Re: virus: RE: Medicine and Self-Objects

James Veverka (
Sun, 30 May 1999 22:39:00 -0400 (EDT)

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HMOs are more interested in the bottom line and placating clients. They have gotten into so much trouble for having administators making the medical decisions. Trouble that has prompted states like CA to prohibit non-medical officers of an HMO from making any decisions regarding tests and treatments. Trouble from negligence and death and lawsuits. Trouble caused by witholding examination and treatment by recommended specialists because of the bottom line.

HMOs are similar to the bureaucratic monster that socialized medicine would have become. Second rate medical care. One gets there by destroying competition, creativity, innovation, and incentive; the other gets there by diluting the Hippocratic Oath. Both bureaucracies suck up the money and provide a diiminished level of care. Is it any wonder that a charlatan could become a care-giver in this sort of system?

Yes, let us test 'em all. As a matter of fact the "herbal remedy" industry IS beginning tests because of pressures from medical and government sectors. We all know about Willow tree bark and Periwinkle. Will St John's Wort, Kava kava, and Glucosamine follow that trajectory? Hopefully. Then they would no longer be "alternative" because they become "mainstream" after being repeatedly tortured by the scientific method. ..............jim

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Subject: Re: virus: RE: Medicine and Self-Objects Date: Sun, 30 May 1999 21:31:42 -0400
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>Do you really think the corporate bean-counters at an HMO' would allow the
>use of alternative practices--on their nickel--if it didn't provide the
>similar results at lower costs for them?

Yes, in a word. Right now, it ain't about making patients better _in fact_, it's about making them _feel_ better, and right now, it's also about keeping customers.

When someone stays on a useless regimen that makes them feel good, but is ancillary (at best, and most 'alternative' treatments are _adjunctive_ to scientific medical treatment, in fact, in the case of homeopathy, no different than placebo at all levels), and the HMO is getting extra patient co-payments on a continuing basis, then yes, it is in their interests to keep the customer and _not make them any better_, but keep them by making them _feel better_ and _feel better treated_.

And that, in a nutshell, is the one thing, and the only thing, that works in 'alternative' medicine.

But I have no objection, in fact I encourage, any and all clinical and chemical trials of 'folk' and 'traditional' and 'home' and 'old-wive's' cures and medicines and such. There _is_ wisdom there.

>So how would you respond to the HMO's doing clinical trials to see if some
>"alternative" treatments can provide the same results to patents at lower
>costs to them?

As long as it ain't on my dime, I have no objection. So far, the HMO I belong to, does not do clinical trials of such treatments, although they are aligned with a separate clinic that does acupuncture and such. I did expressly ask whether or not any of my standard fees were going into supporting such a clinic, and I am confident they are not. I am still disturbed by the actual referral to such charlatans, however, and I said as much.