HealthLeaders Media PhysicianLeaders - June 11, 2009 | First Healthcare Reform Bill Leaves Many Unanswered Questions View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
First Healthcare Reform Bill Leaves Many Unanswered Questions
Elyas Bakhtiari, Managing Editor

It's here. After months of speculation and roundtables and public pledges, the first healthcare reform bill emerged this week. It certainly won't be the only bill, but it marks the beginning of what should be an interesting, and probably volatile, few months for the healthcare industry. But for all of the answers in the 615-page draft of the "Affordable Health Choices Act," many questions remain, particularly for physicians. And the picture becomes less clear when other sources of healthcare reform legislation are considered. [Read More]
  June 11, 2009

Editor's Picks
AMA opposes public plan
This actually surprised me. Until now, the AMA has for the most part avoided controversy in the healthcare reform debate, and it remains committed to the goal of providing coverage for all. The organization's problem with the public plan, however, is that it could potentially drive private insurers out of business. Physician lobbies have to walk a fine line politically. If they campaign too aggressively against a public option, they risk losing support for debt relief, reimbursement increases, and malpractice reform. It will be interesting to hear what President Obama says when he visits Chicago next week to address the AMA directly. [Read More]
Medicare, start the bidding
Peter Bach, MD, has a very interesting column in the New York Times about a potential payment solution for Medicare. He proposes a "reverse Dutch auction" where Medicare would set a target number of physicians for an oversupplied region and then offer to sign up specialists at a certain payment rate. If there are too few physicians, it would increase the rate until there is no longer a shortage. The idea is to fix physician distribution problems by letting a market adjust payment rates regionally. I'm not sure if it would work, but it is thought provoking. [Read More]
Nonphysician providers improve specialists' bottom lines
Physicians sometimes bristle at the idea of nonphysician providers taking on more clinical responsibilities. But if managed correctly, more nonphysician provider involvement is about improving efficiency, not losing turf. A study from the California Healthcare Foundation found that physician assistants and nurse practitioners save physicians time and free them up to focus on more complex patients. The report concluded "these models generally improved access, reduced wait times, and proved financially sustainable." [Read More]
Florida governor backs out-of-network payments
Over vehement objections of major Florida businesses, some health insurers, and consumer groups, Gov. Charlie Crist signed into law a bill that will require insurers to send payments of claims directly to out-of-network doctors, if the patient allows. Before, insurance companies were sending the payment to patients, who often didn't forward the money to the doctor. The insurers are worried about out-of-network physicians charging whatever they want for procedures, however. Or maybe they're just worried about losing their leverage. [Read More]
Business Rx
Philosophical Agreement Crucial to Merger Success
Mergers and acquisitions are on the increase, and they bring with them a host of compensation-related issues. Knowing what they are and dealing with them early in the process can go a long way in cementing the new relationship. [Read More]
Physician News
Fixing healthcare starts with the doctors
Washington Post - June 10, 2009
AMA looks to put brakes on debt load of med students
Wall Street Journal Health Blog - June 11, 2009
Emory psychiatrist reprimanded over outside work with pharma companies
Atlanta Journal-Constitution - June 11, 2009
House bill would create artificial joints registry
New York Times - June 11, 2009

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PhysicianLeaders Forum

HIM Professionals Help Physician Practices Now More Than Ever: As physician practices move away from paper-based record keeping and into the era of electronic medical records, the caliber of staff needed to coordinate, manage, and protect patient information grows exponentially. With all of these new challenges, how can physician practices successfully make the transition to electronic records? [Read More]
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Surviving the New P4P: Joint Surgery and Hospital-Physician Alignment: Physician and hospital leaders from the joint replacement service line discuss how the changing healthcare landscape will affect hospital and physician partnerships toward quality improvement. [Listen Now]

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