News & Information
More Data Kept from Doc Payments Database
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 11:14 AM

Dollars for Docs currently lists $2.5 billion in payments through 2012 from 15 companies representing about 43 percent of U.S. drug sales, but A new problem has emerged with the federal government's Open Payments system, which is supposed to go live Sept. 30 and disclose payments to physicians by pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

A couple weeks ago, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said it would be withholding information on one-third of the payments, citing data inconsistencies in company submissions.

Now, a source familiar with the matter tells ProPublica that CMS won't disclose another batch of payments: research grants made by pharmaceutical companies to doctors through intermediaries, known as contract research organizations.

Journalists Call for Graduate Medical Exam Transparency
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 11:07 AM

"Transparency" has been a word recently floating around graduate medical education (GME).  Last month, the Institute of Medicine called for an overhaul in the $15 billion per year the government spends on GME, arguing that there was little data on how well public-funded training prepared residents for the demands of practicing medicine.  Adding to the chorus of requests for additional information on GME training was the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ).

Currently, the private, nonprofit Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) includes accreditation decisions for 9,500 residency training programs in 140 specialty and subspecialties.  Health care Journalists asked for two things of the ACGME – reasons why individual programs and institutions have favorable or less-than-favorable accreditation status; and the percentage of residents who pass their board exams, as well as the threshold set by each ACGME residency review committee for what constitutes an acceptable program pass rate.

One week later, the ACGME declined the request.  

SMT and Exercise for Seniors with Chronic Neck Pain
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 10:53 AM

Neck pain, common among the elderly population, has considerable implications on health and quality of life. Evidence supports the use of spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) and exercise to treat neck pain.  A recent study sought to assess the relative effectiveness of SMT and supervised rehabilitative exercise, both in combination with and compared to home exercise (HE) alone for neck pain in individuals ages 65 years or older.

Return to Play Effects Concussion Healing
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 10:39 AM

While a concussion is often considered a relatively minor brain injury and is somewhat common in athletes, it’s still important to take the time needed to fully recover before returning to play.  A recent study found that athletes recovering from a concussion had a regression in physical ability and brain function after returning to play.

MDs Memoir Exposes Dark Side of Medicine
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 12:00 AM

A new book by Sandeep Jauhar, MD, PhD uses the word knavish to describe his colleagues' behavior: ordering unnecessary tests purely for profit, keeping patients in the hospital longer than necessary in order to bill more, and accepting gifts from pharmaceutical companies while prescribing possibly dangerous drugs.  He also uses the word to describe his own behavior in his book "Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician," in which he puts his life on stark display to illustrate harmful financial intrusions into medicine.

Finding that his new salaried job upon graduating fellowship wasn't enough to make ends meet, Jauhar ventured into murky ethical territory while moonlighting and working for a pharmaceutical company.  He compares his personal midlife crisis to what he considers the "midlife crisis of medicine," which has resulted in decline of public trust in physicians and burnout among doctors.  

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