Medical Economics

Magazine has information and advice for physicians on how to manage their practices and current healthcare landscape.

Articles from Vol. 77, No. 8, April 24

Better Late Than Never Doesn't Always Cut It When Claiming a Refund
The Supreme Court has reaf firmed a long-held deadline for claiming federal income tax refunds. In general, to claim a refund, you must request it within three years from the date when you should have filed your tax return, or two years from the time...
Companies Incorporated in Delaware Are Worth More
Ever wonder why so many companies are incorporated in Delaware? More than 250,000 firms, accounting for about 60 percent of all public shares, are registered in this small Eastern state largely because it is a corporate tax haven compared with other...
Could Occam's Razor Save My Patient?
The patient was obviously sick, but his symptoms were baffling-until the author (below) remembered this scientific principle. There was a brief time, five minutes or less, between the moment Mr. Beekman entered the door of our rural emergency room and...
Cut Your 2000 Tax Bill-Starting Right Now
Taking these simple steps can save you plenty of money. Time to get cracking.! Handing over a big chunk of your income to the IRS can feel like a fist in the gut. But with careful planning, you can reduce the pain of this year's levy. "In April, you...
Don't Settle Too Quickly-I Know from Experience
t was a bright fall day in 1995-the kind that brings busloads of tourists to see our beautiful New England foliage. As I rode the mower over our front lawn, I saw a young woman across the street. She was carrying pamphlets and moving from door to door....
How Plaintiff's Lawyers Pick Their Targets
Two top malpractice attorneys explain why some physicians are more likely to get sued. Basically, it's a business decision, but some personal factors-like a doctor arrogance or poor bedside manner--can also weigh heavily. Attorneys Jeffrey Allen and...
Letters to the Editors
This legal battle could have been prevented I found the story about the court battle being waged against ob/gyn Marshall Klavan's physicians to be tragic. The doctors are being sued for keeping him in a vegetative state after his failed suicide attempt...
Make the Most of Your Staff
"Care teams" will improve your office's efficiency, delighting patients-and easing your workload. Imagine working in a practice that runs like clockwork. Charts, X-rays, and lab results are at hand when you need them. Your crackerjack staff is continually...
Malpractice Consult
When you don't remember the patient who's suing you Q: I'm being sued by the family of a patient I saw only once almost two years ago. My records don't indicate anything out of the ordinary about his office visit, and 1 honestly don't even recall it....
Money Management
Would a stock slump trigger tax on index fund gains? I've paid relatively little tax on the appreciation of my Vanguard 500 Index Fund shares, because the fund doesn't sell assets often. But 1 keep reading that a big market slump would force Vanguard...
My Brief, Upside-Down Career as a Guinea Pig
Skeptical of a professor's hypothesis, the author tested his own by experimenting on himself. We admire those pioneering physicians who used their own bodies to test new treatments--those John Hunters, William Halsteds, and Werner Forssmanns of medical...
My Fellow Doctors Hurt My Child
After misdiagnosis led to a serious operation for her daughter, the author wondered: Should I sue? The summer from hell, as my daughter calls it, is over. Julie is now eight weeks post-op and steadily regaining a 14-year-olds usual strength and vigor....
Now Patients Will Rate You Online
A new Internet-based system will soon let them compare their care against the care other doctors provide. How will this affect your practice? You probably have patients coming to you clutching medical information they've picked up on the Internet. Or...
Osler: The Saint of Baltimore
He "may have been the greatest clinical teacher of any day, and any country," says the author, in this review of a new biography. On a brilliantly clear day in early May 1889, six young physicians and scientists looked on in eager but apprehensive anticipation...
Pete Stark Thinks Big Brother Ought to Take Care of the Kids
Rep. Pete Stark, D-CA, wants to create a new federal health care program, which he calls MediKids. At first glance, his idea seems sensible-and a little scary. Stark is rather short on details right now, but here's what he envisions. Starting in 2002,...
Practice Management
How to respond to a Medicare carrier who gives you the runaround Q The claims I submit to my Medicare carrier clearly contain my patients' signed authorizations to pay benefits to me. But the carrier says it doesn't have to pay me directly, because I'm...
Protecting Patients' Privacy Isn't Coming Easy
Congress was supposed to pass a bill to safeguard medical records by August 1999. It's still thinking about what to do. The Department of Health and Human Services was supposed to write regulations to safeguard medical records by February 2000. It's...
Should Physicians Be Exempt from Antitrust Laws?
A year ago, Rep. Tom Campbell, R-CA, introduced the Quality HealthCare Coalition Act, which would make it legal for doctors to bargain collectively with managed care organizations. It would not, however, give them the right to strike. Many observers...
Telling Doctors How to Stay out of the Slammer
During the past two years, HHS' Office of Inspector General has issued several sets of "compliance guidelines"-Washingtonspeak for a list of actions health care providers ought to take to lessen their chances of being charged with fraud in their dealings...
The Way to Win: Teach the Jury about Medicine
After 38 years of surgical practice, I was hit with my first malpractice suit. There's little comfort in knowing that many blameless colleagues have also been sued, and that it's rare for a busy physician to remain untouched by the tort system. Reading...
Want to Prevent Malpractice Suits? Listen Up
After back surgery, a 47-year-- old truck driver, still unconscious from anesthesia, lay in a private room. An orderly had been told to "watch him." And watch him she did, as his atelectasis progressed to cyanosis, cardiac arrest, and severe brain damage....
What Are They Teaching in Sex Ed These Days?
Two recent studies look at the growing popularity--and regional variations--of "abstinence only" policies in the public schools. For a third of our nation's public school children, sex education focuses on a single theme: No sex outside of marriage....
When to Unload a Stock or Fund
The way some people brag about their investments, you'd think everything they own produces double-digit gains every year. They'd retire tomorrow if their jobs weren't so darned interesting. Don't let 'em,fool you. I don't know a single person who hasn't...
Why Politics-Like Medicine-Is a Noble Calling
The author (at right) reflects on the value of holding office. His message to colleagues: Physician, involve thyself. You may have heard the one about the derivation of the word politics. It comes from poly, meaning many, and from ticks, signifying blood-sucking...