To Your Health!

Congrats to the DocuDharma blogging team!  May good karma envelop Budhy and his FP and tech contributors! (Raising a glass in a toast…..Ooh!  Bubbles up my nose!)

I’m still making this up as I go along.  Yesterday’s post was called Health News Roundup, but I’m looking for a better name for this series.  Help. 

Today’s focus is on finding some of the gems about healthcare and health policy that you can subscribe to via email. These are typically daily reports with excerpts and links to primary health and policy resources.  They are deeply referenced, cited transparently, and they have a high degree of reliability and validity.

Feedback makes me all warm and fuzzy – and it makes the quality and focus better for you, dear reader. Please let me know what you think, what you would like to read, and what stories and issues you’re interested in reading about.  Here’s your cup to sip from the health fire hose.  *g*

Health References About Public Health And Pandemic Influenza

The Flu Wiki

The purpose of the Flu Wiki is to help local communities prepare for and perhaps cope with a possible influenza pandemic. This is a task previously ceded to local, state and national governmental public health agencies. Our goal is to be:

* a reliable source of information, as neutral as possible, about important facts useful for a public health approach to pandemic influenza
* a venue for anticipating the vast range of problems that may arise if a pandemic does occur
* a venue for thinking about implementable solutions to foreseeable problems

No one, in any health department or government agency, knows all the things needed to cope with an influenza pandemic. But it is likely someone knows something about some aspect of each of them and if we can pool and share our knowledge we can advance preparation for and the ability to cope with events. This is not meant to be a substitute for planning, preparation and implementation by civil authorities, but a parallel effort that complements, supports and extends those efforts.

While we will continue to administer and maintain the Wiki, we are turning the wheel over to the community, to take it where the road leads us.

Influenza Pandemic Preparation and Response: A Citizen’s Guide v.1.3 (PDF)

Use Doctrine
This manual is meant to be a guide for many citizens in its present form, but we
encourage individuals, communities, and organizations to revise and adapt it to their
individual needs and cultures and to translate it into other languages. We ask that
such revisions reference the original document and remain in the public domain.
Revisions should be posted on so that those derivates will be widely
available. To check for current updates to this manual, please visit
Corrections and Additional Acknowledgments
If you wish to correct an error in this manual or if you find material for which the
original author or source is not properly acknowledged (an increasingly common
and unavoidable problem in the age of multiple postings and of extracts that do not
retain identification of the original source) please document your concern and email
it to

Reuters Humanitarian Crisis Alerts

Want to know about flu in Fiji or cholera in Colombia? Easy and fast search functions to find crisis, locations, severity and statistics.

AHRQ Public Health and Pandemic Flu Information, News and Guides

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s research in public health emergency preparedness is an outgrowth of its mission to develop evidence-based information to improve the quality of the U.S. health care system. This is critical to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services developing programs to combat bioterrorism and other public health emergencies such as pandemic flu.

To help communities prepare for a flu pandemic and other emergencies, AHRQ offers these tools from its Bioterrorism and Emergency Preparedness Program.

Health Policy Subscriptions

Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report

Add Daily Reports via RSS provides four daily online reports — summaries of news stories with links to the original articles and a fully searchable archive. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, the Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, the Kaiser Daily Women’s Health Policy Report and the Kaiser Health Disparities Report keep you in touch with legislative, political, legal, scientific, and business developments in each area. Issues include Medicare reform, Medicaid, patients’ rights, access, the uninsured, minority health, children’s health and health care advertising.

Kaiser First Edition, available each weekday morning at 8:30, provides headlines and links to the day’s top stories and events. 

You may also be interested in‘s Weekly TB/Malaria Report, which provides summaries of malaria and tuberculosis news stories, containing links to original articles and related resources.

Email with story submissions and press releases.

  Enhanced Search: Based on user feedback, we have improved the Daily Reports Search so you can more effectively search by date, sort by date or relevance, narrow your search results and more.


