Hospitals Should Not be Allowed to Advertise

Recently, I received two ads for two different hospitals, and of course their emergency departments.

The first hospital’s ad arrived in the mail. It included a map, labeled “You’re only 6 miles from EXPERT ER CARE,” and the actual route I would need marked with a nice bold, blue line. Oh thank goodness, otherwise I might have had no idea how to get to that big hospital building clearly visible just off the freeway.

The second hospital left a card hanging on the door hyping how close they were. It included a refrigerator magnet with “IN CASE OF EMERGENCY,”  the address (including which freeway exit to take), a phone number, and even a web address. Because when you are having a medical emergency, you really want to check their website before going to the hospital. Right?

Now here’s the problem: to get to either hospital, I have to drive by a third hospital that is probably within walking distance of my home. Well, maybe not walking distance if I am having a medical emergency. Heck, the kids who hung the magnet on my door probably drove past the third hospital as well. Why on earth would I go to a hospital that is further away if I actually need the services of an emergency department? In a medical emergency, I need help now, not 6 miles from now.

The point is that both hospitals completely wasted money printing and delivering advertising to me. That money didn’t help a single patient. That money didn’t pay for a single doctor, nurse, medical assistant, or even janitor. That money didn’t buy any medical equipment or medications. That money didn’t keep the lights on in an operating room. That money didn’t even line the pockets of a hospital executive… unless his wife owns a printing company.

Cutting worthless ads won’t solve the issue of health care costs, but it’s a painless first step.

In Closing: Coming together online; frugality; and here’s some bonus health and health insurance links.

Addressing a trend

I’ve been getting more than my fair share of comment spam recently (not quite enough that I’m ready to use one of those “prove you’re human” things). Lately, one of the topics is HCG diets.

Let me make one thing perfectly crystal clear about HCG: it is the only diet drug required by the FDA to have a black box warning saying it does not work! Really, that’s the only thing you need to know about HCG. Just say no. It’s a waste of your money and potentially dangerous.

As for the new “safer” homeopathic HCG drops, they’re still sugar water. Further, even if homeopathy did work, the “Law of Similars” — “a substance that when taken in crude form causes a set of symptoms or disease in a healthy person can cure similar symptoms occurring during an illness when treated with small, often infinitesimal, potentised doses of the same substance” — would suggest that diluting a weight loss “drug” for homeopathic use would make the user gain weight, wouldn’t it?

It is at this point that I will point out that I’m not a doctor, nor a dietician. I’m only pointing out two things: HCG is FDA proven to not work for weight loss, and mixing it with a bunch of water isn’t likely to make it more effective.

While we are on the topic, here’s some tips for not letting the holidays ruin your diet.

In Closing: tricorder; oops; The Jungle returns; doing good work; what??; free markets won’t fix health care; which reality will win, not enough money to retire or not enough health to keep working?; couples and money; the near poor; I’ve always thought it would be a great idea to have a “third party debate,” and apparently there was; and who needs MacGyver when Dolph Lundgren really exists??

=)

Introducing, from Toyota City, Japan, weighing in at 4100 pounds:

She replaces the Yellow Beast.

The Sadness of Aurora: I’m not going to dwell on this sickening mess but I will say it’s a tragedy; here’s a professional opinion on how to cope. They’re still setting off bombs in the guy’s apartment. Can anybody reasonably argue that a guy who was improvising explosive devices in the kitchen would have been stopped by stricter gun control laws? “Huh, I guess if I can’t buy the assault rifle legally, I’ll just have to call off the massacre!” Maybe the solution is to ban unnatural hair colors. Here’s the money quote from Brilliant Jill:

The other aspect of this evolving story that leaped out at me is that a guy who is described by everyone who knew him as being ferociously intelligent ended up working at a McDonald’s after getting this honors degree in neuroscience. With all the talk we hear from Barack Obama on the stump about education, and about science education, we are still a nation in which an honors science graduate can’t find a job and ends up slinging hamburgers. There aren’t any reports about how much, if any, college debt Holmes ended up with, but when you live in a society where the president preaches about excellence in science but where science has no value in the job market, it’s easy to imagine someone deciding to pursue a Ph.D. and then deciding it’s all bullshit and might as well go out in a blaze of glory.

In Closing: the beat goes off; she took care of it herself; American Unexceptionalism; White House Garden; and give a child a camera.

