As part of the new health care legislation, the government has instituted Medicare's Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) in an attempt to motivate health professionals to do the right thing. According to the legislation, PQRI asks physicians to report how the care they furnish aligns with evidence-based clinical guidelines for a variety of medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease. In 2010, physicians who successfully report these measures will receive ...

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The individual mandate is the single most controversial feature of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Everyone who can afford coverage—unless an undocumented immigrant or exempted on religious grounds—is required to have it or pay a penalty of $695 or 2.5 percent of income. The rationale is straightforward: without a mandate, many people would wait until they needed care before buying insurance, driving up premiums for those with ongoing coverage, ...

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by James P. Davison, DO Emergency department utilization and its impact on health care reform legislation has been a hot topic of conversation in healthcare journals and the blogosphere. It is a tenet of the currant legislation that ER visits and cost growth will go down, contributing to a decreased health cost growth curve. Opponents state the newly insured will flock to the nation’s emergency rooms. Proponents ...

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Health Affairs reports on a study that finds Evidence That Consumers Are Skeptical About Evidence-Based Health Care. According to the abstract,

We found many of these consumers’ beliefs, values, and knowledge to be at odds with what policy makers prescribe as evidence-based health care. Few consumers understood terms such as “medical evidence” or “quality guidelines.” Most believed that more care meant higher-quality, better care. The ...

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Howard Brody, a family physician, recently wrote an article in the Annals of Family Medicine discussing, “Professional Medical Organizations and Commercial Conflicts of Interest: Ethical Issues.” The article focused on how AAFP has “recently been criticized for accepting a large corporate donation from Coca-Cola to fund patient education and materials on obesity prevention,” and how this money has been called a “conflict of interest.” To that effect, Dr. Brody defines such ...

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Is the pen mightier than the PC? When it comes to prescribing, it appears so. A new report from the Center for Studying Health System Change finds that most physicians write their RX scripts by hand, despite financial incentives for physicians to adopt electronic prescribing. Even those who have e-RX systems do not always use them, and when they do, they may not to use the features that were ...

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by Jeoffry B. Gordon, MD, MPH I have always considered it to be my professional responsibility and ethical imperative to fight for my patients with the insurance companies to get approval for every test and medication that I think is medically necessary. My batting average is close to 100% Lately, the insurance companies have been trying to draw the noose tighter and make the task of getting ...

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The recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick as head of CMS has incited a furor among politicians outraged at what they claim are his advocacy for rationing and fondness for Britain's National Health Service. To support their claims, these politicians are using Berwick's own words, in a way eerily reminiscent of the recent Shirley Sherrod debacle. It started with Glenn Beck, master of the one-word quote, and then slipped over ...

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The rapidly ramifying crisis in health care may (we can pray) end all delusions. It may at least begin to weaken them by exposing them to the light, to the sobering effects of reality. The reform act has not brought us to the Promised Land. By bringing us access without capacity, fierce restrictions coupled with vague language and loopholes, mandates coupled with fines low enough to become the cheap way out, ...

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On my way onto the plane for my recent flight home from France I picked up a copy of Le Figaro thinking I might enjoy the article about actress Sophie Marceau, who was on the cover of everything while we were in France in celebration of her turning 40. I did enjoy catching up on Marceau - I still remembering watching La Boum in my high school French class - but ...

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