Docs’ Group Pushes For Changes To Medicare Payment Setting Panel
Meanwhile, other news outlets report on the challenges private practice physicians face in serving their patients and their own bottom lines, and ProPublica explores drug company payments to doctors.
The Wall Street Journal: Primary-Care Doctors Push For Raise
Primary-care physicians are pressing the agency that oversees Medicare to change a payment system they say places a higher value on work done by specialists. The American Academy of Family Physicians has sent a letter demanding changes to a committee that plays a key role in Medicare's process for setting physician payments. The academy wants the panel to add more members representing primary-care groups, among other adjustments (Mathews, 9/8).
The New York Times: Medical Practices Work On Ways To Serve Patients And Bottom Line
They do not teach business in medical school. When doctors go into private practice, they learn about profits and losses on the job, in a complex industry that is subject to large-scale forces beyond the control of most individuals (Lewis, 9/7).
Kansas City Star: The Future Of Medicine Is Up For Grabs
Family medicine doctor Jerad Widman is having a harder time than he'd like making a living. He's an old-fashioned, independent solo practitioner in an era when health care is consolidating, corporatizing. How much independence he and doctors like him manage to hold onto will say a lot about what health care looks like in the years ahead. ... Granger, a family physician with an MBA, is part of a group practice north of the river. It's the driving force behind a new independent practice association. This confederation already has attracted the interest of about 140 local primary-care doctors who want to qualify for new payment arrangements but remain autonomous (Bavley, 9/6).
ProPublica: Dollars for Docs
Drug companies have long kept secret details of the payments they make to doctors and other health professionals for promoting their drugs. But 12 companies have begun publicizing the information, some because of legal settlements. ProPublica pulled their disclosures into a database so patients can search for their doctor. Accepting payments isn't necessarily wrong, but it can raise ethical issues (Nguyen, Ornstein and Weber, 9/7).
The Boston Globe: Drug Firm Payments To Doctors Declining
Total payments to doctors for promoting pharmaceutical companies' products to their colleagues appear to be falling in Massachusetts, suggesting that new restrictions designed to distance doctors from industry are leading some to abandon the lucrative speaking circuit. Eli Lilly and Co., one of the nation's largest drug makers, paid health care providers here $866,919 in 2010 for speaking about their drugs, a 46 percent drop from 2009, according to an analysis by The Boston Globe and ProPublica, a nonprofit online investigative journalism organization. Payments from GlaxoSmithKline fell at least 29 percent to $884,850, and probably more because the company's 2009 data did not include the first quarter (Kowalczyk, 9/8).
Denver Post: Colorado Doctors Still Accepting Money From Drug Companies
Dozens of Colorado doctors have continued to accept hundreds of thousands of dollars from drug companies since a national database first spotlighted the payments, but an ethics crackdown by two major academic institutions is slowing the controversial practice. An ethics board at the University of Colorado School of Medicine has rejected more than one-third of proposed contracts between doctors and drug companies since it took authority to approve the deals on June 1, school officials said. National Jewish Health now reviews all contracts with drug companies and audits physicians' prescribing patterns to ensure they are not unduly emphasizing drugs from manufacturers who pay them (Booth, 9/8).