Do generalist doctors refer to specialists too much? Jeffrey Parks, otherwise known as the Buckeye Surgeon, has written numerous times on the issue, and his feeling is, yes, they do. And he's right. There are many physicians, along with mid-level providers like nurse practitioners and physician assistants, that refer to a spectrum specialists for routine conditions, especially in the hospital setting. Dr. Parks asks, "shall we continue with the status quo ...

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What should health care providers be doing in anticipation of the likely passage of an historic health reform bill? There are at least three possibilities: (1) Lament the passing of the good old days and oppose it; (2) Insist that it isn't good enough because it is lacking some key provision (tort reform; SGR replacement; robust public option); or (3) Embrace it, because incrementalism works, and prepare for what's coming down ...

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Originally published on MedPage Today by Emily P. Walker, MedPage Today Washington Correspondent As Congress stands poised to make the most sweeping change to the U.S. healthcare system since the creation of Medicare, a look back at the incremental growth in that program may serve as a harbinger for the progress of healthcare reform. The program -- which provides insurance for some 43 million ...

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Originally published in MedPage Today by Kristina Fiore, MedPage Today Staff Writer The American College of Cardiology (ACC) has filed suit against U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius charging that the 2010 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule was adopted unlawfully. The complaint seeks an injunction that will prevent the cuts -- which the association claims used a flawed survey for ...

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Here are the top posts from the past month, based on the number of times they were viewed. 1. Should health care workers go to jail for medical errors? 2. The hidden problem when patients e-mail their doctor 3. What’s a typical day of a primary care doctor like? 4. Would I vote for the Senate healthcare bill? Here’s where I stand on reform 5. Is the iPhone really worse ...

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The following op-ed, co-written with Rahul Parikh, was published on December 16th, 2009 in CNN.com. America is closer to meaningful health care reform than at any time in its history. As we have all witnessed, finding a way to both provide every American access to affordable health care while seeking to control health care costs has not been easy. Many of the proposed solutions have led to sharp disagreements, with contention ...

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Originally published in HCPLive.com by Alan Berkenwald, MD In 1904, the Scottish author Sir James Matthew Barrie sent Peter Pan off to Never-Never Land to escape growing up and to enjoy many-many adventures. As children, we all hoped it really existed. In truth, many of us fantasized, one day, to make the trip ourselves. Well, good news for physicians - that day has arrived! Read more...

Health economists estimate that 30 percent of annual health care spending is wasted money. That 30 percent translates to 700 billion dollars. Why is cutting health care costs such a challenge? Both Congress and the public are unwilling to admit that reducing health care is the only meaningful way to cut spending. Patients bristle at the suggestion of reduced access to an available test. This is partly due to the pervading ...

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Now that the Senate health care bill is nearing its home stretch, some are wondering if I continue to support reform. As a reminder, I wrote back in July that doctors should support Congress' health care reform efforts, because, "some reform is better than none, and doctors advocating for a free market-based system shouldn’t hold out, hoping for the perfect package." There were deuling columns in last Friday's New York Times, ...

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Originally published in MedPage Today by Kristina Fiore, MedPage Today Staff Writer Encouraging "medical homes" to deliver care outside the emergency room should be a key aspect of healthcare reform, according to researchers, policymakers, and business leaders. "It's not rocket science to put a nurse practitioner near a public housing project," said Jeffrey Brenner, MD, a physician in private practice in Camden, ...

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