January 27, 2007
Microwaves and Your Health
After years of hearing fears that the typical microwave oven may be harming my health, I was glad to learn how microwaves could help protect my family.
A new study shows zapping sponges and plastic scrubbing pads in the microwave can kill bacteria, such as E. coli, that can cause illness.

”People often put their sponges and scrubbers in the dishwasher, but if they really want to decontaminate them and not just clean them, they should use the microwave."

The results showed that two minutes in the microwave at full power killed or inactivated more than 99% of all the living germs and the bacterial spores in the sponges and pads, including E. coli.

After an additional two minutes -- a total of four -- none of the bacterial spores survived.

Before you zap your sponges in the microwave, researchers offer the following advice:

Microwave only sponges or plastic scrubbers that do not contain steel or other metals.

Make sure the sponge or scrubber is wet, not dry.

Two minutes should be enough to kill most disease-causing germs.

Be careful in removing the sponge from the microwave because it will be hot and should not be handled immediately after zapping.

Bitton recommends that people microwave their sponges according to how often they cook, with every other day being a good rule of thumb.

Of course, after Lady Quixote reads the first link, my family may only be using the microwave for hygienic purposes…

January 23, 2007
The Future of Medicine – Hopefully
Hats off to Dr. Robert Berry who is almost single-handedly trying to revolutionize the practice of medicine in the United States. For instance, he refuses to accept any payment from insurance companies. He does this out of principle, as anyone who accepts money from a third party works for the third party (and as a business professional I 100% agree with this, if you accept payment from someone, you ethically have fiduciary obligations to the payer).

Dr. Berry only accepts payment from his patients, so he works just for the patient. His PATMOS (Payment At TiMe Of Service) may sound unrealistic in today’s insurance-heavy culture, but in just six years his clinic now has a roster of over 7,000 patients. He likes to point out that his typical bill to a patient is similar to what a person would pay for a lube job or brake job on a car. Berry’s bills are about one-third to one-half of what patients would pay at a standard practice where insurance pays (and thus hides from the consumer) the direct cost of medical practice.

Dr. Berry stated that his income for the last two years was equivalent to the average practicing doctor, despite spending 20% less time on patients than the national average (Dr. Berry spent this time advocating the benefits of a pay as you go clinic). His operation is more profitable than most because his employees do not need to spend vast amounts of time handling insurance paperwork. In his own words, The clinic requires three fewer employees and costs two-thirds less (or about $200,000) to operate than similar clinics that take insurance. Our fees are little more than the $32 that Governor Bredesen’s consulting group, McKinsey & Co., recommended able-bodied TennCare recipients contribute as a co-pay for office visits.

I wish and hope more physicians would follow in Dr. Berry’s footsteps. I also want readers to note that this market solution, while far more efficient, does not preclude insurance. In fact, if many clinics followed Dr. Berry’s leadership, I would advocate two things. One) People should give these clinics a try and see for themselves if they can receive great care for less money. Two) People should buy low-cost catastrophic insurance with very high deductibles. This would protect people from low probability events that could be devastating (such as a coma), but would not be used for common low-cost events (such as a normal checkup or a cold). I would also advocate that the insurance would only pay the patient. The patient would then pay the doctor, so he or she would be directly involved in deciding how his money was spent.

I encourage you to hear Dr. Berry speak. Scribe Media has a video of Berry speaking (jump to exactly 5:00 to hear Dr. Berry).

Don Quixote | | Windmill Tilts: 1 | TrackBack: 0
Category: Domestic Politics , Category: Economics , Category: Education , Category: General , Category: Quests for Change