There was outrage over the sudden rise in the price of the EpiPen. But the rise in many other pharmaceutical prices gets less attention but is just as concerning. It can be easy to forget issues like this until they affect us personally. My two encounters with irrational drug price increases for dermatologic conditions are
Post Author: Stephen C. Schimpff, MD
Stephen C. Schimpff is a quasi-retired internist, professor of medicine and public policy, former CEO, University of Maryland Medical Center, and senior advisor, Sage Growth Partners. He is the author of Fixing the Primary Care Crisis: Reclaiming the Patient-Doctor Relationship and Returning Healthcare Decisions to You and Your Doctor.
Part of a series. We are all aging every day, but mostly we ignore, do not recognize or deny it. Then all of a sudden, we look in the mirror and realize that older age has found us. Even then each person deals with aging differently. There is Dr. Seuss’ “Cat in the Hat” who sees
Part of a series. A pill to end aging. Is there or could there be such a pill? Some researchers think so. Many believe that rather than attack the causes and treatment of chronic illnesses one by one, it would be better to understand the biology of aging and from that learn how to slow the
Part of a series. Cognitive decline is a normal process of aging; Alzheimer’s is a disease. Cognitive decline due to aging can be slowed but not halted with appropriate lifestyle approaches. The “big four” are equally important to slow cognitive decline: Don’t smoke. Reduce stress. Exercise often. And eat a quality diet in moderation. Good sleep
Part of a series. Can we slow the aging process? The answer is a definite yes. It’s not easy and requires some real diligence, but aging can be slowed. When thinking about a car we all know “old parts were out.” It is equally true for the human body. But less appreciated is the fact that
Part of a series. Beginning at about age 40, our bodies begin a process of organ and functional decay of about 1 percent per year. Bone mineral density decline leads eventually to osteoporosis and fracture risk, cognition decline leads to memory and thinking impairments, and muscle decline leads to loss of strength while increasing the
Part of a series. The percentage of the population that will be “elderly” is rising fairly dramatically. In 1900 only four percent of the population was over 65 and only one percent over 75. By 1950 it was eight and three percent, respectively. By 2000 it was thirteen and five percent, and now it’s about
Part of a series. For most of recorded human history, lifespans did not change. Life expectancy doubled in the twentieth century. At the time of Lincoln the average life span was 38 years; today it is about 78 to 80 years. But whenever it ends it is like a waterfall. Most people begin to die
Part of a series. Those of you who have read some of my past posts are aware that I wrote mostly about various aspects of primary care and our dysfunctional healthcare delivery system overall. About 18 months ago I wrote a post for KevinMD on moving to a retirement community. More recently I became focused
Part of a series. Here is a model for the delivery of primary care which offers certain rights balanced by responsibilities for patient, provider and insurer alike. First the rights of each party. As a patient, you deserve a high level of care in a satisfying manner without frustrations. The insurer and your employer want
Part of a series. I have advocated in this series of posts on direct primary care in one form or another (i.e., membership, retainer-based, concierge and various other incarnations and conceptions) because it works well for both patients and primary care practitioners. Direct primary care allows the doctor the opportunity to give the type of
Part of a series. Primary care needs to change. That change will need the concerted efforts of patients, doctors, and other constituents. Many are cynical and believe that no worthwhile change can ever occur; others are simply resigned. But optimism can be realistic with intense advocacy and simply taking the initiative to make change. This
Part of a series. Among Medicare recipients, those discharged from the hospital incur about a 20 percent risk of an unplanned readmission within 30 days. The number is higher for some conditions such as heart failure. This is the result of a terribly dysfunctional health care delivery system. Of course some patients will need readmission;
Part of a series. You know the serenity prayer, written by Reinhold Niebuhr in about 1940: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference. I saw an elderly woman in the hallway recently with the prayer
Part of a series. We tend to think of the primary care physician (PCP) as the one who does the simple stuff, a doctor who is a mile wide and an inch deep in knowledge and experience. That is a false impression. By education and experience, the PCP is actually a chronic disease specialist. That
Part of a series. Urgent care clinics provide a useful service to the community, but their days may be numbered with survival questionable resulting from intense competition from the chain pharmacies and soon from Walmart. Urgent care companies began to proliferate 30 years ago but have gained traction in recent years as emergency room wait
Part of a series. “It is all about vigilance and caring. Our aim is to put the caring back into health care and we are serious about that. Our standards are not how many patients did you see today but how much quality did you dispense today,” Dr. Greg Foti told me about the clinic
Part of a series. Readers of my posts know that I am a strong advocate for primary care and for granting the PCP added time per patient. Older patients in particular with both their many impairments and chronic illnesses need more time per visit. Here is an approach by a continuing care retirement community developer/manager
Part of a series. PCPs in the current reimbursement model are obliged for business reasons to see many patients per day which, of course, means less time per patient. PCPs are frustrated, and patients are less satisfied. With less time, it is hard to build a strong doctor–patient relationship and without it there is less
Part of a series. Patients need doctors that take time to listen which means a limited number of patients under care. Employers need programs that reduce costs and ideally improve the health of their staff. These apparently disparate needs can come together in a new model for effective company-sponsored primary care programs. Those of you
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