How much does a hip replacement cost?
That's hard to say -- really hard to say. Researchers report in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine that only 16 percent of U.S. hospitals surveyed were able to say how much a hip operation would cost a potential patient when asked, and those that answered, quoted prices that differed by more than $100,000. When the hospital and the doctor were both contacted, it was possible to get a price 47 percent of the time.
What is the latest on the controversy over Russian adoptions?
The Russian ban on adopting Russian children put in place in December is still in effect and has driven one U.S. adoption agency out of business. Adoption ARK, based in Buffalo Grove, Ill., is shutting down, saying its program in Russia had provided more than half of its income. Two adoption agencies in independent Kyrgyzstan abruptly shut down Friday due to financial troubles, a sudden new setback for 15 American families trying to complete adoptions. Kyrgyzstan suspended foreign adoptions in 2008 and again last year after a brief resumption, mostly to corruption-related problems.
What would be an unusual thing to do on Valentine's Day?
If you and your sweetheart like unusual adventures, you might enjoy taking a tour of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Brooklyn's Greenpoint section. The facility is offering not two, but three Valentine's Day tours this year due to "overwhelming demand." One of the highlights is the plant's giant egg-shaped digesters, which break down noxious waste into harmless sludge and gas.