Medication Errors Cause One Death Every Day and 1.3 million Injuries annually in the US

How Common Are Medical Errors? Does Medication Kill People?

A News Release by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 17, 2017, states the fact that, “Medication errors cause at least one death every day and injure approximately 1.3 million people annually in the United States of America alone.” Their press release announces an initiative to reduce that number by half within the next five years.

Medication Errors Cause One Death Every Day and 1.3 million Injuries annually in the US-AUstin-Tx-Chiropractor-Natural-Healthcare-Spine-Nervous-SystemAlthough the release notes that many countries do not keep good records on drug errors, the WHO estimates that worldwide the cost of medication errors is $4.2 billion, equal to about one percent of the world’s total expenditures on healthcare. According to the WHO release, “The Global Patient Safety Challenge on Medication Safety aims to address the weaknesses in health systems that lead to medication errors and the severe harm that results.”

Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General stated, “Apart from the human cost, medication errors place an enormous and unnecessary strain on health budgets. Preventing errors saves money and saves lives.” Dr. Chan continued, “Most harm arises from systems failures in the way care is organized and coordinated, especially when multiple health providers are involved in a patient’s care. Any one of these, or a combination, can affect the prescribing, dispensing, consumption, and monitoring of medications, which can result in severe harm, disability and even death.”

In the WHO release, Liam Donaldson, WHO’s envoy for Patient Safety, stated, “Over the years, I have spoken to many people who have lost loved ones to medication-related errors and their stories, their quiet dignity and their acceptance of situations that should never have arisen have moved me deeply.” He continued, “It is to the memories of all those who have died due to incidents of unsafe care that this Challenge should be dedicated. There is a need for an organizational culture that routinely implements best practices and that avoids blame when mistakes are made.”

Dr. George Curry, president of the International Chiropractor Association commented on this issue by saying, “While every healthcare professional should applaud the effort to reduce medication errors that lead to harm, the discussion should also address ways to reduce the over utilization of medications in the population.” Curry continued, “One sure way to reduce the incidence of medical errors is to look to other forms of care that do not involve medications. Chiropractic has always represented an alternative to the medication approach for many millions of people.”

Dr. Robert Braile, chiropractor and author makes the point, “I guess a half reduction in the number of deaths and injuries would be considered by some as progress. But even if the WHO initiative is successful, that would mean that the WHO has a goal of only one death every other day and 650,000 injuries each year. Why is this level of carnage acceptable from a healthcare delivery systems that touts the mantra, ‘First do no harm?'”

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson. Austin chiropractor located in north central Austin, TX.


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Asthma Resolved and Medication Discontinued After Chiropractic

Can Chiropractic Help Asthma? Do Chiropractors see Kids with Asthma?

The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study on September 5, 2016, documenting the case of a young patient suffering from asthma and headaches being helped by chiropractic.

asthma-resolved-and-medication-discontinued-after-chiropractic-austin-tx-chiropractor-pediatric-kid-child-health-wellnessAccording to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, “Asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. Asthma causes recurring periods of wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing.” They estimate that currently 25 million people suffer with this problem.

The number of asthma cases and the impact on healthcare has continued to increase. The authors of the study report that in 2011, 1.8 million people visited an emergency room with the chief complaint of asthma. Additionally, 14.2-million people visited a general physician and reported asthma as their primary reason for the visit.

In this case, a 15-year-old boy with a chief complaint of asthma was brought to the chiropractor. In addition, he also reported stiffness in his neck and back, and muscle spasms. He also suffered from frequent headaches.

For the previous 7 or 8 years, the boy was reportedly taking three to five medications per day and using an inhaler as needed. If the boy was suffering from a cold or experienced a coughing attack, he was instructed to use his nebulizer three times a day in addition to a steroid taken orally once a day.

A chiropractic examination was performed which included inspection, palpation, a thermographic study, and both static and motion x-rays. Based upon the findings of the examination procedures, specific chiropractic adjustments were started on the boy’s spine.

The study records that after the second chiropractic adjustment, the boy reported decreased difficulty in breathing. Improvement continued, and after three months of care, the boy was able to discontinue all medications. The boy’s MD suggested he carry his inhaler in case of emergency, but several months later, the boy discontinued on his own accord. The study reports that his headaches also were completely resolved.

