health exam benefits that kick in by 2011?  “I don’t think people will be running to do this,” said Judith Stein, executive director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy. While she applauds the new benefit, she said seniors may not see the value without a strong recommendation from their doctor.
Prevention is a perennial problem.  Just getting patients to follow up on an illness is hard to do.  There's something in us that wants to "let sleeping dogs lie."  We don't see the benefit.  Maybe it's part of our "Live in the Moment" culture, or a fear of finding out something unpleasant or harmful, or distrust of the results.   Likely all of the above.  And, in a word, "human nature."  I doubt the law will change that.

The article goes on to talk about incentives to get people to do wellness exams, and encouraging doctors to push them.  All very well-intentioned.

But as I read, a Creepiness Factor emerged.  When do I reach the point where I get to live my life untrammeled by an endless parade of experts and government functionaries?  I'm already told what I can and can't say, what I should and shouldn't eat, who I can and can't associate with, where I can and can't go, what I have to buy and what I can't buy.

This must be what it feels like to be one of the cows in a well-managed herd.


Doc D

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