Knock on wood, I didn’t take any sick days last year and currently have two weeks of sick leave built up.
An estimated 41.7 million workers can not take sick days — that’s nearly a third of the nation’s employees and a problem that raises health risks on everyone.
… Most employees with full-time jobs get paid sick days, while only a fraction of part-time workers get them, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The estimates don’t include the millions of workers who are self-employed, for whom staying home can often mean being out of business for the day.
I started my job at The Oklahoman at the end of February last year, which meant I didn’t have health insurance for the month of March. Of course, that was the month I developed a sinus infection.
I called a clinic in Oklahoma City and was told I needed to first set up an appointment to prove that I live in Oklahoma City. The first opening for an appointment was in two weeks. I was told I wouldn’t see a doctor then. No, instead, I would wait another two weeks for a doctor’s appointment. So, after four weeks with a sinus infection, I would be able to get a doctor’s appointment. Awesome. Very practical.
I went a month without health insurance, and I’m complaining. I can’t imagine what it’s like to not only lack health insurance but also not have any sick days.
We all know someone who takes sick days like they’re going out of style. On the flip side, I know several people who won’t take sick days unless they’re truly immobile.
Does your job allow you sick days? And what’s your “sick day” personal policy? How sick do you have to be before you’re ready to call in sick?
I look forward to your commentary.
Looking for a job in health care? It might not be that easy to find one online. According to an infographic from CompHealth, health care jobs move fast and might be duplicated throughout several websites.
Thousands of people in Oklahoma work in a health care-related field. The Oklahoma Hospital Association reports that hospitals in Oklahoma employ 70,929 people. Oklahoma’s health care industry provided 198,636 jobs
in 2004, or 14 percent of the state’s total employment, according to this report.
Here’s the infographic:
There is an abundance of jobs all over the web, especially healthcare related opportunities. However, not all of the jobs on various job websites are unique. You might find a CompHealth job on dozens of different websites. How does that work? Take a look at the graphic below to see how one job can end up all over the internet.
On Sunday, 60 Minutes reported on allegations that Health Management Associates has pressured doctors and staff to beef up their efforts in admitting emergency room patients who didn’t necessarily need to be admitted.
Health Management Associates, or HMA, has relationships with seven hospitals in Oklahoma. The company manages five Integris rural hospitals and has relationships with Midwest Regional Medical Center and Medical Center of Southeastern Oklahoma as well.
I’m in the midst of working on a story for tomorrow’s paper about Oklahoma hospital reactions to the 60 Minutes report. Midwest Regional Medical Center sent me this statement earlier today, which is the general HMA statement. I’m waiting on the statement from Integris.
UPDATED at 3:56 p.m.: Integris sent its statement regarding the 60 Minutes story:
Earlier this year, INTEGRIS Health entered a joint venture agreement with Health Management Associates Inc. to operate five of our regional hospitals located in Blackwell, Clinton, Madill, Pryor and Seminole. The hospitals continue to carry the INTEGRIS name but are being managed by Health Management Associates, an organization specializing in management of smaller and mid-size hospitals across the country.
The concerns expressed in the 60 Minutes story pre-date our partnership, although we were made aware of the claims. HMA has been transparent with us and insists there is no basis for the allegations.
Our focus is always to provide the highest quality care to our patients. We hold our partners to the same high standards.
The relationship between HMA and Integris is a new one. In February, it was announced that HMA and Integris had completed a “definitive agreement to joint venture five Oklahoma hospitals.”
The transaction is subject to normal and customary regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed by March 1, 2012.
The Oklahoma hospitals to be joint ventured include: 53-bed Integris Blackwell Regional Hospital, located in Blackwell; 64-bed Integris Clinton Regional Hospital, located in Clinton; 25-bed Integris Marshall County Medical Center, located in Madill; 52-bed Integris Mayes County Medical Center, located in Pryor; and 32-bed Integris Seminole Medical Center, located in Seminole. Combined, these five hospitals total 226 licensed beds and generated approximately $95 million of revenue over the last twelve months. Under the joint venture, Health Management will own an 80% controlling interest in these five hospitals and will manage their operations.
HMA has had its relationship with the Midwest City hospital since 1996:
Midwest City’s City Council agrees to lease the hospital to Health Management Associates, Inc. for $40 million. The City leaders who still make up the Midwest City Memorial Hospital Authority use the interest from the $40 million to award grants to local organizations.
It will be interesting to see what comes out over the next few months as various reporters follow-up in their local communities about 60 Minutes reporting. As always, feel free to e-mail me or shoot me a tweet.
I don’t usually write about National _________ Day, but I’m making an exception. National Depression Screening Day is on Thursday (October 11).
Whenever I talk about depression with friends, family or acquaintances, it seems like some people think depression just means you’re sad all of the time. Depression is more than just feeling sad:
Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad. But these feelings are usually short-lived and pass within a couple of days. When you have depression, it interferes with daily life and causes pain for both you and those who care about you. Depression is a common but serious illness.
Liberal talk-show host Rachel Maddow was asked about her depression during an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Regardless of how you feel about Maddow, I think she describes depression in a way that other people who suffer from depression might be able to identify with:
“Ever since puberty, ever since I was 11 or 12, I’ve had cyclical depression. That’s something that has been a defining feature of my life as an adult. It’s manageable. But it’s real. And it doesn’t take away from my joy or my work or my energy, but coping with depression is something that is part of the everyday way that I live and have lived for as long as I can remember. … Depression for me, you can’t distract your way out of it. … When you are depressed, it’s like the rest of the world is the mother ship, and you’re out there on a little pod and your line gets cut and you don’t connect with anything. You sort of disappear. And so it’s not something you can talk-therapy out of. It’s really a chemical thing. You get adrenaline from work, but adrenaline is not a cure.”
