Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Medicine on Call with Dr. Elaina George


Dr Elaina George gives you the medical advice that other doctors won’t give.



Click here to listen!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why Black Folks Should Fight for Healthcare Reform

By Julianne Malveaux

Congress seems to be putting the final touches on health care reform legislation, arranging to provide health care, especially, for the uninsured. Anyone who has made the summer rounds of civil rights conventions understand that African American policy makers care about this issue. Still there seems to be no passion in advocacy for heath care reform.

Our presence in this debate is much needed - we have a dog in this fight. African

Americans are more likely than others to be uninsured, so the many ways our new legislation will make insurance available is important. And even when we are insured, the way that health problems hit us are most different. According to the Centers for Disease Control, African Americans and Hispanics "bear a disproportionate burden of disease, injury, and disability." African Americans, in particular, are more likely to be killed or to die of HIV than others are.

There is more - we are more likely to be obese, to have high blood pressure, diabetes, or to experience strokes. The obesity hits us early - our children are carrying more weight than they need to, and our community has done little to promote healthy eating. We experience cancer earlier than others, especially (for black women)_ breast cancer, and we are often diagnosed too late for diagnosis to save us.

We should be clear that many health disparities are the outcome of racial bias and racism in our lives and experiences. And many health disparities are the result of our own unwillingness to deal with the health challenges that face our community. For example, the fact that African American women are about 11 times more likely to be diagnosed with HIV than majority women is partly a function of sex education in our community. WE really can't blame racism for the fact that in an age of easily available information, too many sisters continue to put themselves at risk. Ditto obesity. While we can talk about the availability of healthy food choices in inner cities, the fact is that there is also much information available about how to eat and live more healthily. Race may play a role in the ways our health disparities play out, but our own engagement in our health outcomes also plays a role.

As health care reform legislation snakes its way through the congress and senate, it is disheartening to see the few who are involved in the legislation and the many who are silent. You can't live without a healthy life, can't agitate for justice without the stamina for agitation. Yet there are so many African American people who are proud, passionate and sidelined by their health challenges. Where is the intense advocacy in our community, an advocacy that will propel us to be key activists in the health reform legislation? African American people need the means and ends to healthy lives. We need to push hard for the health care reform that the Obama administration is promoting.

Possibly, our legislators will kick the can toward health care reform, producing legislation in the next several days. The goal was that they would have come to conclusion by august 7, but there is a clear possibility that discussion of this legislation will continue after the recess. What needs to happen, now and later, is that we need to hear black voices raised in support of health care reform. We need to hear black voices put all of this in context. We need to make sure that we all understand how critical it is for people to have access to health insurance and to health care. In so man ways, access to health care is the foundation of our energy and survival. A community that has been economically marginalized gains much when health care is made available to the broadest range of people.

Health disparities are a function of the many racial inequities that plague our society. If you scratch an African American, she can tell you what she thought of the Henry Louis Gates arrest or the beer summit. How many can recite the details of the health legislation and the many ways it can enhance the African American community. Priorities, priorities. Health care reform will improve the health status of the African American community.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Your Black Medical News: Prominent Doctor Speaks on the Michael Jackson Case

For Immediate Release

Please Contact S Prewitt for Interviews at (901) 413-0203 or email

Prominent Black Physician Says Michael Jackson’s Doctor’s Actions were Inexcusable

Dr. Elaina George, an Otolaryngologist out of Atlanta, says that the doctor alleged to have killed Michael Jackson was not only unethical, but incredibly irresponsible in his choice of medications. Dr. Conrad Murray is subject to investigation after Jackson’s death was ruled a homicide in initial autopsy reports. But while many believe that Jackson’s death was an accidental occurrence, Dr. George states that the combination of drugs given to Jackson was almost likely to kill him.