Over the Milky Way Tonight

Once upon a time, there was a divine, weaving princess. She spent much time weaving, and was sad that it left her no time for love. So her father arranged for her to meet the cow-herder of the stars. They immediately fell in love and spent all their time together. However, this meant the divine clothes for the stars went unwoven, and the cows roamed all over the heavens as each of the lovers neglected their jobs. Her father had no choice but to separate them with the Milky Way. They are only allowed to meet one day a year — the seventh day of the seventh month — and then only if she’s done with her work.

Happy Tanabata.

In closing: can we just admit that the TSA’s job is to make us do what we’re told?; let’s ignore the fact that most of us choose a hospital based on what our insurance will cover or what’s closest to the accident; recycling; Bond, James Bond; ha; careful when you write a resume; fat; “could” is the important word; just what I don’t need; maybe if people would read; good luck explaining that to your insurance agent; and Cowboys and Indians.

Coincidence

Does anybody else think it’s odd that not that long after a demonstration of how a Bad Guy could get stuff through one of those nudie-scanners, the CIA foils an airplane bomb plot using a “non metallic” bomb carried by a double agent?

Yeah, sounds like “more hyperbole… than reality” to me too.

Gotta hand it to the CIA for learning from the FBI playbook.

In Closing: but they’re organic blobs of sugar and wax!; Microbial Armageddon; be one of the lucky 10000 outside, please; more job killing in the name of free trade; warmest year on record; I wonder how long until the first death by “non-lethal” weapon; get rid of pink slime, and all of a sudden we’re whining about lost jobs. Maybe if they weren’t making something disgusting?

Climbing the Mountain of Paperwork

This week’s Life Well Lived question is:

How do you organize paperwork both online and off? Share your tip(s) to managing physical and digital clutter!

Be sure to visit BlogHer’s main post on the topic and add your comments. While you’re in the area, don’t forget to enter the current Life Well Lived sweepstakes.

I will be honest. Stuff tends to pile up on my desk. Thankfully, my brokerage has a really great digital document storage system to help me keep that stuff organized properly.

File folders are great things. Heck, folders in general are great things. It makes it a lot easier to keep related items together: bills to be paid, receipts, tax documents, Christmas cards, appliance manuals, whatever. When you’re done, it goes into a filing cabinet where it’s easy to find right up until the day you don’t need it any more and can shred it. Pro-tip: label folders with a fine point marker or permanent ink pen and do your best to make it easy to read.

This still leaves a pile on the corner of my desk that I must go through and ruthlessly prune about once a month.

I organize email with folders too. A folder called “Receipts 2012” contains exactly what you think it does. Maybe there’s one called “Smith” that has all my correspondence with a client named Mr. Smith. It also contains scans of his documents and emails back and forth to the title company. And once my transaction with Mr. Smith is done, the whole folder gets archived.

I’d like to say my hard drive is that well organized. Thank goodness OSX does a lot of this stuff automatically: apps end up in the “Applications” folder without too much effort on my part. “Downloads” go into the right folder unless I specifically save it elsewhere — and yes I periodically have to purge that folder.

So that’s my tip. No fancy organizers beyond a vertical file holder on my desk and a filing cabinet in my home office. Cheap and easy to implement.

In Closing: Jon Lovitz 3, anti-Semite teenagers 0; 6000 Japanese vocabulary words; War on Drugs is a failure; drone on; life in space may have come from Earth; security theatre; no kidding; follow up on unlicensed doctors; tornado alley is bigger, climate change deniers blame almost anything but climate change; over 1 in 5 health care dollars spent is because of obesity; and no, it’s not illegal to use a cell phone while driving in Nevada! It’s illegal to use one without a hands free device.

Uh, Make Reservations?

 

Once again, we have a post inspired by the BlogHer Life Well Lived campaign. The current topic? Getting Organized. And the question I have been asked to answer:

What is your best tip for hosting a gathering, get-together or party that is enjoyable and stress-free for both the host and guests?

Wow. They almost could not have asked a question I am less qualified to answer.

The last party I hosted was roughly a decade ago: a tea party for stay-at-home-moms and their mostly preschool children. The cat hid. Sure, I’ve been to plenty of parties in the meantime, but never in charge of planning and never waiting nervously for guests to arrive.

