Originally published in MedPage Today by Michael Smith, MedPage Today North American Correspondent The powerful earthquake that hammered Haiti Tuesday afternoon has created a medical nightmare, those familiar with the country say. "I can't even imagine the kind of horror we're going to see in the next two to three weeks," said Steven Williams, MD, an internist at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh ...

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Originally published in MedPage Today by Michael Smith, MedPage Today North American Correspondent The powerful earthquake that hammered Haiti Tuesday afternoon has left healthcare in the impoverished Caribbean nation in even worse shape than before. Several hospitals have been seriously damaged and others are swamped by casualties from the magnitude 7.0 quake. "We are seeing wave after wave of vehicles coming from the Port-au-Prince ...

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I like my PCP. She is knowledgeable, kind, efficient, and trusts that I know my body best. All great qualities in a doctor. But I need to fire her and find someone new. Why? Her support staff and their administrative systems don't work for me. They make it difficult for me to access timely care and I dislike that very much. Some background: I rarely visit the doctor. Overall, I'm healthy and ...

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Many companies turn to "mystery shoppers" to improve customer service, but should they be used in health care? An increasing number of hospitals are hiring people to fake symptoms and go to doctors' offices or the emergency department to assess the friendliness of the administrative staff or the interpersonal skills of the physician. In Maryland, for instance, federal money is even being used to pay mystery shoppers to secretly check ...

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The Miami Herald is reporting an investigation of a psychiatrist who wrote almost 100,000 prescriptions a year. Sen. Grassley and the feds have halted payment to this Miami psychiatrist who stated that "he prescribes only what is medically necessary" and "works long hours, seeing patients for 10 minutes at a time and many of his patients need four or five medications." I have no personal knowledge, interaction, acquaintance with psychiatrist Dr. ...

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Originally published in HCPLive.com by Jeff Brown, MD Fiduciary responsibility is the obligation for people entrusted with financial affairs to act in their client's best interest, theoretically being both transparent in their dealings and accountable for them. Typically, this applies to CPAs, lawyers, financial advisers and the like. Would that it were also true for our legislators, but that's a story for another day. To the point, physicians do not usually think ...

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After the LA County + USC Medical Center closed my “Pain and Palliative Care Service” because of budget cuts in 1995, I spoke out publicly about the dysfunctional financial reimbursement system funding charity care in LA County. For example, when my consultation service controlled the pain and distressing symptoms of over 400 terminally ill cancer and AIDS patients per year and discharged them to home hospice programs, the hospital lost about ...

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Originally posted in HCPLive.com by Lisa Schulmeister, RN, MN "Behavior problems" were reported by 97% of 2,124 nurses and physicians responding to a survey conducted by the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE). The most common behaviors included degrading comments (reported by 85.5%), yelling (73.3%), cursing, inappropriate joking, and refusing to work with one another. The ACPE found that in some instances, nurses ...

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Public hospitals have a bad rap. They’re viewed by many as hospitals of last resort, and most patients with private insurance do anything to avoid them. As a long-time physician in a public hospital, I’m sensitive to this reputation. I wouldn’t work in my hospital if I didn’t feel that it delivered excellent health care. I’m certainly aware that private hospitals have amenities that public hospitals can’t afford, but many of ...

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Originally published in MedPage Today by Chris Emery, MedPage Today Contributing Writer Medical teams should take a lesson from airplane crews, a new study concludes. Medical personnel who used procedural checklists modeled after preflight checklists used by airplane crews were more likely to report safety-related incidents and feel empowered to address safety issues, according to an online report in the Dec. 21 ...

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