How much Medicare pays doctors requires context The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a massive amount of information regarding how much money it paid out to individual doctors. For the policy nerds out there, here is the original data.  For everyone else, here is a simple way to look up how much your own doctor made. I decided to search for myself in the database ...

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Recently, another installment was published from the research team of the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment. The major finding -- Medicaid coverage results in a 40% increase in emergency department (ER) use. Many of the health care pundits quickly sifted through the scientific results to support their opinions. You can read some of them here: Sarah Kliff reports the facts: Expanding Medicaid doesn’t reduce ER trips. It increases them. Scott Gottlieb claims that 
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A recent article in the Annals of Emergency Medicine analyzed the revenue increases due to emergency physicians for services delivered to currently uninsured individuals when they begin to receive coverage (via either Medicaid or private plans) under the Affordable Care Act. The authors analyzed payments for outpatient emergency department (ED) visits using the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey from 2005-2010. They looked into characteristics of charges and payments for the following groups: ...

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Is the death of the solo practitioner a bad thing? In recent years, there has been a shift away from solo practice to group practice among physicians. The trend, which some say began in the early 2000s, appears to have accelerated with new incentives proscribed in legislation such as the Affordable Care Act. The push for accountable care organizations seems to be fostering the rapid reorganization of medicine from one based on ...

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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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Doctors need to learn is how to help more while doing less One of my doctor friends and I were talking the other day about her cold symptoms – stuffy nose, nasty mucous, facial congestion. No fever. It had only been going on a couple of days but she said to me: “I think I might need some antibiotics.” Now, in our profession, we realize that there is no scientific reason to treat ...

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Fix our health system: Be like Switzerland I was working in the ER this weekend when one of my nurses asked me a simple question: “How would you fix the health care system?” Obviously, this is a complex problem requiring complex solutions, but in an environment where at any minute a heart attack or a stroke could disrupt a conversation I prepared a sound bite for an answer. “Do ...

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Why does health care cost so much more in the United States than in other countries? The answer is exceedingly complex; pharmaceuticals, hospitals, and physician services (among others) comprise the multiple slices of the health care pie that in the United States is about twice the size of the next largest spender for health care services. A new study from one of President Obama’s appointees (note: this study was written prior ...

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With sixteen million more Americans expected to gain health care coverage in the coming years as a result of the Affordable Care Act, access to actual health care providers may become more difficult. This may be especially true for patients with marginal coverage such as Medicaid. The Kaiser Family Foundation recently explored the role of non-physician clinicians -  specifically nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) – in ...

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