Neuropathic pain education; Paul Krugman wins Nobel; Vasectomy pain; Paying to stop smoking; Health care isn’t free

Almost 60 percent of Europeans have never heard of neuropathic pain. Well Pfizer, the makers of Lyrica, is going to put an end to that. Don’t be surprised if drug companies start educating the world on ADHD.

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Taking a cue from the world of medical residency, Pennsylvania is restricting work-hours of nurses by banning double shifts. The problem is, it does nothing to alleviate the nursing shortage, and patients may suffer if more nurses are not hired.

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Medicaid is cutting physician pay to save money. If you want the quickest way for more doctors to stop seeing Medicaid patients and drive patients to the emergency department, this is it.

In related news, Medicaid is going to cover genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer in Illinois. Genetic testing is still in its infancy, and it is curious why cash-strapped Medicaid programs are covering expensive tests without consensus evidence to back them up.

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Dr. Val talks about post-vasectomy pain syndrome, which affects 10 to 15 percent of men undergoing the procedure. It’s often not discussed, so men need to be aware of it. Anyone who saw the season 2 premiere of Californication knows what I’m talking about.

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So Paul Krugman won the Nobel Prize. Congratulations to him. Thankfully, it was for his economic work and not his insufferable, shrill punditry, which really deters me from fully embracing any left-leaning ideas.

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Stop the presses. Doctors referred more patients to tobacco quit lines when they’re paid to do it. Can financial incentives influence physician behavior? As a certain Alaskan governor would say, “you betcha.”

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Emergency physician Kenneth Weinberg writes on the death of his father, and how he was allowed to die peacefully at home, surrounded by family.

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People often go to the emergency department for free care, or if they run up large, unpaid bills at their doctor’s offices. Edwin Leap questions this logic: “Where else is that acceptable? We can’t go to the gas station, the mortgage-holder, the grocery store, the car dealer and say’I’m here for food, car, gas, etc. because I can’t pay for it. I need you to give it to me.’”

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Harvard Medical School is leading the way going green. They’re piloting a project where course materials will be distributed via Amazon’s Kindle device.

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With EDs overcrowded, why not perform a simple medical screening exam and discharge non-emergent cases? There’s a variety of reasons, involving liability, competitive concerns, patient satisfaction, and money.

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Notes of an Anesthesioboist hosts Grand Rounds this week. Go and read the weekly best of the medical blogopshere.

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The Independent Urologist talks about the labyrinthine payment path that a simple office visit takes. And you wonder why more doctors are going to cash-only practices.

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