HealthLeaders Media PhysicianLeaders - May 7, 2009 | Can Specialists Save Primary Care? View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Can Specialists Save Primary Care?
Elyas Bakhtiari, Managing Editor

The problem with most solutions to the primary care shortage, including the increased reimbursements that I wrote about last week, is that meaningful changes won't be seen for several years. But perhaps we're missing an obvious solution by thinking only in terms of training a fresh group of primary care physicians. What if current physicians—specialists—could be retrained to fill gaps in primary care coverage? [Read More]
  May 7, 2009
Editor's Picks
Massachusetts may put docs on a budget
A state commission in Massachusetts is looking to radically change payments to doctors and hospitals, and the current idea being floated sounds a lot like capitation. Lawmakers are looking at "a set payment for each patient that covers all of a person's care for an entire year," according to the Boston Globe. They hope to avoid the pitfalls of capitation by paying doctors more for very sick patients and eliminating the incentive to cherry pick patients. Massachusetts is feeling pressure to get healthcare costs under control, and this may help. But with federal payment reform potentially around the corner, it seems more prudent for the state to wait just a little while longer to see what comes of that. [Read More]
ER docs say HHS chief 'uninformed'
But are they right? Kathleen Sebelius appeared Sunday on NBC's Meet The Press and said, "One of the reasons people visit emergency rooms is that we have far too many Americans who don't have health coverage, who don't have a doctor to call, who don't have a health home." That seems pretty accurate to me. The American College of Emergency Physicians responded that only 12% of emergency visits are for non-urgent conditions. But the point is that many of the urgent conditions could be prevented if we had a better primary care network and better health system. To me this looks just like a case of ED physicians getting defensive about their turf. We're seeing a lot of that lately, and frankly, it is hurting more than it's helping. [Read More]
East coast doctors versus west coast doctors
This is an interesting blog post from a newly-minted psychiatrist comparing the practice styles of physicians on the east and west coasts. The medical hierarchy is more obvious on the east coast, and doctors in that region tend to do more physical work, like blood draws and patient transports, she observes. She also thinks east coast physicians tend to be more blunt when they communicate. These are just the observations of one physician, but if you've noticed similar differences, I'd love to hear about them. [Read More]
Boston leads nation in physician wait times
In Boston, it takes 70 days to see an obstetrician/gynecologist, 63 days to see a family physician, 54 days to see a dermatologist, 40 days to see an orthopedic surgeon, and 21 days to see a cardiologist, according to a new survey by physician recruiters Merritt Hawkins & Associates. Philadelphia and Los Angeles are next on the list, with average doctor appointment wait times exceeding 45 days in some specialties, followed by Houston, Washington, DC, San Diego, Minneapolis, Dallas, Miami, New York, Denver, Portland, Seattle, Detroit, and Atlanta. [Read More]
Business Rx
Personal Branding 101 for Physicians
How should the practice portray itself to the public? And how does it differentiate itself from its competitors? If employees and physicians are not in harmony with the brand promise and are not acting in accord with the positioning platform, no amount of publicity or PR will overcome this dissonance. [Read More]
Physician News
AHRQ urges patients to quiz their doctors
Washington Post - May 5, 2009
The surgeon and the torture memos
New York Times - May 7, 2009
When bad advice is the best advice
New York Times - May 7, 2009
Hurt by economy, plastic surgeons find hope in new products
New York Times - May 7, 2009

Audio Conferences/Webcasts
June 26, 2009: ICU Overhaul 2009: Strategies to Reduce Costs and Improve Quality
June 17, 2009: HIPAA Changes: New Compliance Strategies for New Marketing Models
May 12, 2009: Service Lines Strategies Workshop: Cardiovascular Physician Alignment
On Demand: Marketing Neurosciences: Service Line Strategies for Marketers
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Jump . . . or Get Pushed
HealthLeaders April 2009
The tough decisions you don't want to make now—but may have to. [Read More]
Service Line Management
Redefining Cardio
The cardiovascular service line remains a dependable revenue generator for many hospitals across the country. But a shifting market full of new options for patients means organizations must find ways to differentiate themselves to keep it that way. [Read More]
PhysicianLeaders Forum

Strategic Planning Begins With The Basics: Contributor Susan Schettino-Genrich, CMM, CPC, explores some of the steps physician practices need to take to ensure continued success and growth while dealing with the economic downturn. [Read More]
Audio Feature

Partners in the Cardio Service Line: Peggy Naas, MD, discusses various ways to structure service lines in ways that partner with physicians rather than direct them as in a traditional employer/employee relationship. [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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