The Business of Sickness

September 2013, Xtend-Life Expert

Summary

The US health care system wastes more money than the entire annual Pentagon budget yet deaths at USA hospitals caused by medical errors fill four jumbo jets a week. If medical errors were a disease, they would be the sixth leading cause of death in America. Roughly a quarter of all hospitalized patients will be harmed by a medical error of some kind.

Chronic disease just in the US is costing $84 billion in lost productivity, 'Health Care' is more like ‘Sick Care’, yet simple nutritional interventions like supplementation are recognised but ignored. Why? Perhaps because the Sickness Business = Big Business. As Dr Guylaine Lanctot says: "The bottom line is that the medical systems are controlled by financiers to serve financiers. Since you cannot serve people unless they get sick, the whole medical system is designed to make people sicker and sicker."

We go to hospital to get well, right?

We expect quality, caring, expert treatment, and trust that we will emerge 'better'.

Has that been your experience?

Or are you amongst the increasing number of people whose hospital experience leaves you more weak, stressed, malnourished and drug dependent than before....never mind financially strapped?

Sadly, the statistics suggest that this negative outcome is all too common. Have a look at these shocking facts:

Hospital Horrors

Did you know that deaths at USA hospitals caused by medical errors fill four jumbo jets a week...2000 people, and that:

  • If medical errors were a disease, they would be the sixth leading cause of death in America.
  • Roughly a quarter of all hospitalized patients will be harmed by a medical error of some kind.
  • U.S. surgeons operate on the wrong body part as often as 40 times a week.
  • Some 20% to 30% of all medications, tests and procedures are unnecessary.
  • Around 90% of patients leave hospital with a cocktail of drugs: the average American aged 19 to 64 now
  • takes nearly 12 prescription drugs. The average senior is on 28. If just one average prescription drug carries 70 side effects... do the math!
  • In the UK over 1,000 people have starved to death in NHS hospitals in the past four years. For every patient who dies from malnutrition, four more have dehydration mentioned on their death certificate.

Saved by Supplementation

Speaking of malnutrition, studies show how such malnutrition can be relatively easily and inexpensively addressed via nutritional supplementation.

One robust study of more than 1 million adult inpatients in the US over an 11 year period found that oral nutritional supplementation:

  • Reduced hospitalisation length by 21% (or 2.3 days)
  • Reduced patient hospitalisation cost (based on inflation-adjusted 2010 dollars) by 21.6% (or $4,734)
  • Reduced the probability of a 30 day readmission in certain patients

The study experts commented: "Patients identified as having nutritional deficiencies often face a longer and more difficult recovery process, resulting in higher health care costs and an increase in complication issues.....

... Research shows that oral nutritional supplementation can lead to highly positive economic benefits and improved patient outcomes. Because oral nutritional supplements are formulated to provide advanced nutrition for patients and are relatively inexpensive, the sizeable savings they generate make supplementation a cost effective therapy."

So why isn't such a simple 'remedy' being taken, especially given the potentially huge cost savings and improved patient health?

Before we try to answer that, let's put this cost factor into perspective.

Money Madness

Take a look at some more shocking facts about how the US health care system wastes more money than the entire annual Pentagon budget:

  • A review of U.S. healthcare expenses has revealed that 30 cents of every dollar spent on medical care is wasted, adding up to $750 billion annually
  • The six major areas of waste are: Unnecessary services; inefficient delivery of care; excess administrative costs; inflated prices; prevention failures; and fraud
  • "Upcoding" Medicare bills cost taxpayers about $1.1 billion annually. In 2001, the two highest codes were listed on about 25 % of the doctor-visit claims; in 2010, the two highest codes were on 40 % of claims
  • The pharmaceutical industry is the biggest defrauder of the US government. Most recently, GlaxoSmithKline plead guilty in the largest health fraud settlement in US history. The company was fined $3 billion to resolve criminal and civil liability charges related to illegal drug marketing and withholding information about health hazards associated with its diabetes drug Avandia
  • Many pharmaceutical companies are now being investigated for using questionable methods to boost sales
  • outside the US as well. In August 2012, Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, paid $60.2 million in fines to settle charges that the company had paid-off an assortment of government health officials in China, Russia, Italy, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, and Kazakhstan

Now What?

We see a situation where chronic disease just in the US is costing $84 billion in lost productivity, 'Health Care' is more like 'Sick Care', and simple nutritional interventions like supplementation is recognised but ignored.

Why?

Perhaps because the Sickness Business = Big Business.

As Dr Guylaine Lanctot says: "The bottom line is that the medical systems are controlled by financiers to serve financiers. Since you cannot serve people unless they get sick, the whole medical system is designed to make people sicker and sicker."

Please don't become a sick statistic. Take the best medicine: avoid the established health / sick care system by loving life and leading a healthy lifestyle

It is our mission to help in this regard.

Caramia Hartley

References

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