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Medicare E&M Guidelines Undermine Patient Care

Since the late 1990s, American physicians have labored under a set of tortuous documentation requirements imposed upon them by our government. The E&M guidelines (for “evaluation and management”), apply to the documentation that physicians are now obligated to provide in support of their Medicare billing. The E&M guidelines, first instituted in 1995 and revised in 1997, were part of the Clintons’ great fraud reduction initiative. Ostensibly, the strict documentation requirements reduce the opportunity for fraudulent billing.

While doctors initially railed against the E&M guidelines, they now suffer them in relative silence. The E&M guidelines have become, in fact, just one more hurdle which doctors must navigate as they pick their way through the vast obstacle course that now defines the practice of American medicine. Indeed, younger doctors accept the odious documentation requirements as a matter of course, knowing nothing better, just as children born into the direst third-world slums accept their abject poverty without notable complaint. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Covert Rationing Blog*

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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