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Addressing Healthcare Spending: “Cowardice” Or Bravery?

In assessing the “best and worst” of the recommendations from the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility, Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein accuses the Commission of “cowardice” in addressing healthcare spending:

“The plan’s healthcare savings largely consist of hoping the cost controls . . . and various demonstration projects in the new healthcare law work and expanding their power and reach. . . In the event that more savings are needed, they throw out a grab bag of liberal and conservative policies . . . but don’t really put their weight behind any. . .[their] decision to hide from the big questions here is quite disappointing . . . ”

Pretty harsh words, considering that in other respects Klein gives the Commission high marks. But I think there is a lot more to the Commission’s recommendations on healthcare spending than meet’s (Klein’s) eyes, even though I have my own doubts about the advisability and political acceptability of many of them. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty*

Reflections Of A Clinician-Educator

A version of the following post by Kimberly Manning appeared on the blog Reflections of a Grady Doctor:

May and June mark the end of our academic year in medical education. The medical students either advance to the next level or become sho’ nuff and bonified doctors — albeit uncertified and untrained — but doctors nonetheless. The interns exit the novice stage and become residents — one week asking someone senior what to do, the next telling someone junior what to do. And of course, the senior residents and fellows finally get the stamp of approval that officially releases them from the nest. It’s kind of bittersweet for folks like me — the surrogate mommies and daddies that helped guide them along this path to becoming full-fledged physicians. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Hospitalist*

Medical Errors And Patient Safety: Beware The “July Effect”

Young InternFrom Dr. Toni Brayer at Everything Health:

We medical folks have always known that July is the worst time for a patient to be admitted to the hospital. It has nothing to do with nice summer weather or staff vacations. Although it cannot be proven, we think the answer to the mystery of July hospital errors is human — yes, it’s the new interns.

A new study published in the June issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine looked at all U.S. death certificates from 1979 to 2006. They found that in teaching hospitals, on average deadly medication mistakes surged by 10 percent each July. The good news is they did not find a surge in other medical errors, including surgery or in non-teaching hospitals. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

The Primary Care Shortage: What We Can Do Today

The new healthcare reform law, which is called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), will be a huge disappointment to the millions of previously-uninsured people who finally purchase insurance policies when they try to find a doctor.

Primary care physicians are already in short supply and the most popular ones have closed practices or long waits for new patients. Imagine when 2014 hits and all of those patients come calling. Who is going to be available to treat them? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

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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