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Medical Malpractice: Perspectives From A Doctor And A Lawyer

Medical malpractice is a major issue that divides doctors and lawyers — with patients often left in the middle. I wrote last year in USA Today that reform is sorely needed, mainly to help injured patients be compensated more quickly and fairly than they currently are:

Researchers from the New England Journal of Medicine found that nearly one in six cases involving patients injured from medical errors received no payment. For patients who did receive compensation, they waited an average of five years before their case was decided, with one-third of claims requiring six years or more to resolve. These are long waits for patients and their families, who are forced to endure the uncertainty of whether they will be compensated or not.

And with 54 cents of every dollar injured patients receive used to pay legal and administrative fees, the overhead costs clearly do not justify this level of inefficiency.

In this video excerpt from The Vanishing Oath, a film directed by Ryan Flesher, M.D., perspectives from both sides are given, and it’s easy to see why this contentious issue isn’t going to be resolved anytime soon:

*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*

Provide Healthcare, Get Investigated?

When I started medical school, if someone had told me that providing healthcare to my patients would be grounds for a Department of Justice inquiry into the care I delivered, I would have laughed in their face. But the government’s desperate financial times require desperate measures. From the Report on Medicare Compliance:

Both the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Recovery Audit Contractors (RAC) are focusing investigations on Medicare billing for implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) surgery. The reimbursement rate for ICD surgery is one of the higher dollar Medicare Severity Diagnosis Related Groupings (MS-DRG). The DOJ’s investigation is focusing on both medical necessity and MS-DRG coding validation issues, while the RACs are currently only conducting MS-DRG validation reviews. According to the CMS national coverage determination (NCD), Medicare pays for ICD implantation for eight specific conditions. However, there are many circumstantial limitations to coverage in these conditions that often lead to CMS not covering the implantation. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

How The System Affects Our Doctors: A Must-See Documentary

Yesterday a much-anticipated package arrived in the mail containing a documentary film directed (and acted) by a young emergency room physician, Ryan Flesher, M.D., and produced by a former clinical social worker, Nancy Pando, L.I.C.S.W. The film is called “The Vanishing Oath.”

As background, the film is a 3-year project born in 2007 just before the great U.S. healthcare reform debate began. Over 200 hours of interviews were conducted to explore a simple question:

Why Dr. Flesher had grown to hate medicine. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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