" The Voice Of Interventional Pain Management "

celebrating our 10th anniversary

February 5, 2014



  1. $1 million mistake: Becoming a doctor
  2. Bipartisan Legislation Could Finally Fix Medicare Reimbursement Formula
  3. FDA: Use Sicker Patients in Clinical Trials
  4. Pay and Practice: Does Too Much Medicare Fraud Go Unpunished?
  5. Health Law Seen Leading to Some Loss of Labor
  6. ACA: A How-To on 'Grace Period' Patients

mistake$1 million mistake: Becoming a doctor



MoneyWatch) If you are brilliant, ambitious and gifted in science, you may consider becoming a doctor. If so, think twice. According to a new survey by personal finance site NerdWallet, most doctors are dissatisfied with the job, and less than half would choose a career in medicine if they were able to do it all over again.


There are many reasons for the dissatisfaction, said Christina Lamontagne, vice president of health at NerdWallet. Most doctors enter the field thinking they'll be able to spend most of their time healing the sick. Yet the paperwork burden on doctors has become crushing, and could become even more complicated under the Affordable Care Act.

"Administrative tasks account for nearly one-quarter of a doctor's day," Lamontagne said. "With additional liability concerns and more layers in health care, we can understand the drain this takes."



CBS News


bipartBipartisan Legislation Could Finally Fix Medicare Reimbursement Formula


WASHINGTON (Feb. 1, 2014) -- A 17-year-old formula meant to control the increasing costs of Medicare reimbursements threatens to restrict physician access for Medicare and Medicaid patients in Maryland.

Since 2002, Congress has avoided implementing the cuts called for by the formula, protecting Medicare patients from losing access to doctors who might otherwise refuse the health care program because of the decrease in reimbursements.

However, the accumulated cuts called for by the Sustainable Growth Rate formula now add up to 24 percent, with the most recent Congressional patch implemented in late December and expiring March 31.


SOMD news


fdaFDA: Use Sicker Patients in Clinical Trials


WASHINGTON -- The FDA is taking steps to include more patients with multiple chronic conditions in clinical trials of new drugs, believing such patients are too frequently excluded from new drug studies.


Pharmaceutical companies routinely exclude the sickest patients from studies, fearing complications they may suffer from the drug candidates, but, as a result, the studies don't provide a glimpse of the treatment's "real world" effect.

To counter this, the FDA recently issued a memo to its new drug reviewers asking them to work with drug manufacturers to include a broader population in trials more regularly.



MedPage Today

payPay and Practice: Does Too Much Medicare Fraud Go Unpunished?


WASHINGTON -- The Department of Justice said it pursued a record number of Medicare fraud cases last year, but those numbers may just be the tip of the iceberg.


In 2013, the department's Medicare Fraud Strike Force filed a record number of cases (137) and also reported record numbers of individuals charged (345), guilty pleas entered (234), and jury trial convictions announced (46), it said in a press release last week.


"These record results underscore our determination to hold accountable those who take advantage of vulnerable populations, commit fraud on federal healthcare programs, and place the safety of others at risk for illicit financial gain," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.



MedPage Today

laborHealth Law Seen Leading to Some Loss of Labor


The new health law is projected to reduce the total number of hours Americans work by the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time jobs in 2021, a bigger impact on the workforce than previously expected, according to a nonpartisan congressional report.


The analysis, by the Congressional Budget Office, says a key factor is people scaling back how much they work and instead getting health coverage through the Affordable Care Act. The agency had earlier forecast the labor-force impact would be the equivalent of 800,000 workers in 2021.


Because the CBO estimated that the changes would be a result of workers' choices, it said the law, President Barack Obama's signature initiative, wouldn't lead to a rise in the unemployment rate. But the labor-force impact could slow growth in future years, though the precise impact is uncertain.



Wall Street Journal


acaACA: A How-To on 'Grace Period' Patients



WASHINGTON -- Medical groups are telling their physician members to be clear about their practices' payment policies, fearing what might happen if patients fall behind on premiums for their health plans or get dropped for nonpayment.


Physicians continue to express concern around the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision that allows for patients who bought their plans through the ACA's health insurance exchanges to fall 3 months behind on their premiums before they are dropped from health plans. Insurers won't process claims on patients who are between days 31 and 90 of the so-called "grace period," leaving providers on the hook to collect payments from patients if they are eventually dropped from plans.


The catch: Practices may not be able to find out which patients have fallen behind on their premiums until after their policies have been cancelled. Insurance companies aren't required to provide information on who has fallen behind on premiums to providers.


 MedPage Today






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