There are many good reasons for Congress to enact President Obama’s proposal to raise the Federal minimum wage to $9 per hour.  Many of these reasons, from economic stimulus to possible reductions in gaping income inequality to much-needed financial relief for working families, have been extensively discussed in the public sphere.  However, one important benefit of increasing wages has not received enough attention: improving mental health. Numerous studies show that poverty ...

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Hospital leaders who are successful managers today are successful because they manage change. The great hospitals leaders by now have become masters at it. But there’s a difference between change you can see coming (bundled payments, EHR implementations, declining reimbursements) and change that shows up unannounced on the front door. That’s often what it feels like when a huge, publicly traded company acquires a smaller physicians group. It can feel like ...

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Incentive structures in health care have to change. Right now, we pay for services, or have a so-called, fee-for-service system. The idea is that the more patients doctors see, the more expensive tests doctors order and the more patients doctors hospitalize, the more money clinics and hospitals make. This incentive structure has transformed our health care into sick care. The reality is, in America, we are adept at caring for complicated medical problems that require ...

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Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves.  – Genesis 11:4 With these words, so begins the biblical story of The Tower of Babel. The tale was written, at least in part, to explain the origin of different languages. Essentially, a group of earth’s early inhabitants started to build a tower to the sky in order ...

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For years, policy experts have been predicting the end of fee-for-service.  Yet it can be said of fee-for-service that, like Mark Twain’s alleged demise, reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated. (Actually, this is an often-used misrepresentation of what Twain actually said. After the New York Herald incorrectly reported that he was “grievously ill and possibly dying,” an “amused” Mark Twain wrote that “the report of my death has been ...

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shutterstock_243506278 Once the 2008 economic spiral began and, unemployment escalated with wallets and purses zipped closed, causes were not initially recognized. Since then, the causal details of this downturn were ferreted out pinpointing emanation from Wall Street banks. Public discontent demanding change has been ignored allowing potential for recurrence. Why? Business has influenced legislators swaying their vote as they filled campaign coffers. In the ...

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Two problems loom large over the American medical care system. First, we spend outrageous amounts of money on health care, with too many patients receiving too many services at too high a price. Second, our malpractice system is an international embarrassment, with too many health care providers sued by too many patients for too little reason. Many experts have pointed out that these problems are two sides of the same coin. ...

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Infrastructure is never quite as interesting or exciting as innovation. The grand opening of a new building incorporating all the latest integrated technology is far more exciting than bridge repairs. In our fascination for the innovation, we often turn a blind eye to our nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

In the United States today, one quarter of our bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete and more than 100 ...

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There are close to a quarter million primary care physicians in the U.S., more than any other individual specialty, and about half the total number of all specialists combined. Yet, somehow, primary care seems to lack the power and social influence necessary to chart its own professional course. As the availability and granularity of specialist physicians increased, the value proposition of a generalist primary care doctor seems to have become unclear ...

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shutterstock_266981183 The nationwide shortage of physicians is a very real crisis across all 50 states, causing a huge strain at all levels of health care. Hospitals and clinics are struggling to hire, current physicians are overworked, and ultimately patients have to wait longer. There are a number of reasons why this has happened, but one thing’s for sure: With the aging population, the ...

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