The PMD Critical List: Another Pay Cut for Doctors?

Could consolidation among the nation‘s largest health insurers lead to what amounts to a pay cut for doctors? That story, plus a look at pay disparities in pharmaceutical speaking fees and a call for doctors to do more for obese patients, in this week's PMD Critical List.

Could consolidation among the nation’s largest health insurers lead to what amounts to a pay cut for doctors? That story, plus a look at pay disparities in pharmaceutical speaking fees and a call for doctors to do more for obese patients, in this week’s PMD Critical List.

Physicians Wary of Health Insurer Mergers (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Looks like another squeeze on doctor compensation may come in the form of consolidation among the nation’s 5 biggest health insurance companies. To end up with 2 or 3 large national insurers, could mean “they’re not going to compete on price.”

Animals Most Likely to Kill You This Summer (The Washington Post)

“Statistically, you are 28 times more likely to be killed by a dog than by a shark”—so Jaws isn’t a real summertime death factor. The top animal killer in America? Bees, wasps, and hornets. “Nature's silent, stealthy killer—cows” also scores high.

Here Comes the Digital Doctor (USA Today)

“Walgreens is rolling out $49 digital doctor visits” allowing 24/7 customer connection via computer with a physician. But will “appointments with a doctor who doesn't know or can't see a patient lead to mistakes or missed opportunities?”

Doctors’ Own Disease Experiences Can Shape Care (Columbus Dispatch)

Here’s a compelling report from a physician-researcher about how a doctor’s personal experience with illness can help inspire a medical career. “The bond of a shared life experience has potential to contribute in a powerful way to healing.”

Problems for the Comeback Doctor (Kaiser Health News)

“Like many professionals, physicians take time off to raise children, care for sick family members, or to recover from their own illnesses. But picking up where they left off is more difficult in medicine than in most careers.”

Pharma Pays Female Doctors Less (The Wall Street Journal)

A new study finds that “female physicians, on average, received fewer total dollars—nearly $3,600—per person than men” from drug companies for work on speaking, consulting and clinical research. The authors offered only speculation as to why.

Improving EHRs from Physician Perspective (Health Data Management)

A US Senate hearing last week addressed the serious problems and possible solutions associated with the nation’s growing electronic health record systems. Practicing physicians are facing “overly burdensome” requirements.

Biggest Medicare Fraud Ever (CNN)

Nearly 250 people (including 43 physicians) were “arrested in 17 cities for allegedly billing Medicare for $712 million worth of patient care that was never given or unnecessary.” The FBI “followed the money” to find “patient recruiters.”

Doctors Must Better Accommodate Fat Patients (US News & World Report)

Several shows show that clinicians think “overweight people are not as good as others” and “are not as successful as others.” Problems can begin as soon as the waiting room, “where most chairs are too small.”

Are We Seeing the End of Homeopathy? (Neurologica.org)

Here’s a provocative essay from Steven Novella, MD, an outspoken critic of alternative medicine, on the decline and fall of homeopathic medicine. The Yale Medical School neurology professor calls homeopathy “perhaps the most obviously absurd medical pseudoscience.”