Weekly Reading

A HEARTWARMING TRADITION EVERYONE HOPES BECOMES COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY. VERY SOON. USA Today reports that emergency department staff who have treated victims of mass shootings in the United States are showing signs of support to other ED colleagues who are dealing with similar tragedies. After the Umpqua Community College shooting last week that killed nine and wounded many others, the staff at Lafayette (La.) General Medical Center sent 10 pizzas to emergency workers at Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg, Ore., who were treating the victims. Lafayette General staff know the pressure and emotional toll of working under such circumstances. They handled the victims of the movie theater shooting there in July that left three dead and nine injured. Lafayette General itself had received pizzas from the staff of Baylor, Scott and White Medical Center in Waco, Texas, where ED doctors and nurses treated victims of a May 17 mass shooting among members of rival motorcycle gang members. Unfortunately, looking at news reports this morning, the next school shooting has already occurred at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, leaving one dead and three wounded.

CURIOUS HOSPITAL CEO ASKS: WHAT’S ALL THIS STUFF COST? The New York Times writes that Vivian Lee, M.D., CEO of University of Utah Health Care, got chuckles when she wanted to understand about costs of something like a minute in an MRI or an hour in the operating room. So, she started a multiyear project to get a handle on actual costs. In doing so, the hospital now is looking at whether there are cost savings and care improvements to be had at the hospital. The endeavor may have resulted in a 0.5 percent annual cost decrease in the last few years. It’s also resulted in a fact-finding visit by Health & Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell in September.

WITH MEDICARE, AND AN EXTRA QUARTER OF A MILLION, RETIREMENT IS EASY STREET. According to Fidelity’s 2015 Health Care Cost Estimate, you should have $245,000 socked away for retirement medicine. That’s how much the investment company estimates a married couple at age 65 will spend, in addition to Medicare, in their retirement. About one-third of that would go to anticipated Medicare Part B and Part D premiums, 25 percent to out-of-pocket prescription drugs and the rest to deductibles, co-pays and other items Medicare does not cover.

WITH CALIFORNIA OFFERING HEALTH CARE TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, LA TIMES ASKS, WILL NATION FOLLOW?The number of California counties funding health care for those in the country illegally is growing rapidly, and the 2016 state budget includes funds for health care for immigrant children. The Los Angeles Times reports that these recent moves set California apart from the rest of the country, but it could be at the forefront of a national movement. However, California’s actions aren’t necessarily evidence of a growing trend among other states just yet, the report states. Stay tuned.