Diagnosis and Unnecessary Procedure Use: Evidence from C-Section -
Taking the model to data on C-sections, the most common surgical procedure performed in the U.S., we show that improving diagnostic skills from the 25th to the 75th percentile of the observed distribution would reduce C-section rates by 11.7% among the low risk, and increase them by 4.6% among the high risk. Since there are many more low risk than high risk women, improving diagnosis would reduce overall C-section rates. Moreover, such an improvement in diagnostic skill would improve health outcomes for both high risk and low risk women, while improvements in surgical skill have the greatest impact on high risk women. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that efforts to improve diagnosis through methods such as checklists, computer assisted diagnosis, and collaborative decision making may improve patient outcomes.
Public Policy Polling has raised weird polls to an art form. During last year’s presidential campaign, the firm earned a bit of a reputation for its unorthodox questions; for example, “If God exists, do you approve of its handling of natural disasters?”
Today PPP released the results of a national survey looking at common conspiracy theories. Broken down by topic and cross-referenced by political preference, the results will not inspire a lot of patriotism. If you need to defend your fellow countrymen, be sure to note that the margin of error is 2.8 percent. (Atlantic)
(to be fair, this is the proportion of people who told a polling company they believed this, which may or may not reflect actual belief. i myself would report a belief that northwestern university is being threatened by attack deer engineered by the university of wisconsin…)
SSI: Helping the Poorest Elderly and Disabled Americans -
SSI benefits alone don’t lift recipients out of poverty; the maximum benefits for individuals and couples (when both spouses qualify) are about 74 percent and 83 percent of the poverty level, respectively. But SSI is instrumental in reducing extreme poverty (incomes below half the poverty line). SSI benefits are lower when recipients have other income (or live in a Medicaid facility or with relatives who provide support), so the average federal payment is $500 a month.
Improvements in SSI should aim to boost participation among eligible people and make benefit levels more adequate. Possible reforms include raising the basic benefit, raising and indexing the badly outdated asset and income limits (the asset limits have been frozen since 1989), changing rules that discourage saving for retirement, and extending SSI eligibility for elderly or disabled refugees, a uniquely vulnerable group.
i’m sure you remember amanda bynes is in it, but i bet you forgot that channing tatum is in it, as well as the guy who was the villan in both you got served and step up 2 the streets.
me and the besties at a recent wedding. susan wanted so badly to steal those glasses.
i’m sitting at a car dealership, waiting for my brakes to get fixed. it’s training buckets outside so i’m trapped in the lobby area. plus: they have fast, free wi-fi. minus: today is the day they’re testing the paging system. over. and over. and over. they have paged tyler defalco to the service area approximately 60 times, by my estimation. i don’t think tyler defalco is a real person.
(spurred by some recent experiences and by thetart)
a friend of mine asked me to come speak to a group of student teachers who he supervises the other night. these are folks getting their master’s degree and doing their semester-long student teaching practice before they are let out into the world. my friend was (rightly) concerned that the curriculum they receive in their formal program wouldn’t include much attention to disability issues, especially mental health issues and disabilities.
i always like to start my talks with a quick section on why the people i’m talking to should care about what i’m talking about. i pointed out that in their classrooms, there would be three main groups of people with disabilities. first, the people with visible disabilities - those who used mobility aids or with visible hearing aides, etc. second, the people with IEP/504/RIT plans, who would be formally identified to the teachers, along with information about the nature of their disabilities, interactions with their learning needs, identified accommodations, etc.
and the third group is students with non-visible disabilities who either haven’t received IEPs or whose disabilities don’t directly impact their learning so don’t need accommodations. and this group, the teacher will likely never know which students are in this group or how many of them there are. and this group is mentioned or discussed in two primary ways: language that conflates their mental health status with violence/irrationality/irrelevance/other negative attributes, and discussions of people with similar health statuses in a way that implies that those people could never exist in the classroom space.