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson. We are located in north central Austin, TX.


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Medicare Patients Using Chiropractic Reduce Costs

Is Chiropractic Care Cost Effective? By Seeing A Chiropractor Can I Avoid Surgery?

The January 2016 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics published a study titled, The Association Between Use of Chiropractic Care and Costs of Care Among Older Medicare Patients With Chronic Low Back Pain and Multiple Comorbidities. The study showed that patients on Medicare who used chiropractic care decreased overall costs compared to those who did not seek chiropractic.

Medicare Patients Using Chiropractic Reduce Costs - Austin TX Chiropractor Personal Injury from Car and Truck AccidentsThe study’s objective was to determine if seeing a chiropractor saved money in healthcare expenses for Medicare beneficiaries. Researchers conducted a retrospective review of services for chiropractic care on Medicare patients between the years of 2006 and 2012.

The study reported the results of 72,326 Medicare beneficiaries who were 66 years or older and had chiropractic services that were covered by Medicare. Medicare currently only pays for chiropractic care for adjustments of subluxations.

The study compared the cost of total care for patients who received just chiropractic, with those who received chiropractic and medical care, and those who only received medical care without chiropractic. The study also only reviewed those who were seen for chronic lower back problems in order to have consistency in comparing results.

The results of the study showed that those patients who only received chiropractic care had the lowest costs for the care for their problem. This highest cost of care were those who only received medical care. Those who received chiropractic also had a much lower chance of having spinal surgery. Additionally, those who only received chiropractic care had a better outcome in a shorter period of time.

In response to this study, Dr George Curry, president of the International Chiropractors Association commented, “This study highlights the fact that those who receive chiropractic save money on healthcare expenditures. Although this study specifically looked at Medicare patients who were suffering from lower back issues, it should not be a far leap to extrapolate this out to a number of health issues that people seek chiropractic for. Chiropractic care should be viewed as a real solution to the spiraling costs of medical care.”

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson.


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Superbugs Threaten Hospital Patients

Can Chiropractic Help Improve Your Immune System? What Controls Your Immune System… Your Nervous System?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a release on March 3, 2016, with the above headline. The release notes that antibiotic resistant bacteria, commonly called superbugs, are now causing 1 in 7 healthcare associated infections, (HAI).

Superbugs Threaten Hospital Patients - Austin TX Chiropractor best motor vehicle car accident collision for the injured“New data show that far too many patients are getting infected with dangerous, drug-resistant bacteria in healthcare settings,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Doctors and healthcare facilities have the power to protect patients – no one should get sick while trying to get well.”

The release notes that HIAs are dangerous because they are resistant to antibiotics and very difficult to treat. The release states, “HAIs are commonly caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which may lead to sepsis or death.”

A Fox News story on the same issue noted that the CDC reported that on any given day as many as 1 in 25 patients have an infection they picked up while in the hospital. Estimates are that for some procedures, the infection rate is as high as 1 in 4 patients.

The CDC release noted three areas that need to be addressed to help combat HIAs. These are, ” 1) prevent infections related to surgery or placement of a catheter, 2) prevent spread of bacteria between patients, and 3) improve antibiotic use.”

The discussion of the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria has long centered around the overuse of antibiotics in medical care and food that has fostered the development of bacteria that are no longer treatable by these drugs.

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson.


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CDC Study Says Most People Seeing Chiropractors Are Paying for Care

A January 2016 report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics showed that even though insurance affects how people purchase healthcare, more people than ever are choosing to pay for their chiropractic care. The report was based upon the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) taken in the years 2002 and 2012.

CDC Study Says Most People Seeing Chiropractors Are Paying for Care - Austin TX Chiropractic Care for car truck accident collisionThe study reported on usage for what the researchers termed as “complementary health approaches” which included acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic. They checked the usage of these three services specifically in the years 2002 and 2012. Researchers also looked to see if those surveyed had insurance that covered those services, and if insurance coverage affected the amount of usage of those services.

The results showed that there was increased utilization in all three services from 2002 compared to ten years later in 2012. The rates of utilization in 2002 were: acupuncture – 1.1%, massage – 5.0%, and chiropractic – 7.5%. These figures all increased ten years later to: acupuncture – 1.5%, massage – 6.9%, and chiropractic – 8.3%.

