Thursday, December 24, 2009

Health Care Bill: What Doctors and Patients Have to Lose

What does the Senate health bill, which is poised to become law, mean for the docs?
According to the Wall Street Journal, the biggest changes will affect specialists and surgeons, mainly regulating medical device and pharmaceuticals and regulating and controlling medical costs. Based on the government's premise that specialists often make wasteful treatment decisions, the health-care legislation in Congress will subject doctors to a mix of financial penalties and regulations to constrain their use of the most costly clinical options. The penalties and regulations are aimed first and foremost at surgeons and the medical devices that they use, largely because that's where the bulk of spending is.

Also, primary care physicians will be affected referring patients to specialists or surgeons. Primary care doctors who refer patients to specialists will face financial penalties under the plan. Doctors will feel financial pressure to limit referrals to costly specialists like surgeons, since these penalties will put the referring physician on the hook for the cost of the referral and perhaps any resulting procedures.

With the new bill, it's clear that doctors will be forced to change how they make their medical decisions.

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal, or click here:

Monday, December 21, 2009

Job Growth Amongst Physicians in Hospitals

As physicians and other healthcare workers are aware, the economic downturn has had a significant effect on physician practices, both private and hospital based. However there are signs times may be changing for the better. Health care facilities added more people to their payrolls in November, according to several recently released reports.

The change in numbers can vary tremendously from hospital to hospital. Health care added 21,000 jobs in November, with 6,800 of them at hospitals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 12,600 were added in the ambulatory care setting, including 3,800 in physician offices.

Other recent surveys painted a mixed economic picture for the health care sector. One, released Dec. 2 by the nonprofit public interest research group Conference Board on the number of online advertised job vacancies, found that total listings increased by 106,500 in November. But the number of listings for health care practitioners and technicians dropped 36,000.

Read the full article in American Medical News, or click here:

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Top 10 Medical Advances of the Decade

ABC News, in collaboration with MedPage Today, reached out to more than 800 specialists as well as a distinguished panel of medical historians to put together a top 10 list of medical advances one decade into this century.

Top 10 Medical Advances of 2000-2009:
1. Human Genome Discoveries Reach the Bedside

2. Doctors and Patients Harness Information Technology

3. Anti-Smoking laws and Campaigns Reduce Public Smoking

4. Heart Disease Deaths Drop by 40 Percent

5. Stem Cell Research: Laboratory Breakthroughs and Some Clinical Advances

6.Targeted Therapies for Cancer Expand With New Drugs

7. Combination Drug Therapy Extends HIV Survival

8. Minimally Invasive and Robotic Techniques Revolutionize Surgery

9. Study Finds Heart, Cancer Risk with Hormone Replacement Therapy

10. Scientists Peer Into Mind With Functional MRI

Read the full article on MedPage Today, or click here:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Leasing Market for Medical Offices Hits Downturn

American Medical News reports that the real estate slump, combined with tighter credit, means that fewer medical office buildings are being built. But after a previous construction boom, there is still more supply than demand. According to the conclusions of a Medical Office Research Report performed by Marcus & Millichap reviewing the second half of 2009, rents are creeping downward, and vacancy rates are going up.
For physicians who rent space, this means it's a good time to look for a better deal. But those who lease to others might need to take extra steps to keep tenants happy. Many experts say it's a good time for renters to ask the landlord to renegotiate your lease, even if there is still time left on it. Landlords may be amenable to locking in a lower rate if the lease is extended. If the landlord won't lower the rent, physicians may be able to get lower property-related expenses or other perks.

Read the full article in American Medical News, or click here:

Friday, December 11, 2009

Stimulus Funds for Physician Practices: Download the Incentives Provided by the Government

Healthcare IT News has provided a download of information on how to utilize stimulus funds.

This supplement provides CIOs, CFOs, practice managers and other healthcare IT decision-makers with practical news on the stimulus package and the incentives it offers to healthcare providers. The PDF includes the full EHR buyer's guide and list of CCHIT-certified EHRs.

