Blog | Wednesday, September 30, 2009

QD: News Every Day

ACP Internist begins a daily digest of primary care in the news, debuting with an update on health care reform's messy reconciliation in Congress, good news about Medicare access (as health care currently stands) and what a national EHR network would look like.

Most recently for health care reform:
Two Democratic proposals to create a government insurance plan to compete with private insurers failed, while members of Congress turn their attention toward paying for abortion and insurance coverage for illegal immigrants. Now, Sen. Max Baucus is looking to revise a key financing provision after an analysis showed its tax burden would fall on seniors. In the wake of voting, amendments, provisions and alternatives are being slung left and right (politically, as well as figuratively.)

Since it's not a news cycle without something on H1N1, hundreds of New York state's health care workers protested a mandate that medical professionals get seasonal and swine-flu vaccines. But state health commissioner Richard F. Daines, FACP, told Gannett News Service, "This isn't the time to pump air into a completely deflated argument about vaccine safety."

Other issues internists should also be aware of include:
The Government Accountability Office found that less than 3% of Medicare beneficiaries had major problems accessing physician services, even while more people used the benefit and the number of services per beneficiary increased. More physicians are accepting Medicare, too. Unfortunately for Medicaid, it's far too easy to fraudulently access addictive drugs--65,000 instances costing of about $65 million in 2006 and 2007.

Finally, doctors' offices and hospitals are slowly, slowly moving toward electronic health records. Another view on the issue is instead of one national database, there'd be a "network of networks."