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Lower Poverty Rates Result In Lower Healthcare Costs

The favorite sound bite of Dartmouth disciples is to compare some high cost locale with a low cost locale. First it was Miami vs. Mayo, then Birmingham vs. Grand Junction, then Los Angeles vs. Green Bay and now it’s Los Angeles vs. Portland. This time, Tom Brokaw delivered the message on Meet the Press: “At UCLA Medical Center, they spend $92,000 on the last two years of a life, but in Portland, Oregon, just north of there (it’s actually 825 miles north of there), they spend $52,000 because they’ve got better controls on Medicare.  So until you begin to pay for value and pay for performance, health care reform is not going to work.”

What do Miami, Birmingham and Los Angeles have in common, and what do Rochester MN (home of Mayo), Grand Junction CO, Green Bay WI and Portland OR have in common. One thing is poverty. The maps below show the density of poverty in each (light green shows census tracks with 20-40% poverty and red shows tracks with >40% poverty). Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at PHYSICIANS and HEALTH CARE REFORM Commentaries and Controversies*

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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