Sunday, December 02, 2012

"60 Minutes" on December 2, 2012

Three stories on "60 Minutes" for December 2, 2012-->

American health care costs going up. Administrators telling doctors about which patients to admit.

Camp-14 prison camp.

A solar-powered plane which can fly at night.

**Steve Kroft notes 10% of costs are associated with unnecessary procedures. HMA relentlessly ordered doctors to admit patients, regardless of their need for admission. Nancy Alpert at HMA in Mesquite, Texas. Cliff Cloonan former Army doctor, moved to hospital in Carlisle, PA. "We will admit 20% of patients from emergency room." Jeff Handy, Summit Medical Center in Arkansas. Handy referred to the targets as fraud; admit patients whether they are sick or not. The 20% is arbitrary. For patients 65 or over, the target was 50%. "Medical misadventures." Emails from exec in Durant, OK: only 14 admits so far, act accordingly. Bottom line: why admit a fixed percentage of patients. Something codified, institutionalized at HMA. Prometh software to improve quality of patient care. Software organized to order pre-arranged tests once patient admitted. Primary purpose of scorecard: revenue generation. If doctor sent emergency room patient home, the software intervened. "Like being called to the principal's office." John Bolmer testified policies came from top, CEO Gary Newsom. 60 Minutes talked to Allan Levene, not Newsom. Physician Performance Review form explicitly says goal is 20%. The issue is the quantity of care, not the quality of care. Paul Meyer is a 30 year veteran of FBI who joined HMA. In 2010, Meyer indicated there was pressure to fill feds. Inappropriate hospital stays. Medicare fraud. Submitting bills to government for patients who did not meet medicare guidelines. Meyer wrote up his findings in 3 memos to management. HMA attorneys told Meyer to alter his memos; labeled his memos attorney client privilege. Meyer was fired. HMA hired an outside law firm to investigate Meyer's allegations.

Camp 14 in North Korea. 60 Minutes interviewed an escapee from the camp (Shin), who was born in the camp. 15,000 people are believed imprisoned at Camp 14. You wear what you are given, you eat what you are given. David Hawk has interviewed "wrong thinkers" who are interred in North Korea. The tip of the interviewee's finger is missing, as punishment for damaging a machine. Separately, punished by hanging by ankles because of escape plans of relatives. Mother was hung; brother was shot. At age 23, interviewee Shin met Park, who had lived in the outside world. Shin and Park tried to escape. Park was electrocuted and Shin climbed over Park's body. Shin managed to steal and bribe his way across North Korea to China, and finally got to South Korean embassy. Shin is now age 30. Later, Shin felt guilt about his mother and brother. Shin now speaks at human rights rallies. Worry about people in the prison camps.

In 1903, Wright Brothers flew. Now, plane called SolarImpulse, which can fly at night by virtue of batteries. Has flown from Switzerland to North Africa and back. Looks like something from Jules Verne. It has very long wings. Bertrand Piccard and Andre Vorschburg. Airplane vs. airship. Piccard started thinking about the plane in 1999. First flight: The flea hop, 3 feet up and 28 seconds. Materials made from carbon fibers. Solar cells are the wing. Went from Switzerland to Belgium and Paris. Andre did the first night flight, for 8 hours. Bertand's father Jacques designed a submarine 50 years ago. Bertrand's grandfather Jacques saw the curvature of the earth. In 1992, transatlantic balloon race. Flight around world will be 20 days and 20 nights. The toilet is built into the seat. Plane flies well at 30 mph, but can stall at 23 mph. Topic of self-hypnosis. Next year: California to Virginia. Something more than to invent something new. Combined technology with poetry.


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