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Fixin' Healthcare

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Lifestyle Chronicles - Heart And Soul

Should we be surprised by the news that angioplasties are performed at four times the national rate in Elyria, Ohio? Not really. Researchers at Dartmouth have reported for some time now the variation between different parts of the country for procedure rates.

That it is Elyria and angioplasties are specifics in a data base that describes our health care system very well. All anyone has to know about this particular situation is that the North Ohio Heart Center employs 31 cardiologists.

Don't be surprised that someone does what they are trained to do, particularly when it is lucrative. When you are a hammer, the whole world is a nail.

The health care system has been analyzed from here to there and back. The problems are well known but the responses are sporatic adjustments that are politically expedient. Thirty-one cardiologists clustered together will result in the care for a lot of hearts or a lot of care for as many hearts as might be available and paid for. Saturation bombing will do no good. They will disperse and move to other clusters or form new ones.

Will we ever learn that health care is about health and there is a better route to health than sickness? Maybe in the next life. Or, when sickness and war have collapsed the economy and we can no longer afford our excesses.

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