Before reading any further, I would like to issue a warning. If your ideas about healthcare delivery are of an older ilk; if you cling white-knuckled to past dogma, please stop reading now. What follows may cause your atria to fibrillate.
Last month I wrote that the best tool for treating atrial fibrillation (AF) was to give patients information—to teach them about their AF, its complications, role of lifestyle factors and the many treatment options. I didn’t say this was easy. In fact, thoroughly explaining AF takes nearly the same time it takes me to isolate the pulmonary veins–a lot longer than the 10 minutes allotted for a typical office visit. (Remember: of a 30 minute office visit, I have to review your chart, listen attentively to your story, examine you, and complete the e-record. That doesn’t leave much time for teaching.)
I was serious about the role of education in AF therapy, but I didn’t have any hard data to support such a bold claim. All I could offer was 15 years of experience on the front lines of treating AF—cardiology’s most expensive and prevalent disease.
But now I have found some real-world data to support the thesis that good teaching translates to better AF outcomes. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Dr John M*
As doctors increasingly become physician-employees, there’s no longer a need to share resources with university specialists:
Three University of Virginia cardiologists have been told by the Augusta Health board they will lose their hospital privileges next week, impacting the 2,500 patients the doctors serve.
Augusta Health officials [Crow] told the doctors in a letter that they won’t be able to treat their patients in emergencies or otherwise at the hospital in Fishersville. Crow’s statement said the board is limiting cardiology department participation to doctors “under contract to Augusta Health.”
Augusta Health has four cardiologists on staff, and will soon have a fifth, he said. Limiting cardiology participation to the hospital’s own doctors will allow Augusta Health “to build a strong and financially viable community-based cardiology program,” Crow said.
Universities have a long history of exporting their clinical expertise in the hopes of capturing more complicated surgical cases from their imbedded specialists. With more and more health systems consolidating (note the 3-for-1 swap above), the days of collaboration and shared resources between health systems are ending and patients are finding access to doctors more challenging.
-WesMusings of a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.
*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*
The American Medical Association will launch a multi-million-dollar ad campaign tomorrow to heighten pressure on Congress for a doc-fix bill. The American College of Physicians (ACP) reacted by calling for doctors to contact their member of Congress directly to let their voices be heard. Robert Centor, FACP, called for doctors to protest as well. (American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, DB’s Rants)
Meanwhile, a Florida medical society predicts a crisis in that senior-laden state. The society cited but did not name eight primary care doctors who’ve stopped accepting Medicare patients this year, and 12 cardiologists who left private practice for employment elsewhere because of already reduced payments. Unbelievably, business columnist Steven Pearlstein sorted through the issues around the doc fix, and concluded that it’s the docs that need fixing for paying themselves generous salaries. (Naples News, The Washington Post) Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*