So regrettably, my tips are pathetically simplistic. If you can’t just make reservations, you’ll have to make do:

  1. If catering (or pot luck) is out of the question, keep the food simple. This isn’t the time to try and impress everybody with that great new recipe from Food Network that looked so much easier than it was. Just be sure to serve enough variety that there’s something everyone can eat. There’s a lot to be said for stuff that is almost ready to go straight from the store. I’ll never forget the sorority party where we suggested to our alumni hostess that a big Stouffer’s Lasagne was just fine, and she decided that she simply had to make the real deal from scratch. She was frazzled long before any of us arrived!
  2. Less is more when it comes to activities. This is true whether the guests are 4 or 40 years old. Sure, have some stuff planned — including a way for people to get to know one another if the guests aren’t already all friends — but let people have their own conversations. When your guests are kids, understand that some unstructured playtime is a great way for them to blow off extra energy (say, from cake, ice cream, and sugary fruit punch?).
  3. Do as much as possible before hand, so you can relax and enjoy your own party. If possible, enlist someone to help you out. Delegate authority! Put somebody else in charge of a few things. Nobody says you have to be a super-hero.

Be sure to cruise on over to the main post on this over at BlogHer and add your comments over there. For that matter, don’t forget to enter the sweepstakes for a brand new Kindle Fire.

In Closing: I guess you’ll have to eat two; pretty much yeah; Dragon and Tiger Remix; right on, brother; what the heck is it about that place that begets violence??; the truth about abortion; Romney doesn’t just want to make the government small enough to drown in a bathtub, his plan to do it will drown the economy too!; 3 key questions; about time; curing diabetes; and free textbooks.

Mama Economy

Remember Tay Zonday? He’s back, and he understands economics.

In Closing: Autopsy; Castro; Google thinks I’m a dude too (clearly I need to search more for shoes and makeup); Just for fun, read the first paragraph to somebody before telling them it’s Bob Dole; Because surely her hair is more important than anything else; Okay, maybe that’s a problem; and have a great weekend.

Shorties Night 3D

Ok, I’m all tabbed up so let’s get rolling!

Not sure what to think: Ron Paul wants to make sure kids aren’t subjected to mandatory mental health screenings. On one hand I don’t want to see kids needlessly medicated. On the other hand, I know people who really could have and should have been diagnosed with treatable mental health disorders as kids!

Side Effect: Women are suing cops for tricking them into long term relationships with their undercover alter-egos. Oops.

Never Thought I’d Link Glenn Greenwald: But he’s right about the detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act. It’s there in black and white, no matter how people spin it.

Cat Herding: How Occupy Portland outsmarted the cops (without necessarily planning it that way).

Good Grief: 10 things you didn’t know about “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

I hope they didn’t spend a lot of money on that research: “The more a person drinks the more likely they are to have unprotected sex, according to research.”

This looks good: Dark Chocolate Macadamia Bark with Sea Salt.

Remember this when your Christmas bills arrive: Minimum payments will eat you alive.

Let’s see if that’s more than talk: Most Americans think we need a third party.

Turns out the Military is a way out of a bad neighborhood in more ways than one: Military schools smack around local schools, particularly when it comes to poor and minority kids. Now if only there weren’t the occupational hazard of being shot at!

You’ve seen my musings: Now here’s Anderson Cooper on traveling.

Turning Japanese: 68% of Japanese cars sold in the U.S. were made here in America, in 29 plants that employ 50,000 people. For reference, “American” car manufacturer GM has roughly 68,000 employees in the United States.

About Time!: 6 Fannie/Freddie execs charged with fraud. They might actually go to prison. There’s another big mortgage fraud suit here in Nevada.

Dim Bulb: One idiot thinks those curly light bulbs are so bad, she says she’s giving incandescent bulbs as Christmas presents. Don’t let her kids anywhere near her car with a carton of eggs.

How does that work?: As condition of a plea bargain, a man had to agree to give up a home he didn’t own and never did own.

And Finally: A boy chokes on a meatball in the school cafeteria. The sad part is that rather than make sure all the staff know CPR, they will probably take meatballs off the school menu.

Is that a Biblical name?

Here’s a story that made me happy and sad all at once: this week 285 girls in India were granted new names, replacing names that mean “unwanted.”  Now, I can’t imagine naming my child something like that, and I can’t even imagine allowing my relatives to name a child that. But apparently it’s common enough in India that a big ceremony was put together for these 285 girls to legally change their names. And I am glad they have that opportunity.

Unfortunately, there is precedent in the Bible. You know those kids were well adjusted too….

In Closing: many parents go online before calling a doctor; we got a really big shoe for you tonight (kinda cool, if you have room); too big to fail?; a whole bunch of stuff about OWS; “The flat tax is a fraud“; why does anybody let Santorum have a microphone?; trade-in; privatized regulation is a joke; “In other words, the growth in the amount that individuals are consuming is lower, but individuals are paying more for what they are consuming” (most of us would call that “inflation”); and a Viking boat burial.

Be aware that I’ve had a huge spam problem lately. If the spam hose continues, I will have no choice but to close to comments in a matter of days.