Category Archives: health reform

Transparency in Medicine

Ever wonder what healthcare would look like if we recognized the fact that everyone is human? What if we actually recognized that healthcare practitioners are human, normal people who are often affected by circumstances they cannot control.  Whether those circumstances occur before they enter work or while they are working, sometimes their work is affected. No one is perfect and to hold doctors to the standard of perfect is a tall order. Tort reform has worked to protect doctors from frivolous lawsuits, but isn’t this interesting?  When people search the internet for medical information, they are often led to websites run by trial lawyers.  hhmmm,  Coincidence?  I think not.  This is one example of why doctors (when they do make mistakes) are more apt to cover them up or place blame somewhere else.  Seriously, wouldn’t you if your decades of training, practice, financial stability, and reputation were at stake?

That’s why this story is so inspiring.  It’s a little piece of hope.  Someone made a mistake and admitted it.  Can you imagine how much more effective and efficient our entire healthcare system might be if people were more transparent about the guidelines they followed stringently and things still went wrong (which, in this case, might lead to changing standard guidelines to improve the system based on evidence instead of estimated guessing) and guidelines they did not obey (and maybe never do because of how absurd and time-consuming they may be).  Imagine a world where doctors feel free to admit how they ACTUALLY treated their patients for that infection or performed that surgery.  Clinical practice guidelines would be based on evidence that proved effective and ineffective through clinical practice.  We would all be better for it.


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Health Reform: What You Need to Know

Kaiser Family Foundation created this informative Youtoon to simplify the explanation of what the new health reform law means for you and me.  It’s less than 10 minutes long and I promise you will have a greater understanding of what the bill entails and how it will affect us.

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One Example of Our Faulty System

I hear varying opinions about the national health reform.  Depending on who you speak with, health reform is either a vision of hope or a nightmare.  Those that hope in healthcare are usually blue collar workers who were previously unable to afford health insurance.  Several refugees (I’m talking about legal, documented individuals and families) are unable to afford health insurance offered by their employers and have not been educated on the great need of having insurance for when you or your children get sick.  This reform means that their children will be covered, that they will be more likely to afford healthcare and that if they don’t purchase it-they are breaking the law.

For medical providers-especially doctors-this reform could be disastrous. As this article conveys, most physicians incur debt because of their training and their compensation for the decade (sometimes longer) of training they have undergone.  This reform means that doctors might lose the compensation they receive for their work and primary care physicians are threatened least by this national reform.  At this point, most specialists are peeing their pants trying to figure out how this reform is going to affect them.  They should be-It’ seems as though this reform, in trying to tackle too big a beast without enough specific understanding of the problems of our system, may instead injure the one party we need most in this healthcare system. The doctors. 

yes, there have been a few attempts in regulation of the industry: mandating that employers offer health insurance and that individuals get it, transparency of the insurance companies raising rates and reform for those refusing to cover those who need it the most (the sick),  and for hospitals as a whole to cut down on administrative costs and other overhead, but at the end of the day-when you start playing with the roles of physicians and try to reform their practices and compensation-quality of care for patients is directly effected.  All other regulations offer indirect effects to patients-cheaper care, access to care-but if you mess with the doctors, you are directly messing with patients.  The last think we want is for people to decide, ‘medical school just isn’t worth the hassle-I’m going to spend 10+ years of training to start working with inadequate compensation under harsh regulatory conditions in an environment where everyone is out to screw me.’

Again, I’m going to point us to preventative efforts and looking at healthcare under a microscope-get to the root of the problem and treat it, don’t just try to cover it up with a band-aid. 

Read about the possible fate of Primary Care Doctors  by clicking here.

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An Overview for Brazilians about the U.S. Health System…Just in Time for Tomorrow’s Meeting

Today I gave a lecture to 40 Brazilian medical students and a few professors about the U.S. Health System.  In one sitting? Yes, I tried to explain our immensely complicated system to people who go to the doctor when then are sick and leave having paid nothing.  It’s that simple. How did I explain our system? I basically decided to lightly touch Medicaid and Medicare and spent most of my time trying to simplify the mystifying intricacies of our wonderful private healthcare system.  It only took an hour. But the students seems baffled at the differences.  I was surprised by a few of the similarities between our systems.  Apparently they have trouble getting medical students to practice primary care in Brazil as well.  For the same reasons we do in the U.S.  I digress…

At the end of our conversation (because it was a very open forum, which I loved!) one student asked me about the health reform.  I told her that was a whole different talk but briefly explained what happened in the House and Senate and what Obama is proposing for tomorrow’s talk with Congressional leaders.  If you want to know what our President is proposing for our health system, CLICK HERE and read away.  Oh, if it were only that simple.  They also asked if I thought reform would ever happen…I guess I’ll save my opinion for another blog.  Let’s just say I think we have a long way to go before we take that step.

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Heath Reform Bill

Can you believe it?  It finally passed.  In the House at least.  Last night, 220 House Representatives voted for a health reform bill promoting health reform in America, trumping the 215 votes that opposed the bill.

Health reform is on the way. Maybe. Many individuals voted for the bill so that amendments can be made as it progresses through the Senate and may one day become a bill-that we actually implement.  Others, voted against for the exact same reason-some serious changes need to be made before going forward.

Ironic that I’m in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the American Public Health Association (APHA) annual conference. We shall see what the mood is of 12,000 health care professionals across America gathered today at the convention center in the city of brotherly love, in addressing healthcare for all.

On another note, I have never seen so much ass-kissing to Nancy Pelosi in my life.  Thank you Madame Speaker, it was all you.  Never mind the thousands of other governmental, grassroots, private, and public sectors and people who have worked to accomplish a comprehensive health care reform.

Don’t get too excited, this reform will not happen overnight-it might not happen at all like you think it will. If it actually becomes law, it’s all about implementation; and that is a whole different ball game.

Speaking of ballgames, the Eagles are playing the Cowboys tonight in Philly.  For some reason, everyone here hates the Cowboys.  One man last night said it’s because of our running success in the 90’s.  Remember the days of Jimmy Johnson, Troy Aikman, Emmit Smith, and Michael Irvin?  Ya, so do the northerners.  And they aren’t fans.  GO COWBOYS!!!!!

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Health Care Reform in Houston…

PBS had an interesting little program on today.  The jest of the program revolved around the fact that Harris County, toting the largest medical center in the nation, also represents the largest number of uninsured individuals in the nation.   Check out the hour-long program and the resources listed for more information on how national reform will affect Texans.  Houston Health Care Reform: Resources

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This is what is wrong with healthcare in America

For the past few days, I’ve been feeling a little under the weather.  My throat is sore, my voice is hoarse, I’m coughing and spitting up some pretty thick and nasty flem.   All this and it’s midterms.  So I did what any American with insurance does, I called the doctor’s office and made an appointment so he (or she) could diagnose me and send me on my merry way.  By the time I had finished the appointment, the nurse practitioner who saw me (no people, not even a doctor) suggested I rest and drink lots of fluids.  Thank you for that information, I had no idea.  She called it an upper respiratory viral infection and for that diagnosis, a mere 82 dollars.  WHAT?!  I’m a student, and this is my student insurance and I can’t believe you people are charging me this much to see a nurse who told me to get some rest!

Apparently I hadn’t met my deductible yet. Ya, that basically means I need to rack up a bunch of useless visits and charge them so that I meet the deductible so that I don’t have to pay the $82.

I have been talking about starting this blog for a long time.  So be it that this visit finally fueled the beginning of this blog which will be dedicated to health.  Health care, national health reform, health policy, healthy lifestyles etc. So here we go…Enjoy


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