Do you like to take pills? I don’t. I bet most family physicians would say they have some patients who should be better at taking pills and some who love taking pills too much. For people who don’t like taking pills, what would a trade-off look like? If you were given the option of living X months fewer, but in return you wouldn’t have you doctor twisting your arm to take pills every ...

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The American Heart Association (AHA) recently proposed new guidelines for all doctors to screen and treat for high cholesterol. For doctors and patients to follow, this would result in a large increase in the number of Americans taking statins. One of the things I like about the new proposal is that there is no more chasing a number. This was frustrating for doctors and patients to keep having lab draws and medication ...

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As much as I have given the "ologists" and other members of the dysfunctional U.S. health care system a hard time in previous posts, it’s only fair that I call out bad family medicine as well. I have a great example. I recently saw patient who is relatively new to the area who had seen another family physician in my community. He is 39-year-old male, and his only significant potential health ...

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There will are lots of things I hope improve in our health care system in 2015, but I’ll just mention one wish today. My wish is that the worthless wellness programs that have sprung up all over corporate America will fade away. I have criticized these programs in the past, but more ammo has come to light. A recent article in Employee Benefit News lists seven factors explaining how wellness programs are ...

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A recent report from Rutgers University entitled "Unhappy, Worried, and Pessimistic: Americans in the aftermath of the Great Recession" found that 70% of respondents described the typical American worker as not secure in their jobs and 68% of workers are highly stressed. A quote from the study is, “The typical American worker lives in a precarious and doleful existence -- unhappy, poorly paid and fearful of losing his or her ...

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I’ve listened over the years to well-meaning people say that the general public doesn’t care about physician payments, because they think all doctors are rich and any physician who complains is just whining. This is a huge mistake on the part of people who want to have a long-term relationship with comprehensive family physicians as their primary care givers, and those who want better health care at a lower cost. Let’s ...

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In a recent New Yorker article about him, Dr. Mehmet Oz was paraphrased as saying that “Marcus Welby -- the kindly, accessible, but straight-talking television doctor -- is dead.” If he believes that, Dr. Oz needs to get out of New York. At 51-years-old, I’m a little too young to remember the television show Marcus Welby, M.D, that aired on ABC from 1969 to 1976. A colleague told me the show was pretty schmaltzy ...

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"Patient-centered." It sounds so right, doesn’t it? Right up there with mothers and apple pie. If only family medicine were so simple. A report by ABC News told the story of a doctor at a VA hospital in Kansas City who claims she was forced to leave her job because she tried to limit prescriptions for opioid pain medications to reasonable amounts. Patients complained, so she was canned. She claimed that some patients ...

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Here we go again. There is yet another round of evidence of how the physician workforce hole we’ve dug for ourselves keeps getting deeper, but there has been still no substantive payment reform on the government side (Medicare/Medicaid) or the private payer side. One recent study appeared in Academic Medicine. Clese Erikson and colleagues surveyed a random sample of 4th-year medical students in 2010. Only 13% of the students stated they ...

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The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology recently published new guidelines for screening and treating cholesterol. In some ways these guidelines are more like the British guidelines. Instead of setting up doctors and patients to fail by calling for certain cholesterol number targets as in the old U.S. guidelines (i.e. LDL level below 100), they instead focus on putting higher risk patients on drugs called statins and then ...

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