Jeff Goldsmith recently opined on why practice redesign isn’t going to solve the primary care shortage. In the post, Goldsmith explains why a proposed model of high-volume primary care practice — having docs see even more patients per day, and grouping them in pods — is unlikely to be accepted by either tomorrow’s doctors or tomorrow’s boomer patients. He points out that we are replacing a generation of ...

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For all of those out there anticipating the 2014 official roll out of Obamacare, officially known as Affordable Care Act (ACA), here is a cautionary tale. Many years ago, as I was growing my cardiology practice, it became evident that diagnostic services for my specialty, like stress tests and echocardiograms, were done less efficiently and cost more at the local hospital, than in the office. This stimulated many groups in the ...

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Getting rid of Medicare’s SGR formula has been organized medicine’s Holy Grail.  But medicine has gotten no closer to finding a solution to the SGR than the medieval knights did in their search.  This year could be different, though.  The House and Senate both are working on bipartisan plans to repeal the SGR and reform Medicare payments, plans that are being developed with the input of physicians. Yes, you heard that ...

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid recently released its compiled data on what over 3,000 hospitals across the country charge for 100 of the most common discharge diagnostic codes under the diagnosis related group (DRG) system, and boy did the DRG really hit the fan.  Liberals, economists, and band wagoners got all upset about the enormous pricing differentials between hospitals for the same services. For example, Twin Cities Community Hospital in ...

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How the Oregon Medicaid experiment is a failure An important article was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, titled The Oregon Experiment — Effects  of Medicaid on Clinical Outcomes. This study provides a rare look at the effects of expanding Medicaid coverage (specifically, Oregon Health Plan, Oregon’s version of Medicaid) to a population of previously uninsured patients. Having practiced medicine in Portland, ...

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I attended a medical staff meeting recently. These are required meetings and attendance is taken, as was done when we were in kindergarten. While some folks are interested in these meetings’ content, many are not and simply sign the attendance sheet and then slither out in a stealth fashion. Sly doctors grab their pagers and then leave hurriedly pretending that they were summoned to an urgent medical situation, when they ...

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Arkansas is now the first state to use Medicaid expansion dollars to buy private coverage for many of its 250,000 newly eligible residents rather than enroll them in the existing Medicaid program. The Arkansas House of Representatives approved the plan, followed by the  Senate, to confirm that the state will be implementing this “market-based approach” to expanding Medicaid. The idea of buying private insurance for Medicaid recipients is ...

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Much has already been written about the Oregon Medicaid study that came out in the New England Journal of Medicine. Unfortunately, the vast majority is reflex, rather than reflection.  The study seems to serve as a Rorschach test of sorts, confirming people’s biases about whether Medicaid is “good” or “bad”.  The proponents of Medicaid point to all the ways in which Medicaid seems to help those who were enrolled ...

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The Oregon Medicaid study: What does it tell us? Recently, an article by Kate Baicker and colleagues came out in the New England Journal of Medicine. Almost immediately, the article received widespread attention in the media where headlines claimed that giving people Medicaid coverage doesn’t improve their health. This is not exactly what the article said, but most journalists aren’t scientists, so we should cut them a bit of ...

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Brought to you by MedPage Today. 1. Robotics No Help in Cystectomy. A randomized trial comparing robotic with open cystectomy ended early after an interim analysis showed the minimally invasive approach did not reduce complications. 2. Medicare Reveals Hospital Charge Information. The Obama administration made public on Wednesday previously unpublished hospital charges for the 100 most common inpatient treatments in 2011, saying a ...

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