There is a 4,300-strong grassroots movement known as “Save Our Hospital” gaining notoriety in Albert Lea, Minnesota. This story is symptomatic of the fact that hospital consolidation has slowly become a national pastime. With declining revenue under the Affordable Care Act, mergers increased by 70 percent, leaving small communities scrambling for health care access. The latest casualty in the “hospital-consolidation-for-sport” trend is Albert Lea, a small ...

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I told you so.  I also told the POTUS in my open letter, but he did not read it. Who could honestly believe the nation would support dumping coverage for 22 million people?  As David Leonhard wrote recently op-ed in the New York Times: “They [Republicans and President Trump] had only one big weakness, in fact: They weren’t dealing in reality.”  When faced with reality, it is interesting what a few good ...

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As a pediatrician, I work to keep children healthy so they can grow up and achieve their dreams. Occasionally, my naïve optimism has gotten the better of me. I especially have a soft spot for angry, defiant children. These children are given my undivided attention and respect, and I expect the same in return. I never call them names, insult them, or label them. On the contrary, I have high ...

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A recent Medical Economics article asked “Is the DPC model at risk of failing?” The piece focuses on two large DPC-like organizations, Qliance Medical Management of Seattle, Washington and Turntable Health of Las Vegas, NV, working in partnership with Iora Health, which recently closed their doors. Qliance and Turntable were not actually DPC practices by strict definition; they were innovative large business operations providing health care services ...

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As Southern states entertain legislation granting nurse practitioners independent practice rights, there are some finer details which deserve careful deliberation.  While nurse practitioners are intelligent, capable, and contribute much to our healthcare system, they are not physicians and lack the same training and knowledge base.  They should not identify themselves as “doctors” despite having a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree.  It is misleading to patients, as most do not ...

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In a little piece of legislation known as the Affordable Care Act, preventive services are mandated to be covered with no out-of-pocket expense to consumers. According to the Healthcare.gov website, approved insurance plans must cover a “list of preventive services for children without charging a copayment or coinsurance.” Number 18 on that preventive care list is childhood immunizations for children from birth to age 18, acknowledging regional variation in the standard ...

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I hope you read this letter. I doubt you will. I know you’re busy rebuilding Washington, reshaping the international order and doing a lot of other weighty stuff.  Full disclosure, I voted for you.  Not because you promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or because you tweeted at me about it, but because our health care system is hopelessly broken and requires an overhaul that does not simply convert ...

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Nonprofit hospitals have higher profit margins than most for-profit hospitals after accounting for their tax obligations. 3900 (62 percent) of U.S. Hospitals are nonprofit and therefore tax-exempt — they pay no property tax, no federal or state income tax and no sales tax. An article published in Health Affairs found seven of the nation’s 10 most profitable hospitals were of the nonprofit variety, each earning ...

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The Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion resulted in unanticipated negative consequences for many patients and physicians in rural, underserved or medically isolated communities across America. Consolidation of health care entities was financially incentivized by the ACA, and slowly my beloved corner of the Pacific Northwest is becoming a medical wasteland. In a beautiful community on the Olympic Peninsula, just north of where I live and practice, it happened again; another private ...

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Sean MacStiofain said, “most revolutions are caused … by the stupidity and brutality of governments.” Regulation without legitimacy, predictability, and fairness always leads to backlash instead of compliance. Here’s a prediction for you: If something is not done to stop MACRA implementation, more physicians will opt-out of Medicare and Medicaid than is fathomable. Once DRexit begins, there will be no turning back. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) is ...

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