ACP Internist takes a literary look at tomorrow's anticipated health care summit between Congress and the White House. Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream follows the misadventures of two couples entering an enchanted wood; likewise, Democrats and Republicans enter into tomorrow's six-hour talk thinking puckish thoughts about each other.
The summit is just political theater, so staging is everything. The audiences are important. Lights, camera, inaction! (AP, Politico, New York Times)
Democrats are talking as if they can revive health care reform from its dreamy slumber, possibly using reconciliation as a procedural maneuver. To paraphrase The Bard, "The course of true reform never did run smooth." (Los Angeles Times, NPR)
Primary care shortage
Primary care physicians have cut their average hours per week, citing low pay and worse work-life balance. Average work hours have fallen from 55 to 51 hours per week between 1996 and 2008, according to JAMA, or 36,000 doctors in a decade. But the doctors say cutting back will extend their careers overall. (Washington Post)
Flu experts at the World Health Organization met to decide whether the H1N1 pandemic has peaked for this year. They did recommend that the next seasonal flu vaccine should include H1N1. Danielle Ofri, FACP, explained that the pandemic's toll had as much of an emotional impact on her patients as it did on their physical health. (AP, Reuters, CNN)
In case you missed it ...
The Food and Drug Administration and National Institutes of Health will collaborate on a bench-to-bedside process to speed how quickly basic research becomes medical treatments. A Joint Leadership Council between the two agencies will ensure regulatory considerations are part of biomedical research, and that the latest science is integrated into regulatory reviews. FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, FACP, announced, "We are working in collaboration with the best minds and research institutions available, so that we can better develop and utilize new tools, standards and approaches needed to properly assess the safety, effectiveness and quality of products currently in development or already on the market."