Read the full attachment at Healthcare IT News, or click here:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

More Women Becoming Surgeons

Surgery has typically been a male-dominated specialty, however now more women are becoming surgeons.

Women make up only 19 percent of the nation's 160,000 surgeons, but that's up from 7 percent in 1970, according to the American College of Surgeons.

The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics last year projected employment of physicians and surgeons to grow 14 percent from 2006 to 2016. Continued expansion of health care-related industries and the widening demand from the nation's aging population are expected to fuel the trend.

Nationally, women represented almost half of the 42,200 applicants to U.S. medical schools, according to the American College of Surgeons.

Read the full article in the Pittsburgh Tribune- Review, or click here:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Leapfrog names 45 best hospitals in country for 2009

Thirty-four urban, eight children's hospitals, and three rural hospitals have been named 2009 Leapfrog Top Hospitals, based on results from The Leapfrog Hospital Survey.
The survey is the only national, public comparison of hospitals on key issues including mortality rates for certain common procedures, infection rates, safety practices, and measures of efficiency.

The award winners in the 2009 rural hospital category scored in the top decile nationally for efficiency and are located in Georgia and Maine.

Read the full article at Healthcare IT News Daily or click here:

Friday, December 4, 2009

Physicians/ Surgeons Divided on Proposed Bill

The American Medical Association has offered qualified support for the Senate health care bill this week, however many other medical groups are unqualified in their opposition. A coalition representing 240,000 physician specialists, like the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, said it "must oppose the bill as currently written" for several reasons including: the establishment of a Medicare advisory board with the authority to set reimbursement policy; increased reporting on physician errors and outcomes; an excise tax on elective cosmetic surgery; and measures that might increase payments to primary-care doctors at the expense of specialists.

The California Medical Association, which represents 35,000 physicians, also declared this week that it opposed the current Senate legislation, joining counterparts in Texas and Florida that took stands in late November.

Read the full article in The New York Times, or click here:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rehospitalizations among Patients in the Medicare Fee-for-Service Program

Reducing rates of re-hospitalization has attracted attention from policymakers as a way to improve quality of care and reduce costs.

A recent study in The New England Journal of Medicine found that one in five Medicare patients discharged from the hospital was readmitted within a month. One in three was readmitted within three months. Readmission is costly. In 2004, the cost to Medicare for unplanned readmissions was $17.4 billion.

To curb the costs, Congress and the Obama administration are considering bonus payments to hospitals with low readmission rates and penalties on those with high rates.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services is considering giving bonuses to hospitals for lowering readmission rates. Current law prohibits hospitals from paying doctors for reducing hospital services, even if the goal is to provide more efficient care.

Read the full article in The New England Journal of Medicine, or click here:

Monday, November 30, 2009

Talking Money with Patients

The recession and insurance plan changes are contributing to more concern about costs in physician's office and for health care.

American Medical News has interviewed experts on how to initiate the conversation with patients on billing matters.

Research suggests that while physicians and patients recognize cost is a significant factor for whether a patient will follow a given treatment, and that physicians know they should talk about cost, most visits omit that critical conversation. However with the current condition of the economy, experts say there are some powerful trends at work making it imperative to talk frankly with patients about what treatments will cost, and to be ready for patients to bring it up.

Read the full article at American Medical News, or click here:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

$80 Million in Grants Available for the Health Information Technology Workforce

As seen in Healthcare IT News, The Department of Health and Human Services will release $80 million in grants to help develop and strengthen the health information technology workforce.

Most of the money available will go to college training programs and educational materials for the training programs to help support the immediate need for skilled HIT professionals.

Graduates will fill a variety of roles that both assist healthcare practices during the critical process of deploying IT systems and support these practices on an ongoing basis.

Read the full article at Healthcare IT News, or click here:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Physician Burnout: Exhausted or Depressed Physicians More Likely to Commit Errors

Surgeons who are burned out or depressed are more likely to say they had recently committed a major error on the job, according to the largest study to date on physician burnout, which was recently published in the Annals of Surgery.

