A lot has changed since 1949.
But one key part of the medical world has not. It shows just how outdated the system that runs the system truly is… and that money, of course, is feeding the roots of it all.
This is scary stuff.
You see, way back during the Truman administration, the folks in charge had an idea.
They’d track how folks died by using the international medical billing code system.
It seemed simple enough.
Die of a heart attack… get billed for a heart attack.
But there was a problem. If a cause of death didn’t have a distinct code, docs had a tough time accurately reporting it.
It’s created some issues over the years.
But it took until 2016 before anybody did any real research on one very big piece of the idea. And you should be glad they did. The numbers are scary.
Ooops… That One’s Free
You’ve probably heard about the study out of Johns Hopkins, but you may not know how it’s playing into the news these days.
You see, the folks there looked at massive amounts of hospitalization and death data. And they determined that one of the biggest killers in this world has gone almost completely unrecorded.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans are dying each year, and, because there’s no billing code for “medical error” (it’s one of the only things that’s still free in today’s medical world), their cause of death goes unreported.
It’s quite crazy.
The official statistics show that heart disease, cancer and respiratory illness are the leading killers.
But that’s not true.
Once we factor in “non-billable” medical error into the equation, there’s a new No. 3 killer.
It accounts for 1 in 10 deaths in the U.S. each year.
That seems like something that should be reported… you know, to show folks the truth about what’s happening.
But some folks disagree.
Yes, they think the problem should be fixed… but because, well, it would give them more money.
“Top-ranked causes of death as reported by the CDC inform our country’s research funding and public health priorities,” says Dr. Martin Makary, who was part of the research team. “Right now, cancer and heart disease get a ton of attention, but since medical errors don’t appear on the list, the problem doesn’t get the funding and attention it deserves.”
It’s more proof that money matters… a lot.
Money is the reason the problem exists. And if folks like Makary get their way, it will be the real reason the problem gets solved.
It takes us to a bit of a controversial topic these days… that dang ol’ bug that’s in the news.
Check the Right Box
There have been rumors – spurred by the political sphere – that hospitals have purposefully been noting COVID-19 as a cause of death for patients who may not have truly died from it.
Let’s use this as an example. Say a person who has suffered from heart disease for years and was on the brink of death was pushed over the edge after contracting the coronavirus.
The heart disease did most of the dirty work… but the virus finished the job.
Because of the way Congress has changed Medicare payouts during this mess, the hospital stands to make 20% more money if it notes COVID-19, not heart disease, as the killer…
That said, I can find no evidence (yet) of hospitals taking unfair advantage of these payouts.
Then again… we’re still debating the merits of similar incentives created during the Truman administration.
Sadly, it could be awhile – if ever – before we know whether today’s coronavirus numbers are skewed in favor of making more money.
History tells us the news will not be good.
Money corrupts a lot of things… even the world of medicine.
It’s one of the leading reasons I recently teamed up with Dr. Phil Roberts (a renowned expert in the realm of functional medicine) to tell the world about an anti-aging breakthrough that I’m certain a doctor who’s “in the system” would never tell you about.
There’s no money in it for them… and insurance won’t pay.
That’s a shame. But you need to hear about it… especially if you’re not feeling quite as young as you once did.