HealthLeaders Media PhysicianLeaders - September 3, 2009 | Can Medical Liability Reform Save the Healthcare Overhaul? View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Can Medical Liability Reform Save the Healthcare Overhaul?
Elyas Bakhtiari, Managing Editor

It may seem that the healthcare reform debate has reached an impasse and genuine bipartisan agreement is a lost cause, but there is one issue remaining that has the potential to reluctantly unite Democrats and Republicans: Medical liability reform. That is, assuming enough members of Congress are willing to set politics aside. [Read More]
  September 3, 2009

Editor's Picks
Comparing retail clinics and physician offices
Two RAND studies compared costs and quality of care in retail clinic settings with physician offices and emergency departments, and found the results pretty comparable. The costs of care were 30%-40% lower in retail settings, and patients received similar levels of preventive care. To poke a few holes: Retail clinics typically have a different payer mix and treat much simpler cases than physician offices. That said, these studies add credence to the argument that physicians should find ways to work with, rather than fight against, retail clinics and nonphysician practitioners. [Read More]
Patient polls measure physicians' vital signs
As a journalist, I understand the value of an anecdote in telling a story or conveying an idea, but I've always been skeptical of anecdotal evidence as a means for making sweeping judgments or evaluations. So I think these patient polls are a much more effective way to rate physicians than online reviews. A patient will typically only write a blurb about a physician after a really bad or a really good experience, so you're not getting accurate representation. Not to mention, there have been cases of competitors anonymously writing bad reviews of other physicians. Polls, though they can be flawed, at least capture the typical patient sentiment a little better. [Read More]
Doctors with quality problems more likely to burnout?
A statewide survey of Massachusetts physicians found that 31% felt stressed, 27% were dissatisfied with their work, and 17% felt isolated from their colleagues. No surprise there; in fact, I would have expected higher numbers. But here's the interesting finding: Physicians who said their practices implemented quality initiatives were less likely to identify with these burnout indicators. I tend to assume that dissatisfaction is related primarily to reimbursement struggles and administrative burdens, but it makes sense that quality plays a role. However, these results contradict an earlier study that found quality initiatives actually increase dissatisfaction. I'd like to see some more research on this. [Read More]
A snapshot of U.S. physicians
Nearly one-third of physicians still practice in solo or two-physician practices, but nearly 20% work in practices of six or more doctors, according to a tracking study of U.S. physicians released by the Center for Studying Health System Change. On average, nearly half of physicians' practice revenue is derived from public sources (31% Medicare and 17% Medicaid), and about three quarters of doctors still accept all or most new Medicare patients. Studies like this are important to the healthcare reform debate because the organizations being held up as exemplary—Cleveland Clinic, Mayo, etc.—don't represent the typical physician practice. [Read More]
Business Rx
Consultation Coding for Physicians
Consultation coding can be challenging for many physicians, and correct documentation is vital to correctly bill for these services. Many physicians learn about specific consultation requirements only after a third-party payer audit. [Read More]
Physician News
Kidney doctors concerned by Medicare financing
USA Today - September 3, 2009
Drug company paid Minnesota doctors $754,127
Minneapolis Star Tribune - September 3, 2009
The Fight to Prove the Value of Hospitalists
Karen M. Cheung - August 31, 2009
Heart devices reduce hospitalization, study says
Wall Street Journal - September 1, 2009

Audio Conferences/Webcasts
October 22, 2009: Marketing to Physicians: Build Relationships to Increase Referrals
On Demand: Service Lines Strategies Workshop 2009: Gastroenterology
On Demand: Advanced Service Line Marketing: New Orthopedics Growth Strategies
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Hang On
HealthLeaders August 2009
Get ready for the failure of the HIT stimulus dream, episode of care contracting, the end of easy credit, and a public plan. [Read More]
Service Line Management
Making Wellness Work
Wellness and weight loss programs aren't major revenue generators, but healthcare reformers know they cannot effectively control costs without focusing more on prevention. [Read More]
PhysicianLeaders Forum

Reduce Healthcare Costs by Concentrating on Prevention and Lifestyle: Contributor Charles Hux, MD, argues that concentrating on wellness and prevention will be more effective than a public plan in reducing healthcare costs. [Read More]
Audio Feature

Picking the Right Cancer Program: Suzanne Borgos, a senior consultant with Health Strategies & Solutions, discusses ROI components to consider when picking a tumor-site-specific program for an oncology service line. Hear more at the Service Lines Strategies Virtual Workshop. [Listen Now]
The Wired: Dr. Kurt Kastendieck, a family practice physician in New Mexico, talks about his experiences in a high-tech practice and offers advice to physicians considering adopting an EHR system. [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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