"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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Those on the left will pretty much sacrifice everything to attain their goal of universal coverage. But, in this well-reasoned piece by conservative economist Tyler Cowen, expanding coverage won't necessarily control costs, which is a more imperative issue. The bandied about means of cost control, such as electronic medical records, cutting provider payments, and preventive care, all will have little nor no impact in controlling costs. Take physician reimbursements, for ...

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Medicare currently pays doctors in a "fee for service" system, with little regard for quality of care or patient outcomes. The more procedures or office visits, the more revenue a physician generates. Instead of spending time with patients or counseling them in preventive care, there is financial pressure to see as many patients as possible. And this financial pressure is a fundamental reason why health care costs are spiraling out of ...

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Here are some of the more interesting comments readers have left recently. 1. Rogue Medic on how Oprah should be handling medical issues: If she is going to give medical advice, and she is giving medical advice, and she is going to focus on giving advice contrary to the guidelines of reputable medical organizations, maybe some of her viewers need to start suing her for the bad medical advice. I am guessing ...

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Here are the top posts from the past month, based on the number of times they were viewed. 1. How did Michael Jackson die, and the medicine behind sudden cardiac death 2. Did Demerol cause Michael Jackson’s cardiac arrest and death? 3. A surgeon dumps post-op patients to hospitalists 4. The worst medical malpractice cases you can possibly imagine 5. My reaction to President Obama’s speech to the AMA 6.
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A version of this op-ed was published on June 18th, 2009 in The New York Times' Room for Debate blog. In his recent address to the American Medical Association, President Obama noted that our health care system "rewards the quantity of care rather than the quality of care." This perverse incentive leads to unnecessary and potentially harmful medicine, while also being a major contributor to spiraling health care costs. Doctors ...

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Contrary to what you may have been led to believe, the United States has already tried its hand at a pseudo-single-payer system. The VA is one example. Another, albeit less highly publicized, is the Indian Health Service. (via WhiteCoat) Based on an agreement in 1787, the government is responsible to provide free health care to Native Indians on reservations. And, as you can see from this scathing story ...

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The repercussions after Obama's speech to the AMA's delegates continue to be felt. Not least of which are the murmurings of the other professional physician groups, who say that the AMA does not represent a majority of physicians. In this piece from pediatrician Rahul Parikh, he notes that about 30 percent of physicians are AMA members. Remaining doctors belong to groups with more liberal political leanings, including the ...

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