October 16, 2007

News roundup: popcorn lung, medical tourism, health care matters, and more

Popcorn lung - We've previously taken OSHA to task for being slow off the mark in protecting workers who are at risk for severe respiratory illnesses related to exposure to microwave popcorn butter flavorings containing diacetyl. Now, while the agency continues to "seek evidence", legislators have passed a diacetyl bill requiring the agency to issue an interim final standard to minimize worker exposure to diacetyl in popcorn and flavor manufacturing plants. In response, OSHA has scheduled public hearings and issued a Safety and Health Information Bulletin on Respiratory Disease Among Employees in Microwave Popcorn Processing Plants and Hazard Communication Guidance for diacetyl. But OSHA is still balking at issuing an emergency standard for diacetyl, falling back on its preferred voluntary compliance philosophy.

Medical tourism - David Williams of MedTripInfo.com has just released a white paper on medical tourism in conjunction with MedPharma Partners LLC, a health care and life sciences consulting firm: Medical Tourism: Implications for Participants in the US Health Care System (PDF). We've talked about the issue of medical tourism before - this is an issue to keep on your radar screen. David's paper is worth a read. Among the predictions:

  • US health insurers will start to provide coverage for medical tourism in 2008. Mini-med plans and small employers -not big health plans and blue chip companies-- will lead the way.
  • State governments will begin to embrace medical tourism by 2010.
  • Opposition to medical tourism by US physicians will be relatively modest.
  • Medical tourism won't have a major, direct impact on US health care costs, but the secondary impact will be substantial.

40 years and counting - Congratulations to the folks at Business Insurance on their 40 Year Anniversary. We've long thought that the publication has some of the best reporters and editors in the industry - kudos to all. They've put together some interesting restropsective features from their 40-year history, some available online to nonsubscribers: 40 Years of Business Insurance.

Debunking viral health care spam - Joe Paduda of Managed Care Matters does a great job debunking a viral e-mail from an anonymous concerned Canadian warning the U.S. about universal health care coverage. Moral of the story: never believe unsolicited emails and know your source.

McCain on Health care - Bob Laszewski of Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review offers an analysis of Senator John McCain's Health Care Reform Plan. This follows last week's analysis of the Clinton health care plan.

Immigration crackdown effects on the slaughterhouse - Thanks to Workplace Prof Blog for pointing us to a New York Times article we'd missed on how the immigration crackdown is affecting the work force in the slaughterhouse industry. Work in meat-packing industries is right up there in terms of grueling and dangerous jobs, and many plants are finding it difficult to replace undocumented workers who were displaced during recent immigrant raids.

Foot power - Ergonomics in the News discusses a foot mouse / slipper mouse as an alternative when repetitive strain injuries preclude the use of a traditional mouse.

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This page contains a single entry by Julie Ferguson published on October 16, 2007 9:57 AM.

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