This is my favorite.  The reportage is fast, timely, heavily referenced and fairly comprehensive.

Fierce Healthcare is a proprietary daily newsletter that is also referenced well, has a fairly comprehensive approach to issues coverage, and leans heavily toward promoting healthcare IT issues, in which it has a business interest.

AHRQ Patient Safety Network

AHRQ Patient Safety Network (PSNet) is a new national web-based resource featuring the latest news and essential resources on patient safety. The site offers weekly updates of patient safety literature, news, tools, and meetings (“What’s New”), and a vast set of carefully annotated links to important research and other information on patient safety (“The Collection”). Supported by a robust patient safety taxonomy and web architecture, AHRQ PSNet provides powerful searching and browsing capability, as well as the ability for diverse users to customize the site around their interests (My PSNet). It also is tightly coupled with AHRQ WebM&M, the popular monthly journal that features user-submitted cases of medical errors, expert commentaries, and perspectives on patient safety.  AHRQ PSNet and AHRQ WebM&M are both funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and edited by a team at the University of California, San Francisco, with the technical support of Silverchair.

Subscribe here.

Today’s Health News

Health Insurance Gaps Keep Would-Be Retirees Working

The number of Americans between 65 and 74 who are still working has jumped sharply, from 19.6% in 2000 to 23.2% last year, the Census Bureau said today. This morning’s Washington Post suggests several reasons for the jump, but one caught the Health Blog’s eye: Cuts in retiree health benefits have pushed employees to work longer to save on health care costs.

“People are simply hanging on to their job as a way to hang on to their income and to their health insurance so they can supplement their Medicare coverage,” Christian Weller, a University of Massachusetts professor and a senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress, told the paper.

Health Savings Accounts Aren’t Catching On

A closely watched survey of employer-sponsored health insurance released today is getting attention for finding a 6% rise in premiums this year.

That headline number is climbing faster than inflation, though still below the double-digit increases of a few years back.

But the Health Blog was interested in a nugget buried inside the results. High-deductible insurance plans tied to special savings accounts continue to lag behind expectations, despite being praised high and low as a tool to slow the rise in health-care costs.

The Wall Street Journal is always looking for the free market, employer-focused angle.

Here’s the New York Times’ take on the same report:

Cost of Health Insurance Rises Again, but at a Slightly Slower Rate

The cost of employer-sponsored health insurance premiums has increased 6.1 percent this year, well ahead of wage trends and consumer price inflation, but below the 7.7 percent increase in 2006, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported yesterday.

Because doctor and hospital costs continue to rise at an even faster rate, the modest slowdown in insurance inflation mainly reflects cutbacks in coverage by many health plans, which have found ways to make employees pay more for their care. Industry experts said that without those measures, premium costs would have risen by 9 percent or more.

The total average annual cost for family coverage premiums rose this year to $12,106.

“For that kind of money, you could buy a compact car every year,” said Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Foundation, a nonprofit group that produces the widely watched annual survey. He noted that health costs had increased 78 percent since 2001, more than four times the pace of prices and wages.

The 2007 increase was the smallest annual rise since 1999, when health premiums jumped 5.3 percent.

When the cupboard is bare, there isn’t anything left over to put into HSAs (healthcare savings accounts).

That’s a wrap for today.  Your doses of flu references, email health news subscriptions and individuals’ healthcare insurance costs will keep you wise to the latest in prevention and self-preservation.


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  1. Give me your glass.  I’m pouring!

  2. Yesterday’s post was called Health News Roundup, but I’m looking for a better name for this series.  Help.


    • SallyCat on September 12, 2007 at 11:20 pm

    health as well?

    While I have medical coverage (Kaiser, and I do like them) I rarely go to the doctor and rarely take prescription medications.

    We focus on alternative treatments in our home from simply a healthier diet to accupressure to herbal remedies. It would be nice to see some of these diaried as well!

    Thanks for the great round up!

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