Neck out of alignment? Or is your horoscope forecasting a general decline in health? Your neighborhood HMO may soon provide a solution.
According to a survey by Landmark Healthcare, a Sacramento, Calif.-based managed-care firm, the people who brought you drive-through baby deliveries are now seriously considering alternative therapies.
Of 156 HMO medical and marketing directors surveyed in 13 states, 58% said they intend to offer alternative therapies to subscribers within the next two years.
The therapies most likely to be offered are chiropractic and acupuncture, say 39% of those surveyed. Another 25% said massage therapy was in the offing, while acupressure and biofeedback were to be offered by 20%.
The HMOs appear to be succumbing to market rather than planetary forces. Seventy percent of those surveyed acknowledged an increase in requests for alternative therapies from subscribers in recent years, while 38% thought offering such services would increase enrollment.
Food 'n . . . . herpes?SmithKline Beecham may be pushing the envelope of good taste with its new World Wide Web site, even by the lax standards of the Internet.
The drugmaker's site is called Cafe Herpe, a trendy virtual bistro where food talk mixes with an effort to educate the public about genital herpes and the company's antiviral drug Famvir, which is used to treat the disease.
No doubt genital herpes is a difficult subject for many sufferers to discuss openly. And SmithKline astutely seized upon the Web as a nonthreatening way to reach the estimated 55 million Americans with the disease. "So far, the site has registered several thousand hits, and visitors have left overwhelmingly positive comments," a SmithKline spokeswoman said.
But it's hard to browse the site without being startled by the mixing of food metaphors and clinical information. For example, the "buffet" section pitches "a mixture of viral facts buffet style." At the same time, a visitor is "tempted" by the virtual "grilled prawns, or the country ham with homemade salsa."
Meanwhile "Le Menu," running down the left side of the same screen, features such appetite-killing choices as "virology" and "herpes virus briefing" as well as an awareness quiz.
We couldn't agree more with SmithKline Vice President Eddie Gray, who said, "There is nothing quite like Cafe Herpe currently on line." But should there be? Judge for yourself at http: www.cafeherpe.com.
Just right.Nine was too many, but seven seems just about right.
That's the number of "values" the American Hospital Association should include in its strategic plan, according to the AHA's nine regional policy boards. The boards reviewed the latest draft of the plan and its seven values that "shape AHA goals" during the boards' recent round of meetings across the country.
The boards gave the revised plan and values a thumbs up, according to AHA spokesman Richard Wade. Association staffers had to revamp the list of values after the boards earlier this year considered them to be too plentiful, redundant and absent of passion.
The revised value roster eliminates "public trust" and "inclusiveness," which are incorporated in the definitions of the surviving seven values. They are access, accountability, excellence, integrity, leadership, pluralism and responsibility. Wade said the AHA board of trustees is expected to approve the final list of values at its meeting later this month.
More than funds raised.Officials at 730-bed Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago were apologetic after a fund-raising dinner it sponsored apparently made many guests sick.
About 200 people who attended the Nov. 16 event later reported food-poisoning symptoms such as fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. They were among 800 people at the annual Lynn Sage Cancer Benefit at Chicago's Navy Pier. Chicago Department of Health investigators were interviewing those who ate at the event to identify the cause of their illnesses.
Speaking of food . . . . Apparently, some people actually like hospital food, even leftovers.
Two men have been charged with breaking into the intensive-care unit at Albuquerque, N.M.-based Presbyterian Hospital and trying, but failing, to take leftover food from patients' trays, police said.
"I was amazed . . . when I heard about it," said Anne Kircher, a hospital spokeswoman. "I thought it was a bad joke."
But taking leftovers from trays stacked on a cart is "not quite as bad as walking into Aunt Emma's room and stealing her Jell-O. It's not quite as slimy," she said.
Anthony Valencia of Belen, N.M., and Fitzgerald Vandever of Grants, N.M., both 20, were arrested last week at the hospital, police said.
Police said the men were in possession of a hospital employee's backpack and some doughnuts from an employee lounge when they were apprehended. Though the tray cart had been disturbed, they didn't have any leftovers, Kircher said.
Primate care.The death of a chimpanzee being treated by doctors in the emergency room at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar, Calif., has raised health and legal issues.
The primate was brought in by unidentified filmmakers who were used to having medical doctors treat their animals. Soon after it arrived at the hospital, the sick, 2-week-old chimp died of an unspecified illness it had suffered since birth, said Carolyn Rhee, chief operating officer at Olive View.
Treating a chimpanzee in a hospital was called highly unusual by health officials. The California Department of Health Services was alerted Monday.
"Right now our investigation is centering on transmission of infection," said hospital Administrator Melinda Anderson. "We can't yet get into the who, what, where and why."
County infection control officials began an investigation into the incident earlier this week, and a commercial laboratory was testing for infections. Anderson said no infections were detected.
"It was a very sick little animal, and they wanted to help it," said Sharon Wanglin, public information officer for the county Department of Health Services. "But you have to be licensed to treat them," and the hospital was not, she said.