The new findings suggest that the mental well-being of the surgeon is associated with a higher rate of self-reported medical errors, something that may undermine patient safety more than the fatigue that is often blamed for many of the medical mistakes.

Although surgeons do not appear more likely to make mistakes than physicians in other disciplines, surgical errors may have more severe consequences for patients due to the interventional nature of the work.

Fatigue and long working hours are generally attributed to physician and surgeon fatigue, although burnout and depression should be more carefully considered.

Read the full article at the Annals of Surgery or click here:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Federal Government Loan Program Targets Smaller Medical Groups

A bill that provides loans of up to $350,000 for physicians and $2 million for medical groups to buy electronic health record systems or other healthcare information technology is likely to benefit solo and small group practices the most.

Other larger groups qualify for the proposed bill, however smaller groups stand the benefit financially more.

Read the full article on Healthcare IT News, or click here:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Physician Shortage Drives Telemedicine Market

A shortage of child and adult psychologists, as well as primary care physicians, is among factors and conditions that are driving growth in the telemedicine market. Also changes in Health Care Reform are driving the market to transition to more of a telemedicine market, particularly in more rural areas.

Read the full article on Healthcare IT News or click here:

Electronic Medical Records Providing Little Benefit Thus Far

The federal government has been encouraging the transition of computerized patient records, mostly by providing $19 billion in government incentive to push physicians to change from paper records to electronic records (EMRs). There is wide agreement that the conversion will bring better care and lower costs, saving the American health care system up to $100 billion a year by some estimates.

But a new study comparing 3,000 hospitals at various stages in the adoption of computerized health records has found little difference in the cost and quality of care.

The research underlines the challenge facing the Obama administration as it seeks to accelerate the adoption of electronic health records through 2015, even though only about 20 percent of physicians now use them. And the research shows that installing the technology does not necessarily mean that the hoped-for gains in quality and cost containment will follow quickly.

Read the full article at The New York Times, or click here:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Physician Starting Salary Chart

The New England Journal of Medicine has compiled a chart comparing physician starting salaries. These numbers are based on averages and compiled from 2007 starting salaries.

Physician and Specialty Physician starting salaries vary based on fellowship training, all numbers are based on candidates either fresh out of training or fresh out of fellowship training.

See the full article and chart at the New England Journal of Medicine, or click here:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Physician Job Hunting in a Recession

According to American Medical News, with the state of the current economy and also the changes in health care, physician positions may be harder to find.

Like jobs in every market during the current state of the economy, health care and physician positions have also been affected. More physicians today, specifically those out of residency, are interested in seeking hospital employed positions.

Physicians are finding that switching jobs or finding one after completing training requires more networking than in prior years. Another challenge has been the real estate market, with physicians waiting longer to sell their current home and possibly taking on 2 mortgages on different pieces of real estate. Also, some hospitals have implemented hiring freezes.

Many experienced physicians have also put off their retirement plans, and many others who have jobs currently are staying put to see how health system reform will turn out.

Read the full article at American Medical News, or click here:

Locums/ Temporary Physician Positions Lower

There has been a decrease in demand for temporary physician opportunities. The decrease has been attributed to fewer elective surgeries and also current permanent physicians delaying their retirement.

Publicly traded staffing companies have released their Q3 results and the figures have indicated the decrease in Locums demand. The companies that have been compared are publicly traded companies that provide physicians, nurses, and other staff for hospitals and other medical facilities.

Read the full article here:

Friday, November 13, 2009

2010 Medicare Paycut for Physicians, Unless Congress Acts

American Medical News reports that the final 2010 Medicare physician fee schedule confirms that physicians face a 21.2% pay cut starting Jan. 1, 2010, unless Congress adopts legislation to avert it. The official figure is only slightly lower than the 21.5% reduction the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services was predicting earlier this year.

The Obama administration supports a permanent repeal of the current physician payment formula and has called on Congress to pass legislation to that effect. But CMS noted in the final rule that, without congressional action, it is required by Medicare statute to implement the across-the-board cut, which will apply to the 2010 conversion factor.

