HealthLeaders Media PhysicianLeaders - July 30, 2009 | Reform Bills Still Reward Quantity over Quality View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Reform Bills Still Reward Quantity over Quality
Elyas Bakhtiari, Managing Editor

Some say President Obama recently insulted the integrity of an entire profession whose members are frequently forced to make stressful decisions with the best information available. I'm speaking, of course, about the tonsillectomy the President used to explain the healthcare system's perverse financial incentives. I can certainly sympathize with the difficulty of trying to discuss clinical issues without having a clinical background, but it was a bad example and oversimplified the way individual physicians interact with patients and make clinical decisions. But that doesn't mean he was wrong about the larger point. [Read More]
  July 30, 2009

Editor's Picks
AMA still drafting conflict policy
Senator Herb Kohl sent the AMA a letter this month inquiring about the ethics policy it has been working on aimed at limiting industry influence on continuing education for physicians. Although the AMA began tackling the issue more than a year ago, it had nothing to show the Senator, who is currently pushing legislation that would require companies to disclose all payments to physicians over $100. Drug company funding of CME quadrupled between 1998 and 2006 to $1.2 billion. [Read More]
Overweight docs aren't taken seriously
The discussion about overweight physicians kicked off when some questioned whether Regina Benjamin, MD, would make an effective Surgeon General given her above-average weight. I'm not going to wade into that argument, but I think the conversation about overweight and obese providers in general is worth having. Nurses and doctors who are obese, smoke, or have other unhealthy habits that contradict the advice they give to patients lose a little credibility. But as Cheryl Clark points out, there's a unique opportunity for providers to tackle America's obesity epidemic by spearheading an initiative to lose weight themselves and lead their patients by example. [Read More]
Overuse of ultrasounds?
The crackdown on overutilization and Medicare fraud continues, as an OIG report suggest that doctors in certain geographic areas order questionable ultrasound scans for Medicare patients in 20 counties where they are performed more often per beneficiary. Going forward, the report recommends that CMS "should examine claims for characteristics" consistent with unnecessary overuse and make sure they are legitimate prior to payment. [Read More]
Female surgeons more satisfied than males
Physician job dissatisfaction is rampant these days, but it is apparently not equal. Female surgeons in a recent survey were more likely than male surgeons to say they would choose the surgical profession again (82.5% vs. 77.5%). We noticed a similar trend in our HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey when we asked doctors if they would encourage their child to enter healthcare. This is just speculation, but I think the trend may be related to age. Most older physicians tend to be male, whereas female physicians tend to fall in a generation that hasn't been practicing medicine as long. [Read More]
Business Rx
New OIG Guidance for On-Call Payments
OIG Opinion 09-05, approving a hospital's proposal to compensate physicians for on-call services performed on behalf of the hospital's uninsured patients, may have broad implications for on-call coverage. [Read More]
Physician News
HHS Releases $200 Million for Healthcare Training
John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media - July 29, 2009
University of Minnesota surgeon's deals with Medtronic draw fire
Minneapolis Star Tribune - July 29, 2009
Obama's doc slams healthcare reform plans
Chicago Tribune - July 29, 2009
Bariatric Surgery Cost, Quality Vary Widely
John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media - July 28, 2009

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