KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Medical Groups Weigh In On Health Reform, Pay Freeze

News outlets report on how new treatment models impact care, as well as political developments and positions among medical organizations.

Bloomberg Businessweek/HealthDay: Meanwhile, "[p]atients have better outcomes when pharmacists are part of patient-care teams," according to a review published in the recent issue of the journal Medical Care. "The researchers analyzed 298 studies and found that inclusion of pharmacists in patient care led to improved outcomes in a number of important areas, such as better diabetes control, lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol." The review further revealed that "[p]harmacist participation in patient care was also associated with a nearly 50 percent decrease in adverse drug reactions, fewer medication errors, improved patient compliance with drug regimens, and higher overall quality of life scores." That finding extended to hospitalized patients, who benefited from more pharmacist care through lower rates of readmission (Preidt, 11/30).

Modern Healthcare: "National Nurses United, whose 160,000 registered-nurse members include 7,000 Veterans Affairs RNs, blasted Obama's announcement of a two-year wage freeze for all nonmilitary federal workers. Freezing the wages of 2.1 million federal civil employees is projected to save about $5 billion over two years." NNU co-president Jean Ross complained that the cuts "would make recruitment efforts of VA nurses even more difficult" and further prevent "expanding collective-bargaining rights for VA nurses" (Carlson, 11/30).

Health Affairs: Conservative members of the American Medical Association, "which up to now has provided valuable support for President Obama's health care reform effort," are revolting against the new health law's individual mandate. "Conservative doctors, who have formed a Tea Party-type movement they call 'Take Back the Profession,' vow to continue their fight to reverse AMA support for the individual mandate and emphasize the AMA's more market-oriented policy positions," including high-risk pools, insurance subsidies, and health savings accounts. They want the AMA to prioritize a campaign to allow doctors "to charge Medicare patients fees over and above what Medicare pays." Despite internal opposition, the organization is standing behind its prior commitment, according to an AMA spokesman, and continues to support the individual mandate if it will help expand access to care (Meyer, 11/30).

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