Blog | Thursday, October 29, 2009

QD: News Every Day--public option in da House!


ACP Internist's daily digest of news and events covers how health care reform is being reconciled in Congress, how the primary care shortage impacts local emergency rooms, and how community doctors in Bermuda are reacting to the introduction of hospitalists.

Health care reform
While the Senate stares down a threatened filibuster of legislation that includes a public option, the House introduced its version, which includes it. As the House and Senate reconcile their respective bills into one per each chamber,
Cecil B. Wilson, MACP, who is also the American Medical Association's president-elect, told Floridians at a union-sponsored rally that the majority of Americans, including physicians and AMA members, want reform. (Washington Post, Miami Herald)

Primary care shortage
A column in The Olympian (Olympia, Wash.) points out that the community already has universal health care. Unfortunately, it's the local emergency room. In Palm Beach, Fla., county commissioners are considering whether to build a public hospital for just that purpose. Jose Arrascue, ACP Member, representing the Palm Beach County Medical Society, told commissioners, "We believe the health care delivery system in Palm Beach County is in critical condition. We have escalating numbers of uninsured, diminished access to care, an aging physician population and a lack of specialty care." (Palm Beach Post)

University of Pennsylvania bioethicist Arthur Caplan told an audience in Bakersfield, Calif., that one way to alleviate the primary care shortage is to forgive medical school loans. (Bakersfield.com)

H1N1 influenza
Now, there's an app for that. Harvard Medical School has launched an iPhone application that includes information on the pandemic's spread, practical steps people can take to mitigate their risk of infection, key symptoms to watch for, and what to do in case of infection. The application includes text, video and links to government databases. It also provides information to businesses for managing through the pandemic. People need all the help they can get. Richard Wenzel, MACP, reports that half of all outpatient H1N1 influenza cases don't develop a fever, so the patients don't take precautions. Even among hospitalized patients, 15% don't get a fever. (Minnesota Public Radio)

In case you missed it ...
Family doctors claim that the switch to hospitalists has shut them out of their community hospital ... in Bermuda. The chief of staff at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital feared being hanged in effigy outside his office after general practitioners lost their hospital privileges and communication suffered between community and hospital doctors. But, the chief said outcomes have improved and the move is needed as his facility moves from being a rural provider to a modern metropolitan facility. (Bermuda Sun)