When it comes to preventing Medicare's so-called "never" events, sometimes the solution is worse than the problem. I wrote about it last year in the USA Today, saying, "While withholding payment for inexcusable medical mistakes is a sensible concept, Medicare’s decision to penalize hospitals for more nuanced complications raises the bar too high. You cannot regulate perfection." And preventing patient falls has nuance written all over it. The New England Journal of ...

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The American Medical Association recently gave unqualified support to the House health reform bill, H.R. 3200, and that is drawing the ire of some of their supporters. To be sure, H.R. 3200 is the most left-leaning of the proposals, and there is clear ideological opposition to the so-called "public plan," which expands the government's role in our health care system. It's a tremendously sensitive topic, with some expressing their outrage ...

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Well, that was fun. kevinmd This past Friday, I participated in Health Care Reform: Putting Patients First, an event put together by Better Health's Dr. Val Jones. It was an impeccably organized gathering, and provided medical bloggers a valuable opportunity to discuss health care reform. Great timing too, given the fact that two major reform bills were introduced earlier ...

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The following are my prepared remarks at Health Care Reform: Putting Patients First, held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on July 17th, 2009. President Obama recently declared that, "We are not a nation that accepts nearly 46 million uninsured men, women, and children." And indeed, finding a way to provide universal health coverage to every American is one of the focal points in today's health care debate. ...

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That's a tall order for many American physicians. Atul Gawande recently addressed the graduating class of the University of Chicago medical school. In his speech, which is an extension of his celebrated New Yorker piece, he looks at so-called "positive deviants," or doctors who practice higher value, higher quality care, than everyone else. What makes these doctors so special? In essence, they have to "resist the tendency built into ...

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The following is part of a series of original guest columns by the American Medical Association. by J. James Rohack, M.D. Physicians started this month with some good news from the White House. After intense AMA education and outreach, the administration announced that it would remove physician-administered drugs from the archaic formula used to determine Medicare physician payment rates. This important development will significantly lower the costs of a permanent repeal of ...

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An investment banker recently told a doctor, "I’d love a job where I didn’t have to constantly think about money." Oh, how wrong he was. In a recent essay in The New York Times, cardiologist Sandeep Jauhar talks about the difficulty divorcing revenue from medical decision making. While moonlighting, he writes that, "It is hard not to order a heart-stress test when the nuclear camera is in the next room. ...

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"If you aren't at the table, then you are on the menu." That's a priceless quote from Dr. Val Jones, who primary care physician Rob Lamberts cites in a piece from MedPage Today. With health reform dominating Washington D.C. this summer, both patients and doctors "on the ground," so to speak, are missing from the table. Many physician organizations are composed of doctors who may not be practicing ...

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Thanks to Dr. Val Jones for organizing Health Care Reform: Putting Patients First, a panel discussion where health reform will be discussed from a medical blogger perspective. I have graciously been invited to speak and participate in the ensuing discussion, which also includes other prominent primary care and specialist physician and nurse bloggers like Rob Lamberts, Alan Dappen, Valerie Tinley, Kim McAllister, Westby Fisher, Rich Fogoros, and ...

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The following is a guest post from the American College of Radiology. by James H. Thrall, M.D. Health care reform cannot be approached with a “one size fits all” cost-cutting mentality. Reducing costs in the long term often requires an investment in the short term — particularly, in regard to medical imaging. Medical imaging saves lives. Imaging also saves dollars through earlier disease diagnosis, less invasive medical procedures, shorter hospital stays, and ...

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