and then the teachers had a discussion about “those people” in a way that clearly implied nobody like that would be in our group - nobody with a mental health diagnosis would be a student teacher, would be supervising student teachers, or would be coming to speak to a group of student teachers. even though we had all just agreed we would never know whether the people around us belonged to this group, they immediately assumed that nobody at our table was in that group - this was a totally other and separate group that could not exist in the space we were in.
i’m getting a lot of this in my phd program, because we don’t have anyone who falls into the visible disability group. i’m not - and wouldn’t be - aware of anyone who has requested accommodations in classes. but we sure spend a lot of time talking about people with disabilities as if they are a totally other group and with zero contemplation that there might be people sitting around this seminar table who have experienced these things. the implication is that we are too elite, to educated, too smart, for someone like that to be among us. they simply never would have made it this far!
that’s insidious. that’s dangerous. and it’s false - but the more that people say it, the more that people argue that the spaces they are in could never be accessed by a person in that group, the more true it becomes.
Ya play too much…
‘Line Standers’ Raise Fairness Issue at Supreme Court -
Dale Carpenter wanted to see last month’s pair of same-sex marriage arguments at the Supreme Court. He bought a plane ticket from Minneapolis, where he teaches law, and he turned up at the court a little after 3 o’clock on the morning of the first argument. Professor Carpenter’s first surprise on that cold night was that most of the people in front of him in line were not waiting to get in. They were “line standers” who had been paid to hold places for others. “Many of them seemed to be homeless or very poor,” Professor Carpenter said. “It seemed very shady to me.” The going rate, he learned, was about $50 an hour, some of which went to a company that had made the arrangements. Such place holding is common at Congressional hearings and is on the rise at the Supreme Court, where seats for last month’s arguments went for as much as $6,000. Michael J. Sandel, a political philosopher at Harvard, said the phenomenon was disturbing. “Allowing line-standing companies and scalpers to sell seats in the Supreme Court is yet another instance of letting money dominate democracy,” he said. “It’s at odds with equal access and undermines the dignity of the court.”
Finally, A Competency-Based College Gets Approved -
Days are numbered for colleges that award degrees based on the amount of time students sit in a classroom. The U.S. Department Of Educationapproved financial aid for a new self-paced, online learning college, where students demonstrate competence, rather than earn credit hours in a semester-long class.
From the Chronicle Of Higher Education Wired Campus Blog:
“Unlike the typical experience in which students advance by completing semester-long, multicredit courses, students in College for America have no courses or traditional professors. These working-adult students make progress toward an associate degree by demonstrating mastery of 120 competencies. Competencies are phrased as “can do” statements, such as “can use logic, reasoning, and analysis to address a business problem” or “can analyze works of art in terms of their historical and cultural contexts.”
For instance, instead of signing up for an arts class, students are directed to online resources and are awarded the equivalent of arts credit by demonstrating mastery of the material through a presentation of a museum exhibit.
Southern New Hampshire college boasts that its Gates Foundation-funded College For America Program is “the first degree program to completely decouple from the credit hour.”
Veterans Affairs Aims to Reduce Backlog of Disability Claims - NYTimes.com -
Under pressure to reduce its immense inventory of disability claims for injured and sick veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced on Friday its plans to process 250,000 claims that are one year or older within the next six months. The plan calls for regional offices of the Veterans Benefits Administration to issue so-called provisional rulings on all claims that are one year or older, provided a minimum level of evidence has been submitted to support those claims. If claims are given provisional approval, veterans will start receiving benefits immediately, said Allison A. Hickey, the under secretary for benefits. Those benefits are based on ratings that quantify the severity of a disability. If veterans believe that their ratings are too low, they will have a year to submit additional information. Once that year is over, the provisional rating will become final, under the new policy. From then on, veterans will be able to challenge decisions through the existing appeals process, a multilayered bureaucracy that can take years to adjudicate cases. The 250,000 claims that have been awaiting decisions for one year or longer are part of the department’s backlog, which includes all claims pending for at least 125 days. That backlog is now at 570,000 claims.
