PRIMARY GRATUITOUS STAR WARS REFERENCE Luke Skywalker, AKA actor Mark Hamill, joined Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles employees dressed up as Darth Vader, Storm Troopers, R2D2 and other Star Wars characters to visit with the patients at the hospital this week. In case you’ve been pouring over ICD-10 codes or patient survey scores and missed it, The Force Awakens, the seventh episode in the five-decade old series premiered this week. And, north of the border, Canada’s new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau invited a group of 20 children from Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario to a private screening of the new flick. According to CBC News, Trudeau is an “admitted Star Wars geek.” Most impressive, Prime Minister.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT US News & World Report looks at hospitals that are fighting food insecurity in the community, and how the Affordable Care Act and a new IRS rule may lead to even more hunger-fighting programs, particularly for children. Doctors at Boston Medical Center, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, in Little Rock, and ProMedica, the Toledo, Ohio-based health system, among others, write prescriptions for parents to visit hospital-based food pantries. The article notes that the ACA’s focus on preventive care and population health may be a catalyst for more health systems to focus on food and hunger issues. An IRS rule that clarified the kinds of actions nonprofit hospitals may take to improve community health to help preserve their tax status includes “access to adequate nutrition,” which presumably would include a healthy dose of rootleaf stew, if it actually existed.
IT’S A DOCTOR-PATIENT RELATIONSHIP, NOT A DOCTOR-PATIENT’S MOM RELATIONSHIP A new study by the University of Michigan suggests that parents need to stop hovering, or as Yoda would put it, “train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.” United Press International reports. Well, specifically, the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health showed that 89 percent of parents attend their teens’ doctor visits and two-thirds of patents fill out their health history and other forms, in a survey of 1,517 parents with teenage children. And only one-third of those parents said their children spoke to their doctors privately without a parent in the room. The survey’s associate director, Sarah Clark, says that this kind of helicopter parenting might mean teens are “missing out on valuable opportunities to learn how to take ownership of their own health.” Either that or doctors are missing out on moments of excruciating silence with sullen teenagers who won’t take ownership of their own dirty dishes, let alone their own health. Just saying.
HEALTH CARE’S BAD BOY OF 2015 ARRESTED OK, it had nothing to do with Martin Shkreli’s Darth Vader-esque hike in the price of the drug Daraprim, but the CEO and founder of Turing Pharmaceuticals was arrested Dec. 17 on charges of securities fraud, the New York Times reported. The federal indictment related to his time running biopharmaceutical firm Retrophin and as a hedge fund manager with MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare. Shkreli is the 32-year-old pharmaceutical CEO who in September had Turing Pharmaceutical acquire the rights to Daraprim, the long existing toxoplasmosis drug, and hike the price from $13.50 a pill to $750 a pill. The move set off Congressional investigations of drug pricing.