Hear it, believe it, repeat it. That’s how information, whether true based on facts, knowingly false or misleading is shared. There are myths, sometimes referred to as urban legends or old wives’ tales, which are a widely held but false beliefs. These myths are often passed from generation to generation and are assumed to be true because it came from a trusted source, like a parent, grandparent, teacher, or friend. Some common myths are that houseflies only live for 24 hours and bulls become angry when they see the color red. Or the misbelief that swallowed chewing gum stays in your stomach for five to seven years. And of course, there is the myth that if you go outside with wet hair you will catch a cold!
Let’s do a bit of medical myth busting – completely unrelated to COVID-19, vaccines and other fiercely debated topics on social media!
You likely have heard that medical doctors take the Hippocratic Oath upon graduation from medical school – this indeed is not a myth! The Hippocratic Oath (Oath), a pledge to a set of ethics, is named after Hippocrates, the 5th-century Greek physician often credited with its writing. The Oath has evolved over the years to incorporate modern principles, such as to not use medical science to violate human rights and avoid over treatment. And there is no one single Hippocratic Oath used today in the US. In fact, medical school graduates are increasingly modifying a version of the Oath to incorporate contemporary challenges such as disinformation, and racial justice.
Now on to the big myth – you may wish to “buckle in for this one!” Contrary to popular belief, the original version of the Hippocratic Oath did not contain the phrase “First do no harm.” Many scholars believe that the phrase originated from another of Hippocrates writings where he wrote “The physician must…have two special objects in view with regard to disease, namely, to do good or to do no harm.” Yes, the phrase ‘first do no harm’ makes for a good book or TV series title, heading in a slide presentation, or quip over coffee even though it does not come from the original Hippocratic Oath!
Should the words ‘First Do no Harm’ be included in the version of the Hippocratic Oath taken by all medical school graduates? Certainly that can be debated. What is not debatable are the changes in the structure of physician practices – fewer solo and small practices (of fewer than five physicians). The once independent primary care physician practices are increasingly owned by a hospital or health system, More recently, private equity firms are purchasing specialty physician practices, nursing homes and hospitals. Could this mean a focus on profits over patients? Time will tell!
This Weekend Reading series begins with Money Talk, with articles on current healthcare news, including President Biden’s latest actions to address healthcare costs. Next check out Paying the Tab with a look at emergency room, administration, and Medicare Advantage plan costs. In Bottom Line, explore articles on the impact of healthcare consolidation. Last but not least, do not miss Priceless — and my personal favorite,
Bear 747 Overcomes Scandal to Win Fat Bear Week!
I hope you enjoy the following:
1. Money Talk
- Biden administration finalizes rule to get rid of ACA’s ‘family glitch’ (Fierce Healthcare)
- Biden to sign executive order aimed at lowering drug costs (Axios)
- FACT SHEET: President Biden Takes Action to Lower Health Care and Prescription Drug Costs for Americans (The White House)
- Employers face tricky benefits year amid inflation, tight labor market (Axios)
- CVS Cuts Prices of Menstrual Products, Covers Sales Tax in Some States (WebMed)
2. Paying the Tab
- ‘The Cash Monster Was Insatiable’: How Insurers Exploited Medicare for Billions. By next year, half of Medicare beneficiaries will have a private Medicare Advantage plan. Most large insurers in the program have been accused in court of fraud. (The New York Times)
- Lawsuit by KHN Prompts Government to Release Medicare Advantage Audits (Kaiser Health News)
- Wasteful administrative costs tied to high US health spending (Healthcare Dive)
- Baby, That Bill Is High: Private Equity ‘Gambit’ Squeezes Excessive ER Charges From Routine Births (Kaiser Health News)
3. Bottom Line
- As Giant Hospitals Get Bigger, An Independent Doctor Feels the Pinch (Kaiser Health News)
- As Hospitals Close Children’s Units, Where Does That Leave Lachlan? Adult beds are more lucrative than children’s beds. So as institutions look to boost profit margins, pediatrics is often among the first services to be cut. (The New York Times)
- The future for practicing physicians in a corporate world – Opinion (STAT News)
- Bear 747 Overcomes Scandal to Win Fat Bear Week It’s the second title in three years for the 1,400-pound behemoth dubbed “Bear Force One” (Smithsonian Magazine)
- Grandmother and grandson visit 62 national parks on adventure of a lifetime. Joy Ryan, 92, had never seen a mountain. So her grandson decided to take her to every site that has ‘national park’ in its name. (The Washington Post)
- Two Kids. One Pony. Hundreds of Miles to Montreal’s Expo 67. Two brothers from the Boston suburbs set out on an improbable journey to Montreal’s Expo 67 by hoof (New York Times)
- Me, My Mom, and Wordle (The Atlantic)
Enjoy the weekend!
Suzanne Daniels, Ph.D.
P.O. Box 1416
Birmingham, MI 48012
Office: (248) 792-2187
Email: [email protected]