The PMD Critical List: Forced Retirement for Older Doctors?

One in 4 US doctors are at or over the traditional retirement age, so how do healthcare organizations identify and deal with physicians who are no longer effective? That story, plus a look at the economics of the "wonderful profession" but "terrible business" top this week's PMD Critical List.

One in 4 US doctors are at or over the traditional retirement age, so how do healthcare organizations identify and deal with physicians who are no longer effective? That story, plus a look at the economics of the “wonderful profession” but “terrible business” in this week’s PMD Critical List.

Should Old Doctors Be Forced to Retire? (AP)

With the aging of the American physician (25% are age 65 or older and there’s no mandatory retirement age), the nation’s most famous doctor group is participating in the creation of “competency guidelines for assessing whether older physicians” remain effective.

Two-Thirds of Doctors Reluctant to Share Health Data with Patients (Forbes)

Most practicing physicians think it unwise to give patients access to their own healthcare info. Here’s an interesting report on the issue, which matters because some commercial concerns would love to get hold of this data of which the doctors are the authors.

Pathologist: The Most Important Doctors that Patients Never Meet (The Wall Street Journal)

The tech age of medicine is in ascendance for sure. Still, studies show many breast biopsies go misdiagnosed via digital images. “Digital pathology may play a role, but it can’t replicate the pathologist’s trained eye in recognizing subtle cues and patterns to diagnose disease.”

The Fantasy That Obamacare “Is Working” (Forbes)

President Obama says: “We haven’t had a lot of conversation about the horrors of Obamacare because none of them have come to pass.” Here’s a factual hatchet job on the president’s signature plan from the Heritage Foundation’s chief economist.

AAMC to Launch Doctor-Training Program in Transgender Health (USA Today)

It’s impossible to miss the issue as a news matter and now a national pilot program gets underway next month in Kentucky on “a topic that has been taboo for a long time” in medicine. Physicians in training must master “30 competencies of care.”

Whistle-Blower: How One Doctor Uncovered a Nightmare (The Detroit News)

“Dr. Farid Fata operated Michigan’s largest private cancer practice, with 7 clinics and 1,700 patients. He now awaits sentencing for fraud and a kickback scheme.” Here are the very lurid details.

How Physicians Actually Make Money These Days (New York)

Here’s a neat by-the-numbers profile of a 63-year-old IM solo practitioner in Brooklyn. Of those doctors like him, he says: “we’re dropping like flies.” It’s all downhill since 2000. “It’s a wonderful profession,” he says. “It’s just a horrible business.”

Physician Ratings an Evolving Science (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Here’s an interview with the CEO of Healthgrades, among the top websites for rating physicians (and other healthcare pros). While most doctors don’t like the idea of being graded, patients continue to seek and demand the information.

Why Doctors Struggle With Death with Dignity (KUOW.org)

Here’s a compelling radio interview with Ethics Professor Tom McCormick, who works with physicians on issues like death with dignity. “For doctors, having the opportunity to help a patient die may resolve certain ethical issues but raises many others.”

America's $2.9 Trillion Medical Industry Still Runs on Paper Paying (Bloomberg)

Amazingly, “medical payments are the only category to register an increase in paperwork since the start of the 21st century.” Why? “Doctors and health plans have to invest in technology to allow electronic payments, and may not think it's worth it.”