Not every physician would see their rates go down by the same amount in 2010 if Congress were to allow the cut to go through. Over the next four years, CMS will phase in refinements to practice expense relative value units based on updated data from an AMA survey. As a result, physicians in specialties traditionally considered to be primary care will see higher rates before the application of the 21.2% cut required by the pay formula, while some other specialists will see further pay reductions based on the relative value unit revisions and other adjustments.

Read the full article at American Medical News or click here:

Monday, November 9, 2009

Baby Boomers Health Care Spending Increases

The ageing of baby boomers has caused health care costs to increase. In middle-aged Americans, health care costs increases have been attributed to technical advances, more in-office procedures, and expanded screening.

Read the full article from American Medical News here:

Friday, November 6, 2009

House to Vote Tomorrow on Health Reform

The House will vote Saturday on health reform. The proposition is a 10 year, $1.2 trillion legislation that embraces President Obama's goals of extending health coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans and putting tough new restrictions on insurance companies.

Read the full article from The Associated Press here:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

American Recovery and Reinvestment Provisions, Information Technology

The government has allowed tax incentives and reimbursements for physicians purchasing and utilizing new technology. According to Healthcare IT News, many physicians are reluctant to use new technology, mostly attributed to the physicians concerned about the disruption of work.

Read the full article here:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Health Bills Sunshine Provisions

In the new Health Bills proposed by Congress, lawmakers are addressing the relationships and potential financial ties of physicians and the medical industry, namely pharmaceutical companies. The Health Bills are attempting to require medical device and pharmaceutical companies to file annual reports to the government about their financial ties to doctors.

The new proposals are titled "sunshine provisions" in an attempt to shed light in to financial relationships between the medical industry and physicians.

Read the full article from The New York Times here:

Monday, November 2, 2009

Practice Management System

Practice Management Systems are used by physician's offices to ensure the day to day office duties run smoothly, from scheduling patient visits to billing. Now with Federal incentive to upgrade management systems, many offices are considering locating new systems packaged with EMRs.

The American Medical News has published an article on what to look for in Practice Management Systems and how to ensure it works correctly with your office.

Read the full article here:

Friday, October 30, 2009

The House Health Care Bill; Public Plan Better for Physicians

From Physician News, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) officially unveiled the House health care reform bill that is headed to the House floor.

Read a summary of the bill here:

The full bill is available online here:

The Affordable Health Care for America Act includes a public health insurance option that would be required to negotiate with providers. The Huffington Post reports, to appease providers concerned about losing money to a more Medicare-like option, the proposed public plan in this bill would allow doctors and hospitals to negotiate rates as they do with private insurers. The catch is that a provision was removed from this bill that would have blocked cuts in Medicare payments to physicians. That provision has been made into its own bill.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Healthcare IT Reimbursement

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) allows reimbursements to providers for certain kinds of healthcare IT. However some providers are skeptical of the reimbursements and are not interested in utilizing the available funds.

Some providers argue that there are many problems with what is proposed so far and also that they don't see many doctors adopting HIT. Other providers believe collection of data could be used to punish them in the future, or, particularly in rural areas, the cost of implementing healthcare IT is too much for physicians to pay.

Read the full article from Healthcare IT news here:

Practice for Sale? Tips to Make a Practice Sale or Purchase a Success

Many of our private practice clients recruit physician partners in buy-in circumstances. In these models ancillary services, physical assets, accounts receivable, hospital privileges, and case load are all taken in to consideration in the negotiation process.

There are also still many physician practices that are being sold entirely, either to a new solo practice physician buying the practice or even to hospitals or hospital organizations.

Whether you are interested in joining a practice with a buy-in or selling your practice to another physician or hospital, there are many important factors both parties need to be aware of during the negotiation process.

In their recent newspaper, Physician's News has published a good article what to include in a full buy-out to ensure a successful purchase.

Read the full article here:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

AMA Lobbyists Support Health Overhaul

The battle for Health Care Reform continues, and the American Medical Association has been fighting to influence congress on new propositions affecting healthcare.