“There was no way that harm would not have come to Mr. Jackson,” says Dr. George, who advocates for doctors on a regular basis. “It was beyond negligent to give him a mixture of three different kinds of sedatives, a muscle relaxant, an antidepressant in addition to Propofol, a general anesthetic that is only used in an operating room setting (because it can stop someone’s breathing). Each of these drugs by themselves can be lethal, but together it is a recipe that will almost definitely kill someone.”

Click to read more.

MJ’s Doctor Had Serious Financial Woes

Dr. Conrad Robert Murray, Michael JacksonAP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Pool Photographer

Hmmm...maybe that's why Dr. Conrad Murray is being so cooperative with the Los Angeles Police Department. And the Las Vegas Police Department. And the Clark County Sheriff's Department. And the Drug Enforcement Administration.

It seems it's not the good doctor's first time at the rodeo.

A check of Michael Jackson's physician's legal past has revealed everything from domestic violence charges (of which he was acquitted) to financial woes (which at one point included a bankruptcy filing) to his latest headache (you know, other than that whole target-of-a-manslaughter-investigation thing), the possibility that his Las Vegas home could soon be foreclosed upon.

Let's hope the feds treaded lightly during yesterday's search. Depreciation can be a real bitch.

Documents filed July 23 with the Clark County Recorder reveal that Murray could face foreclosure on his gated country club estate as soon as November. Though the timing on the filing may seem a bit like kicking Murray when he's down, Jackson's doctor reportedly fell more than $100,000 into debt on the home, with his last payment, of $15,000, being made in January of this year. (Which may be why Murray was so keen to stay in Jackson's good graces and keep the $150,000-a-month salary that came with it.)

As for Murray's less current troubles, here's a rundown of his legal lowlights:

Click to read.

Did Michael Jackson’s Doctor Give Him a Deadly Injection?

Singer Michael Jackson had lethal levels of the drug propofol in his blood when he died, according to court documents.

A search warrant filed in court showed toxicology reports found propofol in Michael Jackson's body.

A search warrant filed in court showed toxicology reports found propofol in Michael Jackson's body.

Los Angeles' coroner Dr. Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran reached that preliminary conclusion after reviewing toxicology results carried out on Jackson's blood, according to an affidavit.

The drug Diprivan, known by its generic name propofol, is administered intravenously in operating rooms as a general anesthetic, the manufacturer AstraZeneca told CNN.

A source close to the investigation told CNN that Dr. Conrad Murray is believed to have administered the drug to Jackson within 24 hours of his death on June 25.

Investigators have searched Murray's home and clinics for evidence related to the anesthetic propofol, according to documents filed in court.

The drug works as a depressant on the central nervous system.

"It works on your brain," said Dr. Zeev Kain, the chair of the anesthesiology department at the University of California --Irvine. "It basically puts the entire brain to sleep."



Click to read.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

How to Play the Insurance Game and Win


Dr. Elaina George, Medical Correspondent – 

For Americans, receiving heath care is like going to a casino, but here the typical rules don’t apply. In the healthcare casino, the medical insurance industry, Big Pharmaceutical Companies and hospitals make the rules to insure that the house wins every time. Over the years they have increased your stakes by increasing premiums, drug costs and hospital costs, while raking in windfall profits. The medical insurance industry has grown larger and more powerful by systematically fleecing patients and doctors. To hide the fact that they are playing with people’s health; they have been masters of distraction. The ever changing rules for patients and doctors have made it impossible to learn what you need to know. Moreover, it has placed doctors, who are the face of medicine, in a position where the patient has begun to question their motives. This has eroded the doctor patient relationship and has damaged the foundation of excellent medical care.

Over the next several weeks, we will examine how the game has been rigged so that you can finally understand the rules. Each week we will expose what you need to know to take back your power and put the odds back in your favor so you can win! This week we will examine the medical insurance industry.

Basic facts about the medical insurance industry:

· The Players - Top Medical Insurance CEOs

· Most of the insurance companies are for profit corporations

· Doctors do not receive money for ordering tests

· Insurance companies use pre-authorization to control what tests a doctor is allowed to order

· When insurance companies set a doctor’s fee of “usual and customary” it is an arbitrary fee devised by the insurance company. It is not based on the doctor’s actual cost of doing business and

· Insurance reimbursement rates are based on Medicare rates

· Premiums have risen to pay for the insurance industry’s cost of doing business (including shareholders and CEO salaries), while reimbursements for doctors have dropped by about 60-70% over the last 10 years

· Although approval for a patient’s care may be approved by the insurance company, there is no guarantee that the insurance company will pay the claim

· Insurance companies have subsidiaries that work with pharmaceutical companies in order to make money by selecting what drugs your doctor is allowed to prescribe to you.

· Insurance companies invade patient privacy by buying lists from pharmacy clearing houses that document what prescriptions you have ever gotten. They use this information to deny coverage to new and existing members based on a ‘pre-existing condition’ even if you had only filled a prescription once.

What you can do to protect yourself:

· Read your insurance contract and if you don’t understand it contact your insurance company or human resources and ask questions

· Choose coverage that fits your medical needs as well as your budget. If you have chronic medical problems make sure that you choose an insurance company with a large network of doctors so that you have choice.

· If you currently have a physician and you are happy with their care, ask them what insurance company they belong to and ask them about access – specifically, if the insurance mandates pre-certification for services.

· Before you go to your doctor know your benefits, don’t depend on the doctor’s office to do it. For example, if you have recently seen a doctor or had medical care, that information may not be updated. Therefore, the status of your deductibles or co-insurance may not be current and that can affect what you have to pay.

· If you have been denied medical care by your insurance company and you have exhausted their appeals process, but still feel that you have been unfairly denied, you should contact the insurance commissioner in your state. The insurance commissioner is the main regulatory authority that can change a decision that has been made unfairly.

· Open your insurance bill (also known as an explanation of benefits), it will detail what was done by the doctor or hospital, the amount the insurance company paid and the amount you have to pay. If you have questions about what was done call the doctor’s office or hospital and ask them to clarify what was done and why. Honest mistakes can be made and rectified in a timely way when you are proactive.

Next week, we will take a detailed look at the pharmaceutical industry. If you have any questions please send them to or

Dr Elaina George is a prominent Board certified Otolaryngologist who practices in Atlanta. She started her practice Peachtree ENT Center with a mission to practice state of the art medicine that is available to everyone, and has come to be known as, the patients’ advocate. Dr. George graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Biology. She received her Masters degree in Medical Microbiology at Long Island University, and received her medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. She completed her residency at Manhattan, Eye Ear & Throat Hospital. Her training included general surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital, pediatric ENT at The NY-Presbyterian Hospital, and head and neck oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. She has published in several scientific journals and presented her research at national meetings. You can listen to her radio show Medicine on Call, and read her blogs as a medical correspondent for Your Black World .

To have Dr. George as a speaker, please reach out to or call S. Prewitt at (901) 413-0203.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Science Must Determine if Athlete is a Woman or Not

World Athletics: Caster Semenya 800m gold medal overshadowed by gender controversy

No 1: Caster Semenya celebrates as she wins gold in Berlin Photo: AP

Semenya crowned a spectacular season by triumphing in 1min 55.45sec while Britain's Jenny Meadows produced a lifetime best of 1min 57.93sec to take the bronze - Britain's third medal of the championship. Fellow Briton Marilyn Okoro was eighth.

But instead of being able to celebrate her victory, Semenya found herself facing uncomfortable questions about whether she should really have been lining up in today's first-round heats of the men's 800m.

Click to read more.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Are Doctors to Blame for the High Cost of Healthcare?

Dr. Elaina George, a prominent family practice physician in Atlanta, has a bone to pick with President Obama. During various healthcare town hall meetings and press conferences, the president has villified doctors as the cause of the high cost of healthcare. But Dr. George doesn't agree.

As one of the few black doctors in America who is taking the time to speak out in the current healthcare debate, Dr. George says that the culprits in the high cost of healthcare are The American Medical Association, hospitals, big pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies. Here is how she breaks it down.

1) Our country has gotten away from preventing illness and is instead engaged in the high cost of managing disease. Dr. George explains in the interview below that rather than actually curing illnesses or preventing them, we simply try to manage them. Her argument, as with many others in the healthcare profession, is that this attitude is driven by the fact that pharmaceutical and insurance companies only maximize profits when people stay sick. Symptoms tend to be treated instead of the underlying cause of the illness, making problems worse in the long-term.

2) According to some physicians, the public option on healthcare may not be as great as it sounds. When it comes to the public option (which is being heavily debated right now), Dr. George argues that while the option may provide health coverage for many Americans who don't have it, it may not cause insurance companies to pay their fair share of the cost of healthcare reform. "The argument that the public option will drive down costs is disingenuous," says Dr. George. "How can a program designed to cover about 10 million people (as per the Congressional Budget Office) really exert any pressure on the health insurance industry when a company like Blue Cross and Blue Shield has over 30 million members and United Healthcare is even larger?"

Click to read.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dr. Elaina George Speaks on the Healthcare Debate


by Dr. Elaina George

The debate on healthcare reform is in full swing, but no one is paying attention to the long term effects.

I am for universal healthcare in theory. As a physician, I believe that it is a fundamental right. Unfortunately, the way the debate and pending legislation has been crafted, the outcome will result in unintended consequences.

As a physician in solo practice, I am in a unique position to see the outcome if we continue on the path that Congress is proposing in HR 3200.

  1. A single payer system that pays the same rate as Medicare or as the bill stipulates (5% above Medicare) will lead to LESS choice. People are overlooking the fact that most private physicians are currently NOT accepting new Medicare patients because they can’t afford to do so and stay open. There will be no reason for this to change if the reimbursement scale is adopted.

Unintended consequence: The network of private physicians would be smaller and more patients will be placed in a system of fewer physicians, less choice and longer waiting times to be seen. This would have the opposite effect – what is the point of universal healthcare if you don’t have quality physicians to provide it?

2. The proposed healthcare bill sets up a bureaucracy run by a National health insurance commissioner and sets up an insurance “self regulatory agency” – made up of national insurers, national agencies, and insurance producers. There are no physicians or patient advocates.

Click to read.

Friday, August 14, 2009

BET Puts on a Conference for Black Female Health

BET Foundation officials believe if anyone has the power to help family members get healthier, it's the woman in the house.

That's why the organization is bringing the BET Foundation Women's Health Symposium, Remembering Our Health, to Detroit for the first time Saturday.

"Our women's health symposium was designed to educate African-American women on how to better care for themselves because we've realized when it comes to health disparities, the leading person that can influence health disparities is the African-American female," says Debra Kilpatrick, director of women's health programs for the Washington, D.C.-based BET Foundation Inc.


The event, which is free but requires registration, runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Wayne State University Community Arts Auditorium and Student Center. It features Grammy-winning gospel great Vickie Winans as emcee and a special performance by R&B songstress Deborah Cox during the 3 p.m. plenary session.


Click to read.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Shortage of Primary Care Physicians May Cripple Our Nation

Luis Manriquez and Katherine Glass share a common -- and increasingly rare -- ambition: They both want to become family doctors.

"As a primary care doctor, you are a gatekeeper of the medical system," said Manriquez, 26, who with Glass is a first-year student at the University of Washington School of Medicine. "Primary care is where you can have the most immediate impact in affecting patients' lives by managing their health."

Still, Manriquez realizes that he's setting himself for considerable challenges.

For one thing, as a family doctor, Manriquez will probably make one-fourth the salary of a specialist while trying to pay down $140,000 on average in medical school debt.

"That's why only the most committed pursue primary care. Kudos to them," said Jonathan Weiner, professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

Then there are some intangible challenges.


Click to read.