When examining who had insurance coverage, it was noted that the group with insurance coverage did not show an increase in utilization, while those without insurance, who would have to pay for their care, showed a statistically significant increase in utilization. This means that having insurance did not cause more people to seek out these three services. The study stated, “Although increases were observed in the percentage of adults who saw a practitioner for acupuncture, chiropractic, or massage therapy and did not have health insurance coverage for these visits, no changes were observed among those who saw a practitioner and had coverage for these complementary health approaches.”

For chiropractic, the study noted that 18.7% of those who sought those services had full insurance coverage. Partial coverage for chiropractic made up 41.4% of those who went to the chiropractor, while 39.9% had no chiropractic insurance coverage at all. Both acupuncture and massage had considerably less insurance coverage than chiropractic.

In their summary the authors of the CDC study noted, “Increased use of acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage therapy between 2002 and 2012 was previously noted. There was a significant increase in the percentage of adults who saw a practitioner for acupuncture, chiropractic, or massage therapy but did not have health insurance coverage for these approaches. No change in use was observed among those with insurance coverage. These data suggest that consumers are increasingly willing to pay out of pocket for the use of acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage.”

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson.


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The Medical Monopoly: Protecting Consumers or Limiting Competition?

Is The American Medical Association A Monopoly? What About The Texas Medical Association?

“The Medical Monopoly: Protecting Consumers or Limiting Competition?” is the title of a CATO Institute policy analysis paper issued on December 15, 2014. As the title suggests, the paper reports on how healthcare has been governed by a monopoly which has caused an increase in cost and a drop in quality.

The paper, by Sue A. Blevins, a writer and health policy consultant based in Boston, explains why healthcare is so expensive. “Licensure laws appear to be designed to limit the supply of health care providers and restrict competition to physicians from non-physician practitioners. The primary result is an increase in physician fees and income that drives up healthcare costs.”

The monopoly in healthcare begins right at the beginning in the educational level explains Blevins. “It should be noted, however, that medical schools rely heavily on federal subsidies, while training for non-physician providers is predominantly funded with private money. For example, all of the 17 chiropractic schools in the United States are privately funded; none are state owned.” She continues, “By contrast, 76 of the 126 medical schools are state owned.”

The Medical Monopoly: Protecting Consumers or Limiting Competition? | Austin TX ChiropractorReviewing the monopoly against chiropractic, the paper points out that between 1963 and 1974, the AMA operated a Committee on Quackery, whose main purpose was the elimination of the chiropractic profession.  The AMA also lobbied the government to restrict chiropractic licensing and reimbursement for healthcare services such as Medicare.

In the paper Blevins reports: “In addition, the AMA recommended that Congress exclude payment for chiropractic services from federally supported health programs. As a result, Medicare recipients are restricted from using the full range of chiropractic services. Medicare policy limits patient access to chiropractors this way: Medicare reimburses chiropractors for performing “spinal manipulation” but requires that a diagnostic spinal x-ray be taken before chiropractic treatment. The catch is that Medicare does not reimburse chiropractors for performing x-rays, even though they have the training and are licensed to perform x-rays in all 50 states. That policy gives the medical profession control over managing back problems among elderly Americans.”

The paper also reports that in 1976, four chiropractors filed an antitrust lawsuit against the AMA and 10 other medical organizations. The suit charged that there was a criminal conspiracy to destroy chiropractic. It took over a decade to resolve, but in 1987 the chiropractors prevailed. The AMA was found guilty of an illegal conspiracy and in violation of U.S. antitrust laws. In spite of this victory for the chiropractors, the damage was already done as the restrictions on chiropractic reimbursement remain in place today.

In her conclusion, Blevins puts forth a first step toward leveling the playing field and reducing the healthcare monopoly. She explains: “What should government do if it is serious about cutting health spending and improving access to affordable healthcare? The first step should be to eliminate the anti-competitive barriers that restrict access to low-cost providers, namely licensure laws and federal reimbursement regulations. Americans should not be forced to substitute providers against their will; rather, they should be free to choose among all types of health care providers.”

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