Jury Awards $240 Million for Long-Term Abuse of Workers with Intellectual Disabilities -
A Davenport, Iowa jury today awarded the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) damages totaling $240 million - the largest verdict in the federal agency’s history - for disability discrimination and severe abuse. The jury agreed with the EEOC that Hill County Farms, doing business as Henry’s Turkey Service subjected a group of 32 men with intellectual disabilities to severe abuse and discrimination for a period between 2007 and 2009, after 20 years of similar mistreatment. “The verdict sends an important message that the conduct that occurred here is intolerable in this nation, and hopefully will help to restore dignity and acknowledge the humanity of the workers who were mistreated for so many years,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. The company is based in Goldthwaite, Texas, but the work and abuse occurred in West Liberty and Atalissa, Iowa. The jury awarded each of the men $2 million in punitive damages and $5.5 million in compensatory damages. This verdict follows a September 2012 order from the district court judge that Henry’s Turkey pay the men $1.3 million for unlawful disability-based wage discrimination, thus making the total judgment $241.3 million. EEOC presented evidence to the jury that Henry’s Turkey exploited these workers, whose jobs involved eviscerating turkeys, because their intellectual disabilities made them particularly vulnerable and unaware of the extent to which their legal rights were being denied. The affected men lived in Muscatine County, Iowa, where they worked for 20 years as part of a contract between Henry’s Turkey and West Liberty Foods, an Iowa turkey processing plant.
that was pretty fucked up, right
How serious is the Air Force’s sexual assault epidemic? Yesterday, police in northern Virginia arrested the Air Force’s chief of sexual-assault prevention — for sexual assault. In the early hours of Sunday morning, Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, was “arrested and charged with sexual battery,” according to the Arlington, Virginia police department. According to the arrest report, Krusinski drunkenly “approached a female victim in a parking lot and grabbed her breasts and buttocks.” Until today, Krusinski, a lieutenant colonel, was the chief of the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program. An Air Force spokesman, Maj. Eric Badger, told Danger Room that the Air Force removed Krusinski from his position within the program, “immediately upon learning of the arrest.” (It’s worth mentioning that the Air Force did not initially confirm Krusinski’s arrest when Danger Room spoke to a different spokeswoman, Jennifer Cassidy; and deferred that confirmation to the Arlington police.) (via Air Force Chief of Sexual-Assault Prevention Arrested on Sexual Battery Charges | Danger Room | Wired.com)
The Price of Fame for Performers and Athletes: Shorter Lives -
An analysis of 1,000 obituaries from The New York Times finds the average age of death for notable people varies depending upon their occupation. Athletes, performers, and creative types such as writers and artists died younger, on average, while people in business, politics, and the military hung on the longest. “Fame and achievement in performance-related careers may be earned at the cost of a shorter life expectancy,” write Australian researchers C. R. Epstein of the University of Queensland and R. J. Epstein of the University of New South Wales. Their study is published in QJM: An International Journal of Medicine. Epstein and Epstein analyzed 1,000 consecutive obits published in the prestigious newspaper from 2009 through 2011, noting the person’s gender, occupation, and cause of death. They found the youngest average age of death was among athletes (77.4 years), performers (77.1 years), and non-performers who worked in creative fields, such as authors, composers, and artists (78.5 years). The oldest average age of death was found among people famous for their work in politics (82.1 years), business (83.3 years), and the military (84.7 years). One reason for this gap was immediately clear. Among performers and athletes, 7.2 percent died of lung cancer. That percentage “approximated the national average,” they write, but was far above the rate for famous people in other professions. In short, compared to equally successful people in other fields, performers are more likely to be smokers—and, perhaps, users of other unhealthful substances such as alcohol and drugs.