After a semester of medical school, I returned home to the Antelope Valley in California, an area CNN coined, “health care’s nowhere land” because of low health insurance rates and limited provider networks that force residents to travel far for care. I wanted to help my family and neighbors by using the physical exam skills I learned during my first few months as a medical student, but ...

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Less than one year ago, on an early fall evening in Las Vegas, 59 people were killed at the outdoor Harvest music festival. A single shooter injured hundreds more, using firearms purchased through lawful channels. There have been many mass shootings in our country, before and since, and in 2015, deaths from gun violence eclipsed for the first time deaths from motor vehicle accidents. Not long after Las Vegas, discussion emerged in ...

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On my morning commute as I read this NPR article, memories started flooding my brain. I could not control myself and had to write this. My last name “Theetha Kariyanna" has its origin from a small village Theetha and added to it is my dad's name Kariyanna (a local folk god). Back in my school days, the name was weird to my friends as the name ...

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What’s the cost of the procedure? A common (and, frankly, reasonable) question from patients contemplating a surgery. “It depends” is the honest and accurate answer — yet frustrating to provider and patient. The reason for the ambiguity is that it’s all but impossible to tell a patient what his or her own cost will be. Patients (again, reasonably) express frustration as to why there isn’t a set price for a given operational procedure. ...

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I’m writing this piece because I’m finally at the point that I am truly angry. I am angry at how physicians have become devalued in modern health care. I’m angry at how systems of care have participated in this by replacing physicians with lesser trained mid-level practitioners. I’m angry at how our title “doctor” has been hijacked to allow patients to be misled or, in many cases, deceived. It wasn’t that ...

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In the recent years, there is a growing trend in the health care industry whereby private practitioners and independent groups are being acquired by larger companies. This trend is a result of growing complexities of running a private practice and increased expectations of hospital administrators from hospital-based specialists such as anesthesiologists, radiologists and pathologists. I will concentrate on anesthesia as it is my area of specialization, and I have some relevant ...

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Like all doctors, I am frustrated when I see my patients missing out on what could be years of good health. And our medical system is so dysfunctional that it’s tempting for doctors and patients to blame poor health outcomes on how we pay for medical care. But, our ridiculous payment system is a symptom, not the cause of our problems, and fixing our medical system is not going to ...

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Gun safety, gun rights. On reading these words, some have immediately assumed that I’m a far-left liberal who is proposing breaking into their homes, stealing their guns and melting them down to make a statue of a kneeling, gay football player to place on the National Mall. Still others have immediately assumed that I’m a far-right conservative speeding by in my rebel-flag-waving, coal-rolling, king cab pickup with my loaded AR-15 in the ...

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On a recent flight, I sat next to a woman of about 30 who was originally from France but has lived in London for a number of years for work. After exchanging the usual pleasantries, she found out I am a family physician and it became clear she wanted to give me her opinion of the British health care system. I didn’t dissuade her. For a little background, both the U.K. ...

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Because I wrote my book, I was recently asked to summarize the health care crisis. I have focused almost 25 years of research and writing about health care on what is happening on the ground, every day, with doctors and patients. I'm not an economist or financing expert or technology geek, so I can't offer anything there. I am a practicing psychologist with advanced training in health care research ...

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