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55 Questions About the Future
Of Physician Reimbursement

Elyas Bakhtiari, Managing Editor

This week CMS offered a glimpse at a possible replacement for Medicare's fee-for-service physician reimbursement system, and so far, there are far more questions than answers about what physicians can expect. Fifty-five questions to be precise, according to an "issues paper" that accompanied Tuesday's six-hour public listening session on developing a transition plan. [Read More]
  December 11, 2008

Editor's Picks
Operating by text message
This is impressive. A British surgeon amputated the arm of a wounded teenager in Africa using instructions sent from a colleague via text message. He had never performed the operation before and couldn't reach his colleague, who was on vacation, over the phone. But he eventually received a response in the form of two text messages detailing the procedure along with the words 'Easy!' and 'Good luck'. [Read More]
The downside of sleep
This Slate article considers the unintended consequences of trying to improve safety by limiting resident work hours, and it looks overseas for comparisons: "In 1985, when New Zealand restricted residents to 72 hours of work per week, hospitals faced a sudden shortage and ended up hiring more senior doctors to fill the gap." Then there's the argument that residents won't be properly trained if their hours are limited, and the mistakes of ill-trained doctors will simply replace mistakes of tired and overworked doctors. Personally, I'm in favor of some work hour restrictions, but both sides seem to have valid points. [Read More]
The doctor is out
Elderly patients are increasingly having trouble finding a primary care doctor because of physician concerns about Medicare reimbursement, according to the Washington Post. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission reported last week that nearly 30% of the 2.6 million Medicare beneficiaries seeking a new primary care physician between September 2007 and October 2008 had trouble finding one, up from 25% in 2005. We've been hearing these warnings for years, every time physicians are faced with a potential Medicare payment cut. There's really only one way to fix the problem, and CMS isn't going to increase payments to physicians by much anytime soon. [Read More]
Doctors call emergency care "national disgrace"
The annual report card by the American College of Emergency Physicians gave the nation a D- grade for access to emergency care, saying the system was "fraught with significant challenges and under more stress than ever before." The report found that emergency room visits had grown by 32% in the last decade as the number of emergency rooms had fallen by 7%. Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, and Rhode Island received the best scores, while Arkansas came in last. [Read More]
Business Rx
Prepare for OIG, CMS scrutiny
With the release of the 2009 OIG Work Plan and CMS' plan to audit 500 hospitals for Stark compliance, now is the time to prepare for greater scrutiny of compensation arrangements and financial relationships. [Read More]
Physician News
Georgia providers in financial pain as bills go unpaid or patients postpone treatment
Atlanta Journal-Constitution - December 8, 2008
Placebo effect: Survey gives life to ethical debate
USA Today - December 11, 2008
Montana becomes third state to allow doctor-assisted suicide
Wall Street Journal (blog) - December 11, 2008
38% of adults use alternative medicine
Washington Post - December 11, 2008
Audio Conferences/Webcasts
January 6, 2009: Service Line Strategies Workshop 2009: Women's Health
December 16, 2008: What Your Practice Is Worth: Calculating Fair Market Value
December 15, 2008: New and Proven Medical Staff Models: Align Hospital, Physicians, and Community Goals
From HealthLeaders Magazine
What's Your Brand?
HealthLeaders November 2008
That?s what your patients want to know. But hospitals are discovering the same old differentiators aren?t good enough anymore. Is YOUR organization ready to deliver on its brand promise? [Read More]
PhysicianLeaders Forum

Web-based Patient Education Works: Contributor Charles E. Morton, III, MD, recounts his early success with switching from seminars to a web-based program for pre-, peri-, and postoperative patient education programs. [Read More]
Audio Feature

What's the New Medical Staff Model? Richard Sheff, MD, chair of the Greeley Company, discusses how many hospital leaders are trying to reinvent more effective medical staff models. [Listen Now]
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Resources From HealthLeaders Media

Improve patient satisfaction, CAHPS scores, and quality with the strategies and tools in Physician Entrepreneurs: The Quality Patient Experience.
Learn how to harness the power of a large organization, either by expanding the practice or partnering with hospitals, private investors, or other physician groups, with Physician Entrepreneurs: Strength in Numbers.
Read about the latest business strategies to help you grow beyond traditional practice models in Physician Entrepreneurs: Going Retail.
Start marketing your practice or refine your existing marketing program with Physician Entrepreneurs: Marketing Toolkit, a new HealthLeaders Media book that combines expert tips with marketing samples, tools, forms, and checklists that will help grow your practice.
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