Archive | Health Care Reform

timeforchange-300x277

Unethical Doctors and the Business of Medicine

A recent article in the New York Times brought back memories of unethical behavior in my former medical community and made me infuriated about the current practices of “medicine as a business.” The article, After Surgery, Surprise $117,000 Medical Bill From Doctor He Didn’t Know by Elizabeth Rosenthal, tells the story of Peter Drier, his cervical disc surgery […]

Continue Reading
Overdiagnosed_Welch

It Is Time to Reset Expectations About Immortality

I have recently spoken with two smart people who have optimistic views about future advances in medical technology that might enable cures for cancer, viral infections, paralysis, organ regeneration, etc. Invoking stem cell therapy, nanotechnology, spectrophotometry, genetic manipulation, immunomodulation and other biotechnologies, they argue for dramatic progress, if not Ray Kurzweil’s coming singularity (when “humans transcend biology”). […]

Continue Reading
3d rendered illustration of a polyp removal

State-of-the-Art Screening Saves Lives, But At What Cost?

When I finished my medical training I joined a generation of internists and sub-specialists who believed the next great advances would be in prevention of death by early diagnosis and treatment. A large part of our medical practice involved screening for “problems.” After 32 years of practice I came to the conclusion that screening for […]

Continue Reading
MaineAllCare

What Is “Fair” When It Comes to Healthcare?

I’ve been reaching out to healthcare reform leaders in Maine. The result of one such effort was an unexpected dinner invitation to the home of Philip Caper, M.D. and his wife Karen Foster in nearby Brooklin, ME. I had emailed Phil blindly, using the email with which he ends his regular guest column for the Bangor Daily […]

Continue Reading
WSJ_Medicare_site

You CAN Compare Physicians: An Insider’s Guide

I have been working with various free portals to access the newly available data on Medicare payments to providers. I would like to pass along what I have learned. Then I would like to comment on how you, the above average consumer (like the children of Lake Woebegone, all our readers are above average), can […]

Continue Reading
private-jets-charter-02

The Idiot’s Guide to Medicare Reimbursement

As you can imagine, I have been quite interested in reports on the subject of very large Medicare payments to a tiny number of physicians. According to the New York Times, just two percent of physicians received one quarter of Medicare payments in 2012. The recently released Medicare data is long overdue information useful to […]

Continue Reading
EMR_image

Why Electronic Medical Records Are Not the Cure

I was leafing through the April 2014 edition of The Atlantic when I came across an interview with David Blumenthal by James Fallows on the subject of EMRs (electronic medical records). I perked up because here were two brilliant men (Jim is also a friend) discussing one of my pet peeves. Dr. David Blumenthal, a former […]

Continue Reading
Sick_book_cover

When Insurance Companies Don’t Care About the Caregiver

A recent article in the Bangor Daily News has struck me deeply. It crystallizes so much of what is wrong with American health care. It relates the story of Sandi Tucker Kennedy, a 38-year-old mother of four and a nurse at the Maine Medical Center, who is rapidly deteriorating from a degenerative neurological disorder. The […]

Continue Reading