Policy

Accountable care organization (ACO) and medical home differences

by Kevin Fickenscher, MD

In the great healthcare alphabet soup, it’s easy to lose sight of the differences between proposed solutions for making healthcare more efficient and effective.

Rather than tackling payment reform in isolation of care delivery, Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and Medical Homes offer a consolidated approach to both issues. While the models are still developing, various pilot programs are being implemented around the …

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Tips for questioning costs in today’s health care system

by Joanna Fief

About two years ago in the wee hours of the morning, I found myself in a local emergency room with severe stomach pain, incessant vomiting and dehydration.  It wasn’t pretty, and I was desperate for something – anything – to ease my pain and stop my vomiting.

Gratefully, within minutes of receiving an IV with medications for pain and nausea, my symptoms subsided.  After a couple of blood tests …

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Free clinics need more government funding

by Cole Petrochko

The nation’s free clinics provide medical service to 1.8 million patients annually — more than half of those clinics operate without government funding and serve patients who are almost all uninsured — according to the first census of free clinics in 40 years.

Responses to a national mail survey by 764 free clinics in the U.S., reported in the June issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, revealed that …

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Doctors make far less money than most people think

A video excerpt from The Vanishing Oath, a film directed by Ryan Flesher, MD.

The average physician salary in the United States is $146,000 — which is undeniably a lot of money at face value.

But it’s a lot less when you factor in the overhead costs that doctors incur.  And that’s not including the medical school debt which, on average, exceeds $150,000.

This clip shows how the take home pay of …

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Why did Canadian premier Danny Williams come to the United States for heart surgery?

Originally published in MedPage Today

by Michael Smith, MedPage Today North American Correspondent

It is rare that a simple matter of patient choice causes an international flap.

But that’s what happened when 60-year-old Danny Williams of St. John’s, Newfoundland, decided to go to the U.S. for heart surgery.

That’s because Williams isn’t just any old Newfoundlander — he’s the premier of Canada’s easternmost …

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How health care reform can improve public health

by Paula Hartman Cohen

Have we overlooked the public health aspect of health care reform?

In the health care reform debate, we’ve heard and read how health care reform will or will not work, what it will or will not cost, and how it will or will not impact each one of us as individuals.

We’ve also heard from those who have great faith in our current system, and sincerely believe we should …

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Is health care a public good?

by Jeoffry B. Gordon, MD, MPH

The public policy and current political action around changing the system overlooks two important technical fallacies:

(1) That health care is most efficiently distributed by a free market mechanism; and,
(2) That medical services are an ordinary commodity.

The commercial market model is a failing economic and public policy ideology used to rationalize and justify corporate control of the health care system to profit from the enterprise. …

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