Blog | Monday, April 26, 2010

QD: News Every Day--Vermont doctors spurning gifts they'd have to report

Vermont doctor's accepting pharma marketing largesse has declined 13% in the past three years, following the state's 2002 passage of a law that requires physicians to report gifts. A new federal law might have the same effect. The Physician Payments Sunshine Act requires doctors to report gifts, stocks, grants, speaking fees and travel reimbursement and see their names reported online in a searchable database beginning in September 2013. Exempt from this rule are PAs and NPs, who are clamoring for the power of the pen and likely to get visits from pharma reps when they do. Even pharmacists and optometrists are taking on more of a primary care role, as educators take a serious look at promoting providers who aren't physicians. (Kaiser Health News, ACP Internist, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Health Leaders Media)

Medicare news
Health care reform could extend Medicare's solvency by 12 years, until 2029, but may also push 15% of Medicare hospitals and other providers into the red, the Health and Human Services department's Office of the Actuary reported last week. Adding 34 million more enrollees to Medicare and Medicaid will increase spending by slightly less than 1%, or about $311 billion. (McKnight's Long-Term Care News & Assisted Living)

Rural physician shortage
Texas Tech is starting the first program in the country to graduate family physicians after three years of medical school and three years of residency to fill gaps in the state's rural areas. At issue is whether the shortened time span allows students enough time to learn the wide scope of knowledge needed to properly practice. But recruitment is tough and 27 Texas counties have no doctor at all. In one such area, a local rancher runs a mobile clinic staffed with nurses and a nurse practitioner. It's a problem in any rural area, including rural Kentucky. (Columbus Dispatch, Christian Health Center (blog), Louisville Courier-Journal)