AMA has been lobbying to win a $247 billion, 10-year reprieve from scheduled reimbursement cuts for physicians who treat Medicare patients in return for supporting the White House push for broader changes in health care coverage.

AMA continues to fight to get heard, however they are losing supporters. Read the full article from the Washington Post here:

IT Impoves Patient Care with a New Medical Model

A new model, The Medical Home, has been proved to successfully increase Primary Care physician's profit and also provide more one-on-one time with patients. Approximately 25 medical home projects are active across the nation in 17 states.

A Medical Home is a physician's office that combines a team of professionals to treat patients and also share in the overhead costs. The offices also use the latest technology, including electronic medical records. Physicians share technology with the medical home group. Using these methods also helped physicians ease their workload.

The technology also encourages continuation of care between primary care physicians and specialists.

Read the full article in Healthcare IT News or click here:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

America’s Physician-Friendliest States

According to Physicians Practice’s biannual analysis, the states that are physician friendliest are Kansas, South Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma, and Indiana. The results are based on states that provide circumstances that affect a doctor’s ability to work relatively hassle-free while still making a nice living such as the state's malpractice climate, reimbursement, and cost-of-living.

This article also provides great resources to research a potential geographic area prior to your site visit or signing with a new employer. Check out the full article here:

Monday, October 26, 2009

2009 Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI)

In July 2008, the Federal government passed the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act to improve beneficiary quality of care and safety. One way to achieve this is through a Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) which reimburses physicians based on their meeting specific quality and safety measures. Currently a pilot program, it will become permanent in 2010. For more information, please read the full article:

Recession Causing Physician Practices to Lose Money

According to an article published by the American Medical News, practices are losing financial ground as the recession outpaces productivity. Doctors say there aren't enough hours in the day, or patient demand, to reverse the trend.

Overall, physicians took a hit to their income last year because they are collecting less, practice revenues are dropping, and operating costs are increasing.

Read the full article here:

Senate Rejects Medicare Plan

Senate voted on October 21st to repeal Medicare physician payment formula in advance of other health system reforms, laying the foundation for a new system to update doctor rates. However the new repeal was rejected because of the potential cost of the repeal.

The Senate will revisit a proposal for a Medicare payment solution later this year when they are reviewing the national health system reform bill.

Read the full article from the American Medical News here:

Friday, October 23, 2009

Economy: Physican's Collections Becoming More Challenging

With the current state of the economy, an MGMA survey finds the biggest challenges for practices are covering expenses and getting paid by patients. Physicians who were already concerned with the financial success of their practices last year are getting even more worried this year because of the economy and threat of collecting from their patients.

The "Medical Practice Today: What Members Have to Say," MGMA survey found, for the second year, that the top two challenges for physician practices are rising operating costs and declining revenue, and maintaining compensation levels in the face of declining reimbursement rates.

Read the full article at American Medical News, or click here:

Should Doctors Use Twitter?

According to American Medical News, early physician adopters say the social media site can help physicians promote their practices and also to communicate with colleagues.

Physicians most often use Twitter as an extension of their Web presence, a patient communication site, a marketing tool or a virtual water cooler with their colleagues.

Read the full article on the pros and cons of using Twitter here:

Follow Harlequin Recruiting on Twitter here: @DOMDRecruiter

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Health Care Reform: What Will Pass

What is the answer for health care reform? Most Americans believe something needs to change, but the answers to the problem are divides amongst all parties. McCain and Obama agree we need health care reform, but neither of their plans is likely to pass Congress without drastic changes.

What will pass? Any type of change would require heavy government expenditure, something significant to take in to consideration in our economy.

Read the full article posted on CNN here:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

2009 Physician Comp/ Signing Bonus Comparison

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, primary care physicians’ compensation and signing bonuses are significantly lower than their specialists counterparts, with the exception of emergency medicine.

The NEJM has published a comparison chart in their September/ October 2009 Newsletter.

