Now that states have decided what they are going to do about health insurance exchanges—those new shopping carts created by Obamacare to help consumers find health insurance who do not get it through their employers—the really tough part begins.  State and federal governments need to make sure that consumers understand their health insurance choices. You probably thought that the tough part was behind us.  You see, states had a difficult decision ...

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I recently spoke at the Student National Medical Association’s (SNMA) Annual Medical Education Conference in Louisville, KY. Accompanying me was former SNMA President Bryant Cameron Webb, MD, JD. We covered three main topics in our workshop: medical education, the practice of medicine, and the underserved. Medical education Many people believe that there is, or soon will be, a physician shortage. There are nearly 1 million physicians scattered across America representing a ratio ...

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In the past, neither hospitals nor practicing physicians were accustomed to being measured and judged. Aside from periodic inspections by the Joint Commission (for which they had years of notice and on which failures were rare), hospitals did not publicly report their quality data, and payment was based on volume, not performance. Physicians endured an orgy of judgment during their formative years – in high school, college, medical school, and in ...

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It’s been three years since the Patient Protection and Accountable Care Act (PPACA) became law.  There have been widely divergent opinions published by journalists on the impact of the law for Americans: from a rose-colored account from the New York Times, to a not-so-peachy account published at Reason.com.  Few doctors have ventured into this discussion. The need for health care cost reform I should start by saying that I am biased.  I grew up in ...

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American Medical News has an important article - Will a “silent exodus” from medicine worsen doctor shortage?

Frustrated by mounting regulation, declining pay, loss of autonomy and uncertainty about the effect of health system reform, doctors are cutting back the number of hours they work and how many patients they see. Between 2008 and 2012, the average number of hours physicians worked fell by 5.9%, from 57 hours a week to 53, ...

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Obamacare is changing the image of the doctor we know and love. For better or worse, gone are the days of a physician carrying a black bag and making house calls. The new-age doctor is someone who is probably comfortable communicating via text message (secure, of course), or by email. With the rising demands of a new dimension of healthcare delivery, where doctors need to see more patients to make up ...

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It was recently the Affordable Care Act’s third birthday, but you might have missed it for all of the (lack of) attention it received.  Sure, there was the usual back and forth from the law’s supporters and opponents, but almost nothing that provided any new insights. Supporters, such as the liberal New York Times editorial page, marked the ACA’s anniversary by touting the tens of millions already being helped ...

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Even stronger controls have just been set out for HIPAA. They come in the final regulations for the Omnibus Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or the HIPAA rule. The new rules became effective March 26. However, medical offices and business associates have until September 23 to comply. Mostly, the changes affect patient requests and approvals, breach reporting, and business associates. Along with that, the penalties for noncompliance have gone up. ...

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People are people, whether they are identified by their career or their role in the healthcare process. So, whether you’re working with a referring physician or a patient, it’s important to consider emotions, their role in the sales process and how they drive and destroy value.  One of the most valuable emotions to have in our business is loyalty. Loyalty is what providers work towards with referring physicians and what ...

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First I believe our health care system must be better so I’m always curious to hear how others might propose to fix it. I recently had the opportunity to listen in two conversations with businessman David Goldhill about how healthcare might be made better. Goldhill lost his father to a hospital acquired infection and witnessed multiple errors during his hospitalization which compelled him to write not only a piece in ...

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