Once upon a time, I was a lifeguard.  This was the natural result of swimming fairly well, Red Cross training, and team competition.  I saw myself as a handsome, tanned guardian at the ready.  OK, I was prone to self-delusion.  When I became a doctor I carried over that image of high-perched protector on stilt chair, whistle in hand, rescue float close, ready to dive to the assistance of a ...

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I may not accept your insurance, but I will always accept you Just for the record: I am happy to see you -- irrespective of your insurance. I accept most insurance plans. And if I don’t accept your insurance, I have a very good reason. I will not sign a contract with a health insurer that: Abuses and bullies me and/or my patients. Denies all my first claims. Reimburses me so little that I may go out of ...

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It's a seductive idea.  We doctors possess knowledge and experience which can not only help people, but can save their lives.  We get opportunities to be the right person at the right time to offer the right help that makes all of the difference.  It's one of the greatest things about our profession.  It's also one of its greatest traps. I've heard many doctors refer to themselves as "healers," as if ...

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Doctors today: Young, broke and human “Oh, you’re my doctor? A woman?” Who do you picture walking through the exam room door at your new doctor’s office? Is it the Norman Rockwell depiction of an older, jolly looking male? After residency I was alarmed at how many patients commented on my age and gender: “How old are you, 12?” or, “Oh, you’re my doctor? A woman?” This got me thinking about ...

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Recently, the American Board of Medical Specialties' (ABMS) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program debate reached a larger mainstream media audience when the Wall Street Journal published their article by Melissa Beck entitled "Skill Reviews Upset Doctors." While it is certainly nice to see an article reaching the main stream media concerning doctors' concerns with the MOC program, the issue with the MOC debate is not that doctors are upset.  The real issue is ...

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Part of a series. Is concierge medicine for everyone or is it just for the rich, the 1%? Most people assume it is for the elite and cannot be afforded by the common man, the masses. That is unfortunate because in many cases it can be quite affordable. Here are three examples. AtlasMD in Kansas City and others like it think of themselves as “blue collar” concierge practices. According to ...

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The house was getting cold.  My wife and kids snuggled in their blankets as I crept out of bed and checked the thermostat.  The subzero winter air howled as a blustery morning took shape outside our windows.   I looked at the digital display with disbelief and manually tapped the screen with my finger, hoping that the jarring motion would loosen the exact faulty screw leading to our frigid state. ...

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In medicine, the patient is not always right Beginning with the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) landmark Quality Chasm report in the late 1990s, the health policy establishment, the medical profession and the American public began to hear a new and disconcerting message: American health care was not patient-centered. The IOM prescribed a number of recommendations to redesign health care delivery, one calling for patients as the source of control over their care. "Patients should ...

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“Dr. Liu, I don’t think he has diverticulitis.” So said the second-year medical student. She had just completed her first year of anatomy, biochemistry, pathology, and introduction to doctoring at the local medical school. One of the sharpest medical students I’ve proctored. Like many summers, I’ve been fortunate to spend time with the next generation of doctors. These future doctors were brimmed with enthusiasm and energy.  Instead of taking time off to ...

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Should I be a nurse or a doctor? Having been both a nurse and a doctor, most of the questions I get from readers have to do with making the decision between nursing and medicine.  Let’s lay aside for a moment the reality that the fields are totally different and that direct comparisons are useless. But people ask me all the time, so as a little experiment, I ...

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