HealthLeaders Media PhysicianLeaders - July 23, 2009 | Are Doctors Better Off Without the SGR? View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Are Doctors Better Off Without the SGR?
Elyas Bakhtiari, Managing Editor

The AMA's endorsement last week of the House healthcare reform bill caught some by surprise. There were no significant caveats or conditional demands in the AMA's letters to the House committees behind the bill, despite grumblings earlier in the year about a public option. But there is a reason behind the AMA's acquiescence to reform: It provides an opportunity to once and for all break away from the Sustainable Growth Rate formula that keeps physician reimbursement depressed and annually on the verge of double-digit cuts. [Read More]
  July 23, 2009

Editor's Picks
New rules for outpatient surgery
A new office-based surgery law went into effect in New York recently, requiring that physicians' offices that perform surgery with moderate or deep sedation be accredited by one of three independent agencies to make sure they are meeting standards of safety and care. Could we see this nationwide soon? Many argue that this is necessary to ensure that outpatient surgery doesn't fly under the radar when it comes to safety oversight. But for doctors, accreditation will likely mean more administrative costs and hoops to jump through. [Read More]
Docs challenge pharma perks policy
A group of doctors, called the Association of Clinical Researchers and Educators, claims recent rules in Massachusetts and other states banning gifts from pharmaceutical companies to physicians stifle innovation. Why doctors can't innovate without meals or small gifts from drug companies, the group doesn't say. I'll buy that collaboration between clinical researchers and pharmaceutical groups is valuable, but this group has a long way to go to convince me that gifts and meals are necessary to the research process. [Read More]
AMA ranks insurers
The AMA released its second annual National Health Insurer Report Card, ranking payers on payment timeliness, denials, and other related metrics. In the report, the AMA compared Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Coventry, Health Net, Humana, UnitedHealthcare, and Medicare in 18 measures. Some of the payers improved from last year, particularly on how well they pay the rates stated in the negotiated contracts. Interestingly, Medicare scored the best on that measure. The full report card is available online. [Read More]
Docs use gag orders to quell criticism
This is an issue that has come up before and will probably continue to be a concern as online physician ranking becomes the norm. Some doctors are requiring patients to sign agreements that prohibit online postings or commentary in media outlets without prior written consent. Many experts say these gag orders are unethical and unenforceable, but beyond that, they probably aren't going to be effective in the long term. Online healthcare consumerism isn't going away, and physicians will likely be better off embracing it and learning to increase and promote positive rankings, rather than trying to silence critics. [Read More]
Business Rx
Prepare Your Practice to Comply with Red Flags Regs
When Congress passed the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, little did healthcare organizations suspect that they would be on the hook for yet another government mandate. But that's exactly what's happened, and the August 1 deadline for implementing procedures to comply with the regulations, known as the Identity Theft Red Flags Rule, is fast approaching. [Read More]
Physician News
Doctors' payments snag health bill
Wall Street Journal - July 20, 2009
Saying sorry pays off for University of Michigan doctors
Associated Press - July 21, 2009
Two nurses who complained about Texas physician are indicted
Fort Worth Star-Telegram - July 20, 2009
UCLA surgeon faces probe of research
Wall Street Journal - July 22, 2009

Audio Conferences/Webcasts
August 18: Advanced Service Line Marketing: New Orthopedics Growth Strategies
August 20: Service Lines Strategies Workshop 2009: Gastroenterology
On Demand: Service Line Strategies Workshop 2009: Spine Care
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Time For 'Dr. Next'?
HealthLeaders July 2009
Generation X and its life-balancing, tech-oriented, team-playing doctors is taking over. But what kind of healthcare will they give us? [Read More]
Service Line Management
Prepare for the Cancer Boom
Aligning the right cancer care team and utilizing the appropriate technology is essential for maintaining a patient-centered service line. [Read More]
PhysicianLeaders Forum

Physician Retention is More Important than Ever: Andy Guenther, a physician recruiter with Delta Physician Placement, argues that physician retention policies are crucial in today's difficult recruitment environment and offers strategies proven to retain physicians. [Read More]
Audio Feature

Generational Assets, Liabilities: This audio feature offers a discussion between Physicians Editor Elyas Bakhtiari and Richard Cogley, MD, chief medical officer for Saint Vincent Health System in Erie, PA. He speaks about the generational differences revealed in the HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey 2009, and the implications for practice priorities, recruitment, and loyalty. [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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