Read the comparison table here:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Small Providers May Not Have to Deal With Red Flags Rule

The Red Flags Rule, which will start being enforced in 2 weeks, requires healthcare entities considered to be "creditors" to implement an identity theft prevention program. However there is a possibility small healthcare providers may not have to deal with the new rule. Congressmen filed a bill on October 8th that would exempt a healthcare practice with 20 or fewer employees from the FTC's Red Flags Rule requirement.

Read the full article from Health Leaders here:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Physicians Less Likely to go Solo

The number of physicians initiating solo practices has been declining over the years. The decline in solo practices has been attributed to lower reimbursements in a solo practice, the declining economy, and overhead expenses. Physicians are also looking for a good balance between family and work life, typically it is easier to share call in hospital based or group practices than in solo practices.

The NEJM paper estimated the number of doctors who owns at least part of a practice has declined about 2% annually for the past 25 years.

American Medical News has written an article on the continue decline of physicians choosing a solo practice. Read the full article here:

Friday, October 16, 2009

October FDA Calendar Stocks

Seeking Alpha has reported on 6 stocks with expected catalysts during the month of October, including 3 pending FDA decisions, updated clinical trial data, and an expected FDA filing to expand the label of an existing product.

The 6 Companies and new products are:
  • BioSante Pharma (NASDAQ: BPAX): LibiGel
  • GTx Inc. (NASDAQ: GTXI): Toremifene
  • Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ): Prolia
  • ImmunoCellular Therapeutics (OTC: IMUC.OB): Dendritic Cell Based Cancer Antigen Vaccine
  • Questcor Pharma (NASDAQ: QCOR): H.P. Acthar Gel
  • Transcept Pharma (NASDAQ: TSPT) : Intermezzo- Prescription Sleep Aid
Three of the stocks (BPAX, IMUC, QCOR) do not carry the added risk of depending on an actual decision by the FDA.

Read the full article, including more information about the products to be released and stock projections, here:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

State Medical Malpractice Tort Laws

Do you know which states are tort reform states? Since 2000, the issues of medical liability insurance costs and medical malpractice lawsuits have been prominent on both state and federal legislative calendars. Many of the candidates we work with want to know which states are tort reform states and approximate malpractice and liability in each state.

We have found some good resources to research a state prior to considering a potential physician practice opportunity.

The National Conference of State Legislatures has provided a table on state medical malpractice tort laws, view the table at:

Medical Malpractice Tort Limits and Health Care Spending Background Paper provided by the Congressional Budget Office here:

You can read more on Medical Malpractice Tort Reform from the National Conference of State Legislatures at:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Physician Salaries

Academic, Hospital Employed, Private Practice, and Clinic starting salaries offer huge variations in monetary remuneration. Here are the results of a survey we have found helpful to compare physician salaries.

These figures are 2003- present and were compiled by Allied Physicians, Inc., Los Angeles Times, and Rand McNally

See the table here:

Academic Career Resilience

Academic physicians commit to a lifetime of learning and also teaching the next generation of physicians. That doesn't sound easy enough? It is also a challenge to move up the ladder in the academic world and assume a leadership role. However, a lifetime of academics can be professionally fulfilling and self actualizing.

Academic Physician and Scientist published an interested article on the long and satisfying journey of a career in academic medicine. Read the full article here:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Physician Employment Contract

Do you know what to look for when reviewing an employment contract? Compensation is the first thing most physicians check for, however there are many other very important components that should be in an employment contract. Other criteria should be considered such as benefits, malpractice, partnership track, CME, and relocation.

This is an older article from the New England Journal of Medicine but provides very helpful advice and the anatomy of a physician contract. Read the full article at:

Neurosurgeon Non-Compete Agreement Upholds

In Pittman v. Coosa Med. Group PC, the Georgia Court of Appeals upheld a trial court's decision to grant an interlocutory injunction enforcing a non-compete provision that prevented Dr. H. Harris Pittman from practicing neurosurgery within a 30-mile radius of CMG’s principal office in Rome, Georgia.

The non-compete provision is contained in an employment contract that Pittman signed with CMG in 1999. Read the full article here:

What do Physicians think of new technology?

According to a survey by the American College of Physician Executives, physicians use new technology but don't like it. The Washington Post Business Journal published an article on the new trend of abandoning traditional paper record-keeping and input patient information in electronic form.

