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Latest Posts

How To Pick Good Health Insurance

Unless your doctor is a policy expert, in healthcare administration, a researcher, an author or blogger, I seriously doubt he will be reviewing an important report card that helps you pick the best health insurance plan that keeps you healthy. Published annually by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), this year’s report card ranks 227 health plans across the country on their ability to keep you healthy and well, treat you quickly, and how patients feel about their insurance coverage.

Because unlike banking or airlines where there is not much difference in ATM machines or planes, there is a big difference in whether a health insurance plan helps in keeping its enrollees healthy. Do children get their vaccinations? Do healthy mothers get screened for breast cancer or cervical cancer with mammograms and pap smears respectively? Do kids only get antibiotics appropriately for strep throat and not overtreated and unnecessarily when they have a viral illness or cold? Are adults over 50 screened for colon cancer (something Dr. Oz can relate to). Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*

Checkups For You, Checkmarks For Your Doctor

My car was making a chirping noise when I drove forward and a high-pitched whine when I went in reverse, so I took it into the mechanic and, while he’s under the hood, for some long-deferred routine maintenance (an oil change).

So when the phone rang, I was expecting him to tell me I need new brakes. Nope, it’s the pharmacy, which can’t refill a prescription. I have to see the doctor in person. I’m not sick, but I’d deferred my routine maintenance for too long. In this case, because I’m on a maintenance drug, he needs to check my blood pressure (which by this point was rising). Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

Massachusetts: A Foreshadow For Healthcare Reform?

Paul Levy, President and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, suggests we watch Massachusetts for what might be coming with healthcare reform:

Things are playing out just as one might predict in the Massachusetts small business and individual insurance market. The Insurance Commissioner turned down proposed rate increases, the state’s insurers appealed to the courts, and now they can’t write policies.

Perhaps more concerning is what Dennis Byron, a commenter on Mr. Levy’s blog, says about insurance exchanges:

I care because I am one of those who has been cancelled by my insurer (Fallon), solely, I believe, because I am an individual, have been told to go to the exchange, but the exchange does not work. This is a perfect example of why you don’t want the guys that run the registry running your healthcare.

If nothing else, this exposes the risks inherent to mandating unproven policy initiatives on a national scale that have yet to be even worked out in a single state.

*Sigh*

-WesMusings of a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.

*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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