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BackPage Online, April 2019

doi: 10.1097/01.BACK.0000554580.51717.c1
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The Impact of Opioids on NFL Football Players

Casual observers often think of National Football League (NFL) players as being the epitome of health, vitality, and strength. However, many are wracked with pain during and after their careers—and turn to opioids to try to relieve it. According to one study, over a quarter of NFL players used opioids to relieve pain in the previous month. And about half of those of those players said they did not use the narcotics as prescribed. Unfortunately, many go through harrowing experiences with addiction. Here is a link to an excellent New York Times article on their struggles:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/02/sports/nfl-opioids-.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

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The Real Costs of Spine Care Are Unknown

Numerous commentators in the spine field have emphasized the need to lower costs and increase the value of spine care services in the United States. However, the true costs of spine care in most large healthcare systems are unknown. The prices listed by healthcare systems are often sheer speculation, and highly inflated. Furthermore, most systems have never identified the true costs of treatment overheads: what is the real cost of an hour in an operating suite or a physical therapy clinic? And the prices offered to healthcare systems by drug and device companies vary from system to system, sometimes dramatically. Here is a link to an article on hospital prices from the Lown Institute:

https://lowninstitute.org/news/blog/why-cant-we-get-real-hospital-prices/

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Transparent Pricing Regulation Highlights Crazy Variation in Posted Costs

Recent federal policies require hospitals to offer transparent pricing of services, so that patients can shop around and find good deals. However, when Kaiser Health News did a study of pricing at acute care hospitals, they found pricing that varied as much as several fold, sometimes in the same community. For instance, the price of a brain MRI with contrast varied from $1721 in Minneapolis to $8793 in Los Angeles. Here is a link to the article:

https://khn.org/news/transparent-hospital-pricing-exposes-wild-fluctuation-even-within-miles/

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