Good riddance to all that

I heart New York – more specifically, the fifth annual Good Riddance Day in Times Square, when people can discard all the negative baggage of 2011 that they’d prefer not to carry into the new year.

Talk about catharsis.

According to the WNYC News Blog, people lined up Wednesday for their turn with the shredder, the Dumpster and the sledgehammer. One woman got rid of the ugly metal and Styrofoam brace she was forced to wear after breaking her wrist. Others took revenge on exes. Then there’s the dad who unloaded the plastic sick bucket he bought when his 10-year-old son was diagnosed with leukemia last year.

His son is now healthy, Rick Santoriella told WNYC-WQXR News. “So I’m going to smash this thing and we’re going to say good riddance to children’s blood cancer and leukemia.”

I have my own list of health-related pet peeves I want to consign to the Dumpster before bidding adieu to 2011.

In no particular order of importance:

- The constant equating of screening with prevention. They are not the same thing.

- Efforts to repeal the Accountable Care Act. Millions of young adults now have access to health coverage under their parents’ plan, health insurance exchanges are being created, the Medicare prescription drug coverage donut hole is gradually being eliminated, millions of dollars have been pumped into the National Health Service Corps to bring clinicians to rural and underserved communities… and we want to undo all of this?

- The continuing assault on Medicare and Medicaid. Concerns about the rising cost are well founded, but at whose expense? Among the unintended consequences of ratcheting down provider payments: More clinicians may simply stop seeing these patients.

- New restrictions imposed on access to information contained in the National Practitioner Data Bank, which tracks how state medical boards oversee problem doctors. The direction should be toward more transparency and accountability, not less.

- The scale in the doctor’s office. Unless there’s a specific medical reason to weigh the patient, no one needs to know.

- The word “veggie.” OK, I know this is petty. But it’s hard to have a serious conversation about nutrition in the U.S. when we use language that’s better suited to a children’s cartoon. Say it: “vegetables.”

That’s my list. Into the shredder with all of them! 2012 is a new year.

Readers, what would you send to the Dumpster?

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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