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Revisiting the EMR Stimulus Math
Elyas Bakhtiari, Managing Editor

When President Obama signed the economic stimulus bill a couple of weeks ago, I suggested that, with incentives to offset the costs of adoption on the way, it was time for physicians to prepare for the switch. Not everyone agreed, however. And because I don't work in a practice environment and am not as familiar with some of the operational hassles and implementation obstacles, I want to give the counterpoints plenty of consideration. [Read More]
  March 5, 2009

Editor's Picks
Healthcare Summit: All Sectors Called on to Cut Costs
Key players with a stake in this afternoon's healthcare summit with President Obama should be prepared to "give up a little bit of something" to address skyrocketing healthcare costs and help fashion legislation that the president can sign this year, according to a senior White House official. Here, my colleague John Commins provides an analysis of what to expect from the summit, where about 120 people from the across the healthcare spectrum, as well as labor and business leaders, and Congressional Republicans and Democrats have been called to discuss healthcare reform. [Read More]
Obama budget promises payment reform
It doesn't elaborate on how, but the preliminary budget released by President Obama last week includes the goal of reforming the physician reimbursement system as part of the $630 billion "down payment" toward healthcare reform. It was a little more detailed regarding hospital payments, proposing a bundled payment system that would reimburse for a hospitalization plus the 30 days following a patient's release. That payment would presumably also include any physician fees related to the hospitalization. In both cases, there's a lot of talk about including incentives for "high-quality care rather than simply more care." [Read More]
Thoughts on AMGA 2009
Earlier this week I traveled to Las Vegas for the AMGA annual conference, and reported on some of my experiences in blog postings. During an interesting pre-conference workshop on "How to Groom the Next Generation of Physician Leaders," J. Gregory Stovall, MD, senior vice president of medical affairs at Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics in Texas, described physician leadership development in four steps using a gardening/farming analogy. With market trends forcing more groups to consider merging in order to grow or stay afloat in their market, physician leaders should read about a panel discussion I attended about a strategic merger among three medical groups. And on the conference's last day, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee gave a speech about turning his health around after being diagnosed with Type II diabetes, and how a healthier America is key to reform efforts.
More scrutiny for physician kickbacks
In what has become a trend lately, the federal government and prosecutors continue their quest to crack down on illegal kickbacks to doctors from drug and device companies. Within a few months, officials plan to file civil and criminal charges against a number of surgeons who they say demanded profitable consulting agreements from device makers in exchange for using their products, the New York Times reports. The Times also reported earlier this week that students and faculty a Harvard Medical School have organized a movement intent on exposing and curtailing drug industry influence in their classrooms and laboratories, as well as in Harvard's affiliated teaching hospitals and institutes. They object to the influence of drug companies in the school's educational curriculum, and say it may be hurting its elite reputation and affecting its teaching. [Read More]
Docs try to stop negative reviews
Patient reviews are becoming more common as consumer ratings services expand into the medical field, but some doctors are trying to avoid any bad influence on potential customers by asking patients to agree to what amounts to a gag order that bars them from posting negative comments online. For a fee, Greensboro, NC-based Medical Justice provides doctors with a standardized waiver agreement. Patients who sign agree not to post online comments about the doctor, "his expertise and/or treatment." Medical Justice notifies participating doctors when a negative rating appears on a Web site, and, if the author's name is known, physicians can use the signed waivers to get the sites to remove offending opinions. [Read More]
Business Rx
Make Your EMR Transition a Smooth One
Although the benefits of EMR technology are well documented, going paperless is a complicated process that changes the way physicians and staff members handle almost every task. But proper training and preparation can make for a smooth transition. [Read More]
Physician News
Is there a doctor in the mouse?
Wall Street Journal - March 5, 2009
A second state lets doctors lend help in suicide
New York Times - March 5, 2009
Doctors seek fees at time of service
Washington Post - March 3, 2009
A hurdle for health reform: Patients and their doctors
New York Times - March 3, 2009

Audio Conferences/Webcasts
March 20, 2009: 5 Ways to Improve the Patient Experience at Your Hospital
March 16, 2009: Solving Your Nurse Shortage: Long-Term Strategies That Work
On Demand: ED Overhaul 2009: Five Improvements to Make Today
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Back to Basics
HealthLeaders February 2009
The strategy for surviving the economic downturn? Invest in core strengths, scrutinize staffing and operations, seize partnership opportunities—and get down to work. [Read More]
Service Line Management
Essential and Expensive
Patient demand for intensive care services continues to rise—but ICUs cost a ton of money. Here's how some providers are making intensive care worth their financial while. [Read More]
PhysicianLeaders Forum

Hybrid Concierge Medicine Offers Hope for Primary Care: Contributor Wayne Lipton looks at how a hybrid model of medicine that combines both concierge and traditional payment options could improve the quality of care while improving physicians' financial outlook. [Read More]
Audio Feature

Set Standards to Avoid Conflict of Interest: Kenneth Irons, MD, chief of regional and neighborhood clinics for Duluth Clinic, talks about his organization's policy that set guidelines for how physicians and employees relate to pharmaceutical representatives. [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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