This is probably done to combat the increasing use of elective colonoscopies, which is costing insurers money:

The American Gastroenterological Association issued a statement Monday charging the insurer's pending new policy on performing outpatient endoscopies "will hinder the medical judgment of physicians as to the proper setting for endoscopic procedures, based on the specific needs of individual patients." According to the medical group, Blue Cross of California, ...

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Some say they are putting lives at risk:

The member, who did not wish to be named, works at a Southampton hospital. She said mistakes over the term 'hypo" and "hyper" had already been made by overseas staff who were nowhere near the doctor concerned to clarify his dictation . . .

. . . Other blunders included writing "known malignant" instead of "non-malignant", "urological" instead of "neurological" ...

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It's based on employer mandates:

San Francisco, eager to put its own stamp on the health care debate, unveiled an ambitious plan Tuesday that would make it the first city in the nation to provide every uninsured resident with access to medical services.

When rolled out next year, the city's 82,000 uninsured residents would become eligible for a wide array of benefits, regardless of employment or immigration status. ...

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This supposed controversy should never have gotten this far:

"It saddened him to see that knowledge was twisted in such a way to play in the hands of the anti-vaccine movement and not really appreciate what vaccines are all about.

"They are about protection of individual, but also protection of the society so you achieve 'herd immunity'.

"Maurice believed in that and it really pained him a ...

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I often have patients who stop taking their statins or refuse to take them because of "side effects". This can range from muscle aches to memory loss (the latter side effect of which there is conflicting data for).

One option would be to switch to a more hydrophilic statin - like pravastatin (now generic) - which have been shown in studies to decrease the incidence of muscle aches ...

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Studies show that home games increase testosterone levels:

Two new studies also show how the hormone may especially peak before home games, and that female athletes likely experience the same hormone flux.

The first study, of male ice hockey players, found higher testosterone levels in athletes competing at their home rink, compared to playing an away game. The other, a Portuguese study of female soccer players, found that ...

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Dr. Hebert writes about his frustration.

PointofLaw.com wonders why more lawyers don't get sued after losing a case:

The fascinating thing is that lawyers are never subject to that level of second-guessing. In any given litigation, one or both sides to the dispute ends up with less than an optimal result. In any given litigation, both sides' litigation decisions can be second-guessed. Yet, even with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, one almost never sees ...

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This is obviously causing controversy:

But the plan, which pharmacists have talked about for a decade, has some physicians worried about patient safety. Other doctors have suggested it will create a conflict of interest because pharmacists could benefit commercially from the medications they prescribe.

Nice idea, especially since many decisions in medicine are based on percentages and probability.

I was quoted today in an AMNews article talking about unnecessary testing (subscription needed). It's quite sad that despite all the evidence that the USPSTF provides, many physicians follow the ones made up by layperson juries during malpractice trials:

The real guidelines physicians follow, often unconsciously, are the ones judged to be the standard of care by jurors in medical liability trials, Dr. Anderson said.

"Medical standards ...

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Using genetic testing, they found that they had a 70 percent chance of developing stomach cancer.

It may help in rural areas:

"About 90 percent of psychiatrists and psychologists live in urban areas and about 20 percent of the population of the United States lives outside of an urban area," said Beth Hudnall Stamm, Director of the Institute of Rural Health, Idaho State University.

Dr. Tobin and her colleagues serve patients in ten counties across the state, on average each patient almost 120 miles ...

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The lawyer refers to them as "hired guns":

"These are guys who travel -- some of them travel the country -- and they fill in where hospitals are in need of staffing," he said. "Nurses do it, too.... I like to refer to it as riding the circuit. They're hired guns. They go into an area that's short of a specific specialty or need, and they fill that need."

This will be huge, as many physicians and patients will jump at the chance to use a stronger generic statin (as opposed to lovastatin):

Dr. Christopher Cannon, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said he has no problem prescribing generic Zocor to patients.

"It's fine," Cannon said. "It's become standard in the industry to try to use generics first."

Cannon added that Lipitor's dominance is ...

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Makes sense:

A local attorney recently offered his opinion that health care tort reform is not needed. He appealed to the emotion of the reader with sad stories about alleged victims of medical malpractice.

Too often, it is the telling of a sad story, rather than actual malpractice, that plaintiff's attorneys leverage to the financial gain of their clients and, of course, themselves.

Jurors are poorly equipped to ...

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A recent WSJ article explains why:

Socialized health-care systems fall short in these critical cases because governments strictly ration care in order to reduce the explosive growth of health spending. As a result, patients have less access to specialists, diagnostic equipment and pharmaceuticals. Economist David Henderson, who grew up in Canada, once remarked that it has the best health-care system in the world - if you have only a ...

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How sad is this? (via kottke.org)

Unbelievable.

I wonder what the other guests thought.