Change Will Not Come From DC

Paul Levy

Posted 2/22/12 on Not Running a Hospital

A New York Times editorial — “A Real ‘Doc Fix’” — provides a wonderful example of how a dogmatic adherence to a particular policy prescription causes one to develop constructs that are politically impractical.  This editorial is about how to tackle Medicare costs.  The proposed solution:

  1. Cut fees for specialists and then hold them flat;
  2. Have the Secretary of HHS identify overpriced and overused services and reduce the fees paid for them;
  3. “Protect primary care doctors” by holding their fees flat for a decade; and
  4. Establish a fee schedule that pays doctors more if they leave fee-for-service and form organizations that will coordinate care or take on the financial risk of managing a patient’s care for a year at a fixed fee.

There are germs of good ideas in here, but it doesn’t hold together.  Let’s look at reality.

Continue reading “Change Will Not Come From DC”

What Health Research Articles Can You Believe?

Joe Paduda

Posted 3/3/12 on Managed Care Matters

There’s a lot of mindless blather in the media about scientific studies on health that purport to say this or that about something or other – much of it confusing, contradictory, and/or outright wrong.

While a lot is just sloppy journalism, there’s quite a bit that can be attributed to bias; physicians and/or researchers on the payroll of a specific company or industry conduct and/or report on research that is favorable to their financial supporter. Roy Poses and Gary Schwitzer have been two of the most prominent voices focused on this issue, and both have done exemplary work not only identifying individual examples of biased “research” but in calling for a higher standard of reporting by all members of the media.

Roy’s work exposing the influence of big money on academic medicine is exemplary.

Continue reading “What Health Research Articles Can You Believe?”