- Del Meyer, MD - https://delmeyer.net -

One Hundred Forty-four Years Ago

In 1853 the City of Sacramento built its first City/County hospital to care for the indigent sick located at 10th and L streets. The hospital served the community for twelve years. A larger hospital replaced the first in 1870, and following its destruction by fire in 1878, a new hospital was constructed, containing 150 beds. The hospital treated only patients who could prove both their residence in the county and their indigence.

Forty five years ago (May 1952)
The editorial dealt with polypharmacy, the compounding of remedies containing many ingredients. He felt the moon must be right for the practice was again flourishing as he describe an adjunct for obesity that contain fourteen different substances–which could only have been dreamed up by a former employee of the Pullman Company. But he also deplored the little capsules sole by pharmaceutical houses which didn’t allow for individual variations. He concluded, “If this present tendency keeps up it is confidently predicted that the future pharmacist will need only to know how to read, how to count, and how to use the cash register.” … The Editorial Board of the Bulletin gave a new assignment to a member to interview patients, friends, and relatives to find out what they are saying about the medical profession. The first column started this month titled, “On Long Waiting Periods in the Doctor’s Office.” … There was a book review on “Cost of Medical Care” by Emily H Huntington. A survey of 455 families in the San Francisco area reveals that the average annual expenditure per family for medical care was 6% or their total income; 40% required no medical care during the year; 45% had health insurance; and 20% were covered by a pre-payment plan. Mrs Huntington stressed that 17% were unable to pay for their medical care from current earnings and found it necessary to either draw on their savings or borrow money… (Editorial comment was: “One cannot help but wonder what this economist thinks savings should be for.”) The average expenditure of the women was five times the amount spent by their husbands; 85% went to MDs (yearly cost $115) and 15% went to chiropractors, osteopaths, Christian Scientists, etc. (Yearly cost $45). “Advice to families to budget in advance for medical expenses is futile,” she said. “The only way that real protection can be accomplished is through a system of Compulsory Health Insurance.” (Editorial comment was: “Perhaps the kindest comment that can be made is that this work appears to be in the category of research-with-a-foregone-conclusion.”)

Thirty years ago (May 1967)
CMA delegates handled 107 resolutions with efficiency. A resolution to take no official stand on the recently proposed therapeutic abortion law was defeated; elimination of Medicare’s 3-day hospitalization requirement prior to admission to an extended care facility was encouraged; called for CMA to take all possible steps to eliminate the drug formulary under the Medi-Cal program; urged caution in the new field of weight reduction; a request to have airlines not provide complimentary cigarettes with meals was turned down; supported legislation requiring motorcycle operators to wear properly designed protective headgear; Medical Schools should explore ways to attract and train general practitioners; work with the California Bar Assn to alleviate the problem of vexatious litigation; explore education programs to the profession and to the public in regard to marihuana, LSD and other hallucinatory drugs. . . Reported that Americans are increasing their spending for health care, but they still spent more for liquor and tobacco ($21 billion) than for hospital, drug, and doctor bills combined ($20 billion). Physicians received 27.7 cents of the health care dollar, essentially unchanged from 20 years earlier at 28 cents. . . The problem concerning IRS’ position on unrelated advertising revenue and how it effects the Sacramento Bulletin was reviewed by the Executive Director, Bill Dochterman.