Many people who suffer from depression never seek help. This can end tragically.
If you or someone you know suffers from depression, tomorrow would be a good reason to seek help. For people who have insurance, many providers will cover counseling. For people who do not have insurance or are under insured, there are options of places that will provide the services for free or base the price you’re charged on a sliding scale related to your income.
As news continues to spread about an outbreak of a rare form of meningitis, it’s important to note — Oklahoma has not seen any cases nor is the state Health Department investigating any cases of fungal meningitis associated with the outbreak.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 35 cases of the rare form of meningitis in six states, and at least five deaths, all associated with the outbreak.
A Massachusetts compounding pharmacy, the New England Compounding Center, is under federal investigation after three lots of a steroid used to treat back pain that the center shipped to 23 states were thought to be the cause of the outbreak.
States where the lots were shipped include: California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana , Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas and West Virginia.
The New England Compounding Center does have a license from the Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy. This means there could be products from the compounding center in Oklahoma. It’s not known whether products outside of the contaminated lot are also contaminated, for the federal investigation is ongoing.
In case you watched the first presidential debate tonight and found yourself saying, “I have a question!” — you have a chance to ask that question.
WebMD has teamed up with the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) to help gather questions for the upcoming debates. If you have a question for the candidates about health care, please submit it below. WebMD will compile the questions to share with the debate moderators.
If I were to submit a question, it would likely be about health care costs (which I might have already submitted…). This Washington Post graphic shows the difference in what residents in the U.S. pay for medical procedures versus in other countries.
What would you ask about? What did you want to hear more about tonight?
Let me know either here on the blog or via Twitter at @jaclyncosgrove.
Patient-led advocacy has created a shift in the way the U.S. government prioritizes money for medical research and has significantly changed the way policymakers think about who benefits the most from these dollars, according to the recently released study from the University of Michigan.
In “Disease Politics and Medical Research Funding: Three Ways Advocacy Shapes Policy,” researcher Rachel Kahn Best analyzed data on 53 diseases over a 19-year period from 1989 to 2007.
Best found that diseases tied to strong advocacy organizations received millions of dollars more in research funding over the period than others whose advocates were not as strong, according to a news release.
She also found an increasing number of these organizations, from about 400 large nonprofits working on disease advocacy in the early 1990s to more than 1,000 by 2003.
Two things from the study that stuck out to me:
“Increases in the number of nonprofits and lobbying expenditures are both significantly associated with increases in research funding, with each $1,000 spent on lobbying associated with a $25,000 increase in research funds the following year.”
Stigmatized diseases received less funding in the new political climate. I document this pattern by tracking funding for lung cancer and liver cancer. Both cancers have potentially stigmatized risk factors (smoking for lung cancer; hepatitis infection and alcohol consumption for liver cancer). Year after year, both diseases received smaller funding increases than would have been predicted based on mortality.
From time to time, I look on Google Trends to see what search terms are popular among Oklahomans, especially in the realm of health.
This one stood out to me today: Since school has started, “Adderall” has been a growing Google search trend among residents in Oklahoma.
As you can see, throughout the month of September, there’s been a rise in interest in searching Adderall.
It could just be a coincidence, but it is interesting to see the time periods that searching for Adderall increases.
Below, I’ve posted a chart that shows trends in searching “Adderall” over the past year. Around the time that various Oklahoma university have their finals weeks, you’ll see there was an increase — from Dec. 11 to Dec. 17, 2011, and from April 29 to May 5 of this year. Those are both right around finals week.
Adderall is a drug prescribed to people who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Some people abuse it, in an attempt to stay awake for long hours. According to this article, a good chunk of young adults are thought to abuse it:
Adderall is abused mostly by college students and young adults. Estimates are that somewhere between 20-30 percent of college students regularly abuse Adderall …
It’s important to note the side effects of Adderall abuse:
Side effects are numerous. Some are minor, some serious, and some very serious. Most users have no clue as to negative side effects and usually don’t care. Ignorance, we suppose, is bliss. The most important and most negative side-effect is the overdose. Overdose with Adderall is nasty. Results include Cardiac and/or pulmonary arrest, death, severe and lasting mental effects/defects. Which one happens to you is a matter of chance.
As an aside, Google Trends notes that “adderall side effects” is a related search term when someone is searching the term “Adderall.”
Growing up, eating dinner with my parents was a very normal thing. My parents were such good cooks that, frequently, my friends came over to have dinner with us.
Research published recently through the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University shows that my parents did me a favor by making these family dinners a routine part of life.
Researchers at CASA found that, compared to teens who have frequent family dinners, those who have infrequent family dinners are:
• Almost three times likelier to say, “it’s okay for teens my age to use marijuana;”
• Three and a half times likelier to say, “it’s okay for teens my age to get drunk;” and
• Twice as likely to say that they expect to try drugs (including marijuana and prescription drugs without a prescription to get high) in the future.
You can read more about the study by visiting this link.
Did you grow up having dinner with your parents? Let me know. I would be interested to learn about your experience.
The Affordable Care Act will be the topic of discussion next week during a panel at the University of Oklahoma. The discussion is titled “Preparing for Health Care Reform after the Supreme Court Decision.”
- Gary Raskob, OU College of Public Health dean
- Dr. Robert Roswell, Senior Associate Dean & Professor, OU College of Medicine
- Val Schott, Chief Executive Officer, Oklahoma Health Information Exchange Trust
The panel will start at noon Wednesday at the OU College of Public Health, 801 NE 13th St., in room 150.
I’m going to venture to guess you don’t have time to read hundreds of pages of policy, so I would recommend visiting FactCheck.org’s site and reading up on some of its articles about health care. To find out more about health care reform specific to Oklahoma, visit our health care coverage page.