ACPE said it received comments that the technology lowers productivity, that the cost is prohibitive and that systems don’t do a good job of talking to one another. The survey findings were released a few weeks after approval of a federal $787 billion economic stimulus that includes $19 billion for health information technology, including $17 billion for incentives and penalties to encourage doctors and hospitals to abandon paper record-keeping and go high-tech beginning in 2011.

Read the full article on the Washington Business Journal at

Monday, October 12, 2009

Surgeon Workforce

What is the market like for new surgeons entering the workforce? The American College of Surgeons Institute for Health Policy Research and the Association of American Medical Colleges have published statistics tracking active surgeons in the market place. How in demand is your specialty?

Read more in their report at:

Academics vs. Private Practice: Training Today's Physicians

Our firm represents both academic and private practice or hospital employed opportunities. Choosing between an academic practice or a private practice model is a decision most physicians make when they graduate residency; depending on how the physician desires to utilize his or her training is a big factor in choosing between teaching the students of tomorrow or treating patients in a private practice. However, which opportunity provides a better training throughout the physician's career?

The American Hospital Association has published an interesting article documenting that teaching hospitals play a key role in providing patient care and ensuring a well-trained health care workforce. Read more in their Trendwatch Newsletter at

MGMA Physician Placement Starting Salary Survey Highlights

Most of the facilities we work with establish their starting salaries or guarantees based on MGMA guidelines. What are MGMA guidelines and how are they determined? The New England Jounal of Medicine's recent newsletter has an article dedicated to explaining what MGMA guidelines are based on and how they are determined by taking recruiting surveys from hospitals and physician recruiters.

Physician recruiting in today's market requires a comprehensive understanding of market dynamics, and the Physician Placement Starting Salary Survey is one more tool to help build that understanding.

The 2009 Physician Placement Starting Salary Survey is a valuable tool that recruiters and the hospitals and medical groups for which they recruit can use to develop competitive offers in an increasingly competitive market. Recruiters who submit data for the survey can receive complimentary copies of it. The NAPR encourages greater participation each year to make survey data richer. In fact, respondents can now enter data on a perpetual basis so that the information can be entered when placements are made. They can then be stored, compiled, and submitted at the end of the year, rather than requiring respondents to save the data as its obtained and then enter all of it for the year in one sitting. Depending on the volume, this can be very time-consuming.

Check out the full article at the New England Journal of Medicine,

Medicaid Pay Cut Possible in 2010

According to American Medical News, Medicaid pay could be cut again when stimulus money runs out. Thirteen states have reduced Medicaid rates for physicians in fiscal 2010, the most since at least 2004.
Medicaid cuts that were unthinkable a few years ago may be necessary in the coming year. As the stimulus money runs out, physician Medicaid pay is an obvious target. Additional Medicaid funding from the stimulus package expires on Dec. 31, 2010. Nine states are increasing Medicaid pay for physicians next year, but 13 are making cuts. This shifts the balance from last fiscal year, when 19 states increased pay and eight cut it.

Read more information at the American Medical News website,

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Resident Fatigue

Dr. Michael S. Krasner, M.D., of the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York has developed a CME course to improve physician well-being. Physician and Resident burn-out has been a growing concern and has been linked to poorer quality of care, including patient dissatisfaction, increased medical errors, and lawsuits and decreased ability to express empathy. Resident fatigue (and the need to limit resident duty hours) gets much of the attention, but distress caused by financial woes and personal or family concerns can also lead to significant increase in resident's medical errors, according to a study in the September 23/30 JAMA.

With the new course, Dr. Kranser and colleagues designed a continuing medical education (CME) course to improve physician well-being. "One proposed approach to addressing loss of meaning and lack of control in practice life is developing greater mindfulness-the quality of being fully present and attentive in the moment during everyday activities," the researchers write. The course is based on 3 techniques: mindfulness meditation, narrative medicine, and appreciative inquiry.

You can check out more information in a recent article from Medical News Today by following this link: