Tips for doctors who negotiate reimbursement rates with insurance companies

Originally published in HCPLive.com

by Ed Rabinowitz

When it comes to negotiating fees with health plans, practices and physicians have more leverage than they realize. The problem, says John Schmitt, a managed care expert with EthosPartners Healthcare Management Group, is that practices often don’t even try. “Groups negotiate an agreement with a payor and then, for whatever reason, just fi le it away. Most medical groups do not have a good, proactive …

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How psychiatrists may be giving their patients too many drugs

Originally published in MedPage Today

by John Gever, MedPage Today Senior Editor

Psychiatrists who prescribe drugs for their patients today usually give more than one at a time, often with little scientific basis, researchers said.

About 60% of patients with psychiatrist office visits leading to a drug prescription received at least two medications in 2005-2006, according to government survey data analyzed by Ramin …

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Seeing floaters or flashing lights can be caused by posterior vitreous or retinal detachment

Originally posted in Insidermedicine

The eye is very similar to a camera. Both are optical systems that have lenses in the front to focus light rays onto a film. The retina is the eye’s film. It is a tissue that consists of 10 layers and is about 500 microns thick—or, half a millimeter. The main function of the retina is to trap light rays, convert them into electrical impulses, and send …

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Op-ed: Humor can be healing for both doctors and patients

A version of this op-ed, co-written with Doug Farrago, was published on October 26th, 2009 in Medscape.

It’s tough to be a doctor these days. Whether it’s listening to the difficulties of our medical colleagues as they try to best care for their patients, or engaging other health professionals about the uncertainties surrounding health reform, we’ve noticed a tense, sometimes gloomy, atmosphere among physicians.

A recent survey from the Annals of Internal …

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Can family doctors do safe first trimester abortions?

Originally published in MedPage Today

by Chris Emery, MedPage Today Contributing Writer

Complications from first trimester abortions performed by family practitioners are rare, and family doctors could help address abortion provider shortages across the U.S., a new study found.

Among more than 2,500 abortions performed by family physicians, abortion was successful without complications in 96.5% of patients using medications (95% CI 95.5% …

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Many women report nerve-related persistent pain after breast surgery

Originally published in Insidermedicine

Nearly half of women who undergo surgery and other treatments for breast cancer report having persistent pain in and around the treatment area a year or more later, probably because of nerve damage, according to research published in the November 10 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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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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Should doctors be paid to e-mail their patients?

by Michael Kirsch, MD

This is a less controversial issue than patients ‘friending’ their doctors on Facebook, which I oppose. Although most physicians’ offices are not e-mailing with patients, perhaps they should. There are several obvious advantages.

* Decompress phone lines, which are suffocating nearly every medical practice in America.

* Relieve patients of the cruel and unusual punishment of languishing on ‘hold’ listening to elevator music or dead air.

* Allow office staff …

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