I get it. It is a little strange. In fact, some people even think I’m crazy. Why? I’m a physician, but in my free time, I love helping my colleagues improve their patient satisfaction. Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time discussing a patient satisfaction survey known as CG-CAHPS (Clinician and Group Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems). I’m sure it doesn’t surprise you to learn that CG-CAHPS is ...

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At a crowded townhall meeting in 1959, an elderly woman stepped up to the microphone and spoke to a panel of senators. "I am not worried for my son's time," she began. "He is 35, and I am sure he will face a better future when his time comes to retire. But what is to be done for those of us who need help right now?" This was one of a ...

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The old adage “time is money” holds true, especially in health care. Apparently the medicine time crunch spans two midnights. In October 2013, Medicare enacted a provision that changed coverage for hospitalized patients. The “two-midnight rule” states that a patient will not be covered as an inpatient unless their hospital stay is expected to cross two midnights. The end result is that many seniors are placed under observation, even if they stay ...

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Having just retired on July 1st, my medical group's commercial health insurance policy is no longer available to me. However, being past 65, I started a year ago applying for Medicare benefits. Despite my knowledge in this field, I had assumed this would be a snap. I also had assumed that my Medicare patients who enrolled in a Medicare HMO (Medicare Advantage) did so for purely economic reasons. My experience has ...

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There are over 16,000,000 American children (21.8%) who live in official poverty and double that number who are just poor. This is not happening in an obscure country, in a continent far away. It is happening right here, across the street from you. For those enjoying a good episode of Duck Dynasty, these are not children of illegal immigrants, and the vast majority is white kids. Over 44,000,000 American children (more ...

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Conflicting state versus federal incentives confuse doctors I get paid by Medicaid to see patients. How much? Exactly $52.28 if it is an easy patient issue, like a cold, and $78.54 for a harder one, like a kidney stone. Who decides when the issue is easy and when it is hard? I do. But I have to follow some complex rules when deciding whether to bill a 99213 ...

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We all want the advantage.  We put our kids in special preschools so they have the advantage.  We work 100 hours a week so our kids can do 8 activities and get the advantage. Tall people have an advantage, we’re told.  Poor people are “disadvantaged.” Well folks, there are a whole bunch of senior citizens in Massachusetts who are about to get disadvantaged starting September 1. UnitedHealthcare (UHC) will be
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A Veterans Affairs hospital in Fort Collins Colorado, it was recently revealed, falsified its wait times for outpatient clinic appointments. In order to appear to meet the goal of clinic appointments within 14 days, the hospital taught its clerks how to falsify the appointment records to create the illusion that the appointment goals were being met. Many of the 6,300 veterans treated at this clinic actually waited months ...

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Despite the political angst, the doomsday predictions and a very rocky launch, the Affordable Care Act has enabled more than 8 million Americans to acquire insurance coverage through the public exchanges. Health insurance increases the probability that patients will access the medical care they need. And my colleagues at Kaiser Permanente are already seeing some positive stories emerging as a result. They’ve shared dozens of stories with me about patients with undiagnosed ...

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Did you ever read a seemingly inconsequential sentence somewhere and it then just refused to leave your mind for days on end, triggering avalanches of thoughts way beyond the original intent, if there even was one? It just happened to me a few days ago when I read one more industry article about the recent Medicare data dump. The following remark was attributed to a primary care doctor: “The U.S. is ...

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