Web Roundup: The Nursosphere, Dying Nuns, Transparency in Medical Pricing

emergiblogscreenshotJuly09We do our best to keep up with the nurse blogosphere, but it really helps to have regular help from Kim at Emergiblog, who has posted a fantastically varied and snappy roundup of recent blog posts by nurses in her latest edition of “Change of Shift.” (And thanks, Kim, as always, for the mention of Off the Charts.)

A while back, we noted a news story about parish nurses, and asked whether spirituality and nursing are a good fit—so it seems appropriate to mention two stories with some bearing on health care and its intersection with spiritual or religious matters. Daily Dose, the Washington Post blog “tracking the debate over health care reform,” writes that faith groups are increasingly engaged on the health care reform issue and are “pressing the moral urgency” for reform. And the NY Times has a thought-provoking article about nuns at one convent who are facing death “with dignity and reverence” while often eschewing aggressive treatment.

A convent is a world apart, unduplicable. But the Sisters of St. Joseph, a congregation in this Rochester suburb, animate many factors that studies say contribute to successful aging and a gentle death — none of which require this special setting. These include a large social network, intellectual stimulation, continued engagement in life and spiritual beliefs, as well as health care guided by the less-is-more principles of palliative and hospice care — trends that are moving from the fringes to the mainstream.

Of course, aggressive treatment at the end of life can be very expensive, and is one of many factors driving up the overall cost of health care in this country, a cost that has to be addressed in any meaningful reform plan. Covering Health reports on a Princeton economist who is trying to inject some bottom-line logic into the health care reform debate by pointing out the need for transparency in medical pricing.

According to Reinhardt, American health care is expensive because our prices are high. It’s a surprisingly obvious statement. When compared to citizens from other countries, Americans pay higher prices for the same health products and services. To reduce this disparity, Reinhardt calls for full transparency in medical pricing and a standardized insurance coverage package.

I read somewhere that the cost of an MRI in Japan is fixed by the government and is incredibly cheap compared to any of the widely varying prices you’re likely to be charged in the U.S. No one is calling the Japanese ‘socialists,’ as far as I know, so what gives?

Jacob Molyneux, senior editor

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Senior editor/social media strategy, American Journal of Nursing, and editor of AJN Off the Charts.

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