KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

As Practices Change, Family Physician Has Trouble Retiring

The New York Times: Family Physician Can't Give Away Solo Practice
Dr. [Ronald] Sroka has practiced family medicine for 32 years in a small, red-brick building just six miles from his childhood home. ... Dr. Sroka, 62, thought about retiring. He tried to sell his once highly profitable practice. No luck. He tried giving it away. No luck. Dr. Sroka's fate is emblematic of a transformation in American medicine. ... [D]octors like him are increasingly being replaced by teams of rotating doctors and nurses who do not know their patients nearly as well. A centuries-old intimacy between doctor and patient is being lost (Harris, 4/22).

Meanwhile, two news outlets look at new practices that could be beneficial.

The Boston Globe: Digging The Benefits
Franciscan Hospital, which treats children with a variety of special needs, is among a number of American hospital systems, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers that maintain gardens that patients can work in. So-called therapeutic gardening helps patients feel better, recover faster and stay healthy longer, according to decades of research, mainly conducted in Europe and Asia (Weintraub, 4/25).

The Associated Press: Farms Get Individualized Maps To Avert Emergencies
In a rural health educator's dream vision for farm country, the flat fertile landscape will be dotted with little black plastic tubes strapped to power poles at each farmstead. The sealed cylinders look fairly innocuous, but the contents inside are like gold for emergency responders: detailed computer-generated maps of each farm, specifying precise locations for flammable chemicals and fuels, power turnoff switches, grain bins, water supplies and precious livestock. In fires, explosions, accidents and other farm emergencies, being able to quickly locate these items could prevent or reduce property damage, injuries and even deaths to farmers and rescuers (4/25).

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