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Calling the Doctor After Hours Print E-mail
Written by MD Whistleblower   
Tuesday, 12 April 2016 00:00

Of course, patients are entitled to medical care around the clock. You would not expect to show up at 2:00 a.m. at an emergency room to find a 'Closed' sign. If you are having chest pain on a weekend, and you call your doctor's office, you should expect a prompt response from a living and breathing medical doctor. Patients are aware that when they call the doctor at night, that they are unlikely to reach their own doctor. Similarly, when a patient is admitted to the hospital, they will likely be attended to by a hospitalist, not the primary care physician. Such is the reality of medical practice today.
 
Here are 3 types of after hour calls that merit mentioning...
 
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Don't Squeeze, Tie, Slap or Bite the Hand that Feeds You Print E-mail
Written by A Country Doctor Writes   
Wednesday, 30 March 2016 00:00

Dear Health Care Business Leader,

I am writing to you in a spirit of cooperation, because the way health care works today, it is too complex a business to manage "on the side" while also taking care of patients. And I hope you don't have any illusions about medicine being so simple that non-physicians like yourself can manage patients' health care without trained professionals who understand medical science and can adapt the science and "guidelines" of medicine to individual patients with multiple interwoven problems with disease presentations that seldom match their textbook descriptions.

We need each other, at least under the current "system". So I ask you to view us as allies, because we actually do the work that ultimately pays your wage or your profit, and is the basis for your own performance metrics.

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From Learned Professionals to Skilled Workers: The Dangerous De-professionalization of Medicine Print E-mail
Written by A Country Doctor Writes   
Thursday, 17 March 2016 00:00

Physicians today are increasingly viewed and treated as skilled workers instead of professionals. The difference is fundamental, and lies at the root of today's epidemic of physician burnout.
 
Historically, there have been three Learned Professions: Law, Medicine and Theology. These were occupations associated with extensive learning, regulation by associations of their peers, and adherence to strong ethical principles, providing objective counsel and service for others.
 
Learned Professionals have, over many centuries, worked independently in applying their knowledge of Law, Theology or Medicine to the unique situations presented by those who seek their services.

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Olympus to fork over $646M to DOJ over bribery scandal in largest-ever medical device settlement Print E-mail
Written by FHI's Week in Review   
Monday, 07 March 2016 10:13

Stacy Lawrence, in a 3-2-16 FierceMedicalDevices article, reports:
The largest distributor of endoscopes in the U.S.,Olympus, has settled with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for $646 million over a series of criminal and civil charges that state it rewarded and won business by making illegal payments to doctors and hospitals. In addition, the company has an ongoing compliance burden to demonstrate that it is not continuing such activities. The DOJ sees this as a systemic problem that it must continue to address within the medical device industry. 

The settlement is the largest amount ever paid by a medical device company, according to a statement from the law firm that represented the whistleblower in the case, who was Olympus' former corporate compliance officer. Ironically, he was the first to hold that position at the company and he was fired due to his objections to the company's practices. No mention was made of the company's years-long difficulties with contaminated duodenoscopes and how it might relate to these bribery and kickback charges, although the DOJ is also conducting a separate investigation into that.
This is a shocking and disturbing development in the duodenoscope scandal and further evidence that the medical device industry wields too much market power.

Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>> http://conta.cc/1W35Cox
 
Will Feeding Watson $3 Billion Worth Of Healthcare Payment Data Improve Its Decisions? Print E-mail
Written by Ross Koppel & Frank Meissner, MD | The Health Care Blog   
Friday, 26 February 2016 00:00

On Feb 18, IBM announced its purchase of Truven Health Analytics for $2.6 billion. Truven collects and crunches payer data on medical costs and treatments. IBM will combine Truven's data with recent other data acquisitions from the Cleveland Clinic's "Explorys" and from Phytel, a software company that manages patient data. These data sets will be fed to Watson's artificial intelligence engine in hope of helping doctors and administrators improve care and reducing costs. Truven's data reflects more than 200 million patients' payment records. Collectively, Watson will now have access to healthcare data on about 300 million patients.

Our question is whether healthcare payer data are so inaccurate and, worse, biased, that they are more likely to mislead than guide?

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How Good Medicine Has Become the Exception Print E-mail
Written by Jordan Grumet, MD   
Thursday, 18 February 2016 00:00

Joe had one of the best geriatricians in the city. So when he got a call from the pharmacist saying his new prescription was ready, he assumed that it had to do with his recent annual visit and blood draw. His suspicions were confirmed, a few minutes later, when he got through to the nurse at the office.
 
Joe was politely informed that he had high cholesterol and was being put on a statin. Although he hung up the phone satisfied and raced out to the pharmacy to pick up his new pills, a casual observer might find a few things concerning.
 
Neither the doctor nor the nurse actually talked to Joe about the significance of high cholesterol. No one bothered to discuss with him the risks and benefits of statin medications. There was no mention of side effects or complications. No joint decision making. And certainly no consideration of a trial of diet and exercise.

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A Legal Look at the Healthcare Landscape in '16 Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Cohen, JD   
Thursday, 04 February 2016 00:00

Physicians are subject to the brunt of changing healthcare marketplace dynamics. But they're in the absolute best position to take leadership and benefit from doing so!

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