The desire to be touched by and connected with others is among our most primal and, until recently, our most untapped qualities. There have always been powerful signs of it. Those of us who remember exchanging letters with distant friends and family know the palpable anticipation when a letter arrived. Years ago I visited the senior center at Pan American Hospital in Miami, an institution beloved by the “abuelos” (grandparents), mostly elderly ...

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Recently, 47 American medical specialty societies sent Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) a letter, with copies to all members of Congress, containing a detailed defense of the American Medical Association’s (AMA’s) Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC). For 20 years, the RUC has exclusively advised the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on physician procedure valuation ...

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On Kaiser Health News, Barbara Levy MD, the Chair of the AMA’s Relative Value Scale Update Committee (or RUC), published a glowing defense of the RUC’s activities. Her article extols the work of the 29 physician volunteers who, "at no cost to taxpayers ... generously volunteer their time, supported by advisers and staff from more than 100 national medical specialty societies and health care professional organizations." She fails to mention that the ...

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The recent explosion of interest in onsite clinics – not just by employers, but by health plans, hospital systems, public health programs, and others – is anything but just another health care fad. At once, clinics’ growing popularity signals purchasers’ weariness with an intransigent, self-interested health system, as well as their guarded optimism about a better way. Today’s best clinics are single-mindedly focused on what works best for the patient and ...

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Last week my wife and best friend, Elaine, had massive abdominal surgery. We fully expected her to be an inpatient for a week, but she was home in four and half days. To watch her recover was to see what happens when everything converges: the deep knowledge and skills of excellent, humane physicians; a capable, caring clinical staff; wonderful new technologies; and a lifetime of eating right, being fit and ...

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