Patients like it cheap,
Turning the fundamentals of economics upside down, a study has found that Americans think that the lower the total price of a lifesaving medicine, the more valuable the medicine is, meaning they’re more likely to take it.
In the same vein, the higher the price of a lifesaving medicine, the less likely a person is going to take it, the study results indicate.
The results were not expected by the researchers, says one of the study authors, Adriana Samper, assistant professor at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business.
Samper says the perceptions may be tied to a belief that the U.S. healthcare system places a high value on saving lives and as a result will keep prices for such things as a lifesaving drug or vaccine low. (Please refrain from snickering.)
She says that belief is supported by the finding that for non-lifesaving medicines, the traditional pricing theories hold up, valuable medicines are expected to be priced high and low-value medicines are expected to have a low price, according to the results of the study, scheduled to be published in the April issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.
“People (also) may feel uncomfortable thinking that they would die if they didn’t have the money to pay for access to lifesaving care,” Samper says. She says all of the drugs were considered to be free to the patient, so the results were not tied to the ability to pay.
As optimistic as the study participants were about healthcare’s view of lifesaving drugs, they still take a more self-centered approach to vaccinations. Participants were more likely to get vaccinated when advised of the benefits to their own self than they were when advised of the benefits to society.
“They really needed to see the effects on themselves,” Samper says. “We were a little disappointed.”
No place for guns here
Hospitals and guns don’t mix is the message being sent by the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.
The association supported Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder when he vetoed state legislation last month that would have redrawn gun-free zones and allowed some concealed firearms inside hospitals. To further demonstrate its stance that hospitals should remain gun-free zones to promote health and wellness, the association donated $10,000 to Lansing, Mich.’s gun buyback program.
The buyback program gives people turning in a firearm gift cards worth $50 to $150 for use at participating stores such as the big-box retailer Meijer.
“The MHA and its member hospitals and health systems are not anti-gun; they simply believe that guns do not have a place in hospitals,” MHA President Spencer Johnson says in a statement. “Supporting the voluntary removal of guns from Lansing neighborhoods is just one way we can help ensure hospitals remain gun-free and that our community is healthy and safe.”
Lansing and its population of more than 114,000 recorded 12 violent homicides in 2012, the most since 2008. The city is home to three hospitals: Sparrow Hospital, McLaren Greater Lansing and Sparrow Specialty Hospital.
Native American healers sought
Not-for-profit Sanford Health system is getting ready to possibly use Native American healing practices in an effort to make its American Indian patients feel more welcome.
Sanford Health is hiring a Lakota/Dakota and an Ojibwe to serve as consultants as part of a three-year $12 million CMS grant, says Read Sulik, Sanford’s senior vice president for behavioral health services, speaking to the Associated Press.
Sulik, based in Fargo, N.D., says the traditional healers will act as advisers to healthcare workers to develop training and curriculum about the American Indian culture, and will consult with medical staff on when it may be appropriate to use traditional healing techniques.
Some ceremonies and traditions might seem odd to non-Natives, such as the smudging of sage and sweet grass to purify the area around the patient, says Oitancan Mani Zephier, a Yankton Sioux tribe member. When a baby is born, the Yankton Sioux believe that wiping out the newborn’s mouth with sage can help the infant better transition from the spiritual realm of the womb.
Some patients also wrap tobacco in cloths of red, black, yellow or white and hang them on their bedposts as prayer offerings. “It’s for the spirits, or the angels, if you will, who are coming in to help heal,” Zephier says.
From left, Floyd Chasse, vice president of human resources for McLaren Greater Lansing, Dennis Swan, president and CEO of Sparrow Health and Spencer Johnson, MHA president, present a check for a gun buyback to Lansing Police Chief Teresa Szymanski and Mayor Virg Bernero.