Saturday, February 17, 2007


Welcome to Healthcare Matters.

Yes its a play on words. Healthcare consumes a great portion of our GNP so that matters. How you are treated by doctors, nurses, dentists, therapists, other practitioners of the medical arts, hospitals and other medical providers matters. What the drug companies create and medical device manufacturers sells matters. How the government - state and federal - pays for healthcare matters. How the insurance companies create those managed care products matter. How your patient information is stored, read, managed and remains confidential - matters, really matters.

Its a complex maze of great opportunity for health and wellness. And at the same time, a world where billions and billions and billions of dollars are at stake. In the end it that matters to you, me, our families, the uninsured, taxes and all the rest. We pay, are going to pay more and when it comes right down to it - we have very little say.

I have been in healthcare for nearly 20 years now- hospitals, health systems, GPO, managed care, long term care, medical device manufacturers. Seen a lot, done a lot, yes marketed and communicated a lot. Yep, inside scoop here, how it really works, what the CEOs really mean when they're talking.

In the coming weeks and months we will explore topics of interests, maybe break a few stories, explore some misconceptions.

Interviews with healthcare leaders, profiles and trends can be expected.

The good , the bad, the ugly - what works and doesn't work in healthcare advertising.

Evey wonder why hospitals tout their patient satisfaction scores in the high 90th percentile for satisfaction, yet you leave the medical encounter wondering what just happened and why you don't feel better about it?

Think doctors believe what you tell them? Think again.

Think we are going to have national health insurance? Not till two important questions are answered and the politicians aren't even taking about those.

Think certificate of need laws reduce healthcare sending and control the delivery of services? You'd be surprised at that answer.

Add your comments, thoughts and ideas. Suggest topics for us to explore. Have a hot tip, send it along, verification is necessary as a reminder.

Thanks for reading, we'll keep it light at times, serious at others, but most of all informative and maybe, just maybe, a bit tongue in check when the time is right.

Watch this space!


Dave Sharpy said...

Nice opening blog. My question: Can you tell me why the federal and state governments lump HCV in with AIDS when it comes to education, prevention, treatment and (most important of all) funding? This is not an IV drug problem nor does this ailment get the ttention it deserves.

Michael said...

Good question Dave and thanks for asking.

This one will take some time and research which I have started.

I have contacted the National Institue of Health(NIH) and posed the question. It should be interetsing to see how and when they respond. From looking at the NIH web site, there was no readily available rational.

Michael said...

Heard back from NIH, the question falls under the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), as they conduct research in the areas of AIDS and HCV. I have already contacted them.

Their website is

As soon as I have more information, I will pass along.

Michael said...


I have forwared you the email, that I received from NIAID. For the benefit of the healthcare Matters Blog readers, here is the nfmcastion cintained in the body of the email:

"This is in response to your inquiry dated February 20, 2007, to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH), regarding hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS).

According to the FY 2008 NIH Congressional budget justification, the NIAID maintains its commitment to the study of AIDS-associated opportunistic infections and co-infections, such as hepatitis B virus (HBV) and HCV. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has prolonged survival and reduced the incidence of opportunistic infections and co-infections in HIV-infected individuals; however, complications and side-effects associated with HAART have become an increasing concern for the medical management of HIV-infected individuals. In particular, individuals co-infected with HIV and hepatitis are experiencing therapy-related liver complications now being addressed by the scientific research community.

Specific examples of NIAID-supported HCV research are mentioned on pp. 102-103 of the FY2008 NIH budget justification documents:

HCV research at NIAID is further described in the portion of the NIAID Profile Fiscal Year 2005 posted at

Major research on liver diseases, including viral hepatitis, is also supported by the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). The table at presents a breakdown of NIH research funding for various diseases. AIDS research accounts for 54% of the total research conducted by NIAID for HCV. If you have additional questions about NIH research funding, you may contact the NIH Office of Budget at the following mailing address, telephone number, and email and Web site addresses:

NIH Office of Budget / Office of the Director
9000 Rockville Pike, MSC 0148
Bethesda, MD 20892
Telephone: 301-496-4477
Web site:

We hope this information will be helpful to you.

Correspondence Specialist
Legislative Affairs and Correspondence Management Branch
Office of Communications and Government Relations
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases