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SSM – Smoking Gun

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The only way to spend less is to spend less

Öèôðîâàÿ ðåïðîäóêöèÿ íàõîäèòñÿ â èíòåðíåò-ìóçåå Gallerix.ruBased in St. Louis, SSM Health was founded in 1872 by the Franciscan Sisters of Mary. It cares for people in a variety of settings including 19 hospitals, physician offices, a pharmacy benefit company, an insurance company, nursing homes, home care, hospice, telehealth and a technology company. It has affiliations with several rural hospitals, while operating facilities in four states: Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri and Oklahoma.

HealthFair

HealthFair provides consumers easy access to affordable health screenings using mobile health centers, hospital quality equipment and highly trained health professionals. HealthFair eliminates inconvenience and gives control back to the consumer by providing the right combination of tests at the lowest possible cost – all in one convenient 45 minute appointment.

Give the consumer control of their healthcare.

No prescription needed.

Bring state-of-the-art preventive healthcare to your community.

Screening packages are priced affordably.

Short summary of interventions as described by SSM and its vendor, HealthFair:

IMG_20150204_085031091_HDR[1]

Such a deal!

A package of six screenings, available for a limited time promotional price of $179 (total value $2,300), with an additional Know-Your-Numbers lipid panel assessment for just $99. Combine both offers and get an additional $20 off, with a total price of just $258. The six-test package of screenings is:

  • Echocardiogram ultrasound
  • Stroke/carotid artery ultrasound
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm ultrasound
  • EKG
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD) test
  • Hardening of the arteries test (also called the Arterial Stiffness Index or ASI)

The results will be reviewed by a board-certified physician and sent to the screenee within one week. Recipients are encouraged to share the results with their personal physician.

IMG_20150204_085105556_HDR

Wow! More than 1M lives saved. But, who’s counting?

HealthFair has done over 1,000,000 screenings since 1989 and saved “thousands of lives.”

Materials being reviewed

  • Cover letter
  • Flier
  • Flier insert

Questions for SSM

What follow-up and data tracking has SSM done on HealthFair’s claim that since 1989 it has done over 1 million screenings and saved “thousands of lives?”

ANS: Refused to answer

If the results are sent from a bus to a HealthFair doctor to a client that the screening vendor likely never sees again, how is it possible to know that thousands of lives have been saved?

ANS: Refused to answer

What’s the basis for the claim that these screenings are recommended starting at age 45?

ANS: Refused to answer

Why does the flier insert allude to the value of annual exams (“Think an annual check-up is enough?”) when there is no supporting evidence for annual exams in the literature, and in fact, there is a growing consensus against doing them? Even the Obama advisor who helped codify them in the Affordable Care Act now acknowledges reality: in generally healthy adults, they are worthless.

ANS: Refused to answer

How much of the $179 fee goes to SSM? Even though the marketing materials aim to convince consumers this is a great value ($2,300 worth of testing for just $179), and that’s why SSM is doing this, how does it make economic sense for SSM other than in the hopes of generating followup business from all the true and (much more likely, according to the authorities, false positive) diagnoses?

ANS: Refused to answer

How many unnecessary physician visits and subsequent diagnostic tests and therapeutic procedures happen after these screenings? Who is tracking the cost and medical consequences of all that inappropriate care?

ANS: Refused to answer

Quizzify

We actually answer questions.

What do the United States Preventive Services Task Force and the responsible evidence-based medical literature say about each of these screenings?

ANS: Refused to answer

Well, actually, we answer that question for everyone in our blog post related to this Smoking Gun. The post is available here.


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