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The Federal Coordinating Council For Comparative Effectiveness Research: What Is It?

What is the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research? 

The mission of the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research will be to decide on best practices and most cost effective practices. The council will recommend cost effective treatments for diseases to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (NCFHIT). The NCFHIT will determine treatment at the time and place of care. It is charged with deciding the course of treatment for the diagnosis given by the doctor. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the formation and membership of the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research that will be funded by President Obama’s stimulus program the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The council was allocated $1.1 billion to set up comparative effectiveness of medical practice. 

Why was this $1.1 billion funded from the economic stimulus package? 

Unknown. The missions are based on the premise that practicing physicians do not have the ability to recommend the most cost-effective medical treatment for their patients. (See executive summary.) 

Who are the members?  

The members of the committee were picked without congressional approval immediately after the economic stimulus bill was passed. They are all bureaucrats working for the government in one capacity or another. There are no practicing physicians on the panel.

*This blog post was originally published at Repairing the Healthcare System*

Accountable Care Organizations: Additional Barriers To Success

Accountable Care Organization(ACOs) are not going to decrease the waste in the healthcare system. Waste occurs because of:

1. Excessive administrative service expenses by the healthcare insurance industry which provides administrative services for private insurance and Medicare and Medicaid. A committee is writing the final regulations covering Medical Loss ratios for President Obama’s healthcare reform act. The preliminary regulations are far from curative

2. A lack of patient responsibility in preventing the onset of chronic disease. The obesity epidemic is an example.

3. A lack of patient education in preventing the onset of complications of chronic diseases. Effective systems of chronic disease self- management must be developed.

4. The use of defensive medicine resulting in overtesting. Defensive medicine can be reduced by effective malpractice reform.

A system of incentives for patients and physicians must be developed to solve these causes of waste. A system of payments must also be developed to marginalize the excessive waste by the healthcare insurance industry. Patients must have control of their own healthcare dollars.

By developing ACOs, President Obama is increasing the complexity of the healthcare system. It will result in commoditizing medical care, provide incentives for rationing medical care, decrease access to care, and opening up avenues for future abuse.

The list of barriers to ACOs’ success is long and difficult to follow. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Repairing the Healthcare System*

Personal Hygiene, Role-Model Behavior, And The World Series

imageTo: Bud Selig, Commissioner of Baseball

Dear Mr. Selig:

The World Series is an exciting time. It’s important to promote the national pastime. Kids play baseball all over the world. I have been particularly interested in the post-season games this season because my home team, the Texas Rangers, is in the World Series. They have been playing magnificent baseball.

I have been both a Yankees and Rangers fan ever since the Rangers came to Texas. In fact, my brother and I went to the first Rangers game in Arlington Stadium. I have been a student of baseball strategy for many years. Baseball is a fantastic game.

Baseball players are role models to kids all over the world. A baseball player’s behavior on the playing field should be exemplary. Baseball players have been poor role models as far as spitting and scratching their crotch. I have never become immune to these tasteless rituals. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Repairing the Healthcare System*

The Medicare Reform Act: Smoke And Mirrors For Patients And Physicians

An interesting debate occurred in the Washington Post between Michael Leavitt, former secretary of Health and Human Services and a member of the Medicare Board of Trustees from 2005 to 2009, and Dr. Don Berwick, the director of CMS.

Michael Leavitt wrote a scathing article criticizing President Obama’s Medicare Reform Act calling it an illusion. Don Berwick wrote a rebuttal to Michael Leavitt’s article.

Michael Leavitt starts off his article by stating: “Despite the report from Medicare’s trustees this month that the hospital insurance trust fund will not be depleted until 2029, 12 years later than was predicted just last year, Medicare is no better off than it was a year ago. “

The Medicare Trustees Report was strange. Nothing was done to change anything and all of a sudden, the hospital insurance fund was extended 12 years. I thought it was funny arithmetic.

Medicare Trustees is supposed to be an organization independent of the administration. Shortly afterward, Richard Foster, Chief Actuary for Medicare, who is independent of both the Medicare Trustees and the administration, wrote an “Alternative Report.” His report received little coverage in the traditional media. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Repairing the Healthcare System*

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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