Medical Economics

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

Articles from Vol. 73, No. 12, June 24

After Seeing Patients, This Doctor Sees Plaintiffs
Here's a busy family physician who enjoys both medicine and the law. The type of law he likes, though, will surprise you. Like many busy physicians, Arthur J. Cohen divides his time between two offices. He spends about half of each week in his solo family...
Are Critics Crying Wolf?
Allowing Medicare patients to use medical savings accounts would be disastrous, critics warn. MSAs would appeal only to the healthy, they maintain. Consequently, Medicare would end up shelling out far more money than if those patients remained in the...
Coming Soon: The Very Short Season of Bargain Cruises
Each spring and fall, a number of cruise lines reposition their ships for the upcoming-and busy- summer or winter season. This fall, for example, vessels may move from Europe or Alaska to the Caribbean. These logistical cruises are one-way and often...
Hiring Your Spouse Can Wreck Your Practice
You may think she's wonderful, but her special position can intimidate your staff or cause worse things to happen. You want to save a salary. You'd like an extra set of eyes to sense developing rifts and discord among your staff. And your spouse is perfectly...
House Calls: Better Pay May Bring Them Back
Home-care fees have risen 40 percent since 1991, and Medicare is considering proposals to raise them even more. And there's a new CPT code for house calls, too. Hippocrates made house calls. So does Chicago geriatrician Steven C. Fox. Fox does comprehensive...
How Doctors Can Regain Control of Health Care: Chapter III
You'll recall that we brought you the advice of renowned health economist Uwe Reinhardt of Princeton University last Dec. 26 ("Why doctors will take back health care"). And in the May 13 issue, we presented an interview with former pediatric neurologist...
How Tough Do We Get with Patient Compliance?
If we make the line too hard to toe, some won't try to toe it. Last week, I received a notice from my car dealer. "It's time for your vehicle's recommended service," the notice warned. "Failure to follow the recommended maintenance schedule may invalidate...
Is This FP a Criminal for Doing UR?
An HMO medical director, he's board-certified, licensed in two states, and has decades of experience. But Florida officials had him arrested anyway P Roger H. Strube sat at his computer terminal in the offices of a large Florida HMO, answering E-mail...
I Thought Doctors' Families Got Better Care
Like the public, the author assumed a physician's close relative would get a quick diagnosis, effective treatment, and extra attention. To his dismay, he found almost the opposite was true. My daughter, Nikki, was 4 years old when I first heard the sound...
Letters to the Editors
This patient's family had no right to gripe If the family of John Stamler's elderly ER patient didn't want her resuscitated, they shouldn't have taken her to the emergency room or called 911 ["I saved the patient but felt like a failure," April 15]....
Money Management
Buying stocks directly from the issuer Q Some well-known companies sell their stocks directly to investors without commission. This strikes me as an economical way to build a blue chip portfolio. How do I go about it? A Some companies require you to...
Patient Phone Calls Driving You Crazy? Here's Relief
Telephone nursing can increase your productivity and lighten your load when you're on call. And done right, it won't sacrifice safety Do you dread the nights and weekends when you're on call? Are your workdays punctuated with "urgent" calls from patients-and...
Pleasing Patients: It's the Little Things That Count
Patients take your competence for granted It's your manner, your staff, and other non-clinical concerns they judge you by. The indignation burst forth at a meeting of the doctors in our large group practice. "What the hell does a patient know about my...
Practice Management
Splitting profits instead of revenues Q You keep advocating that partners split revenue based partly on productivity, and expenses according to whether they're fixed, variable, or direct. What about simply allocating a share of practice profits to each...
Real Estate Can Still Deliver Solid Returns
We're not talking actual property or even partnerships. A fund of real estate companies is your best and safest bet. Would you like a shot at showing off your amateur musical abilities? Then try managing a $940 million real estate investment fund as...
Setting Up a Program? Here's Help
As the accompanying article explains, telephone nursing programs require written or computerized guidelines that will permit the nurses to give consistent, standardized advice. Specialty societies are good sources of those guidelines, although pediatricians...
Should You Fire Some Specialists?
To survive cutthroat competition, groups are doing exactly that. How long until generalists are cast adrift, too? As corporations all over America "rightsize" by firing employees, Lovelace Health System in Albuquerque decided to follow suit. Early last...
Taking Back Health Care: Doctors Must Work Together
That's the only way to regain some of the control lost to health plans, warn these three physician leaders. Ask doctors what they fear most in today's health-care marketplace. Chances are, the answer won't be something obvious: a drop in income, a dwindling...
Telling a Patient's Family about Hereditary Diseases
Q Do I have a legal obligation to inform the children of a patient that their parent has a hereditary disease? Shouldn't that decision be left to the parent? Would disclosing the information violate patient confidentiality? A In certain situations, you...
The Cream of the Competition
Does the Mazda Miata (base price $18,900) still have a place, now that the Z3 is here? Assuredly, yes. And not just because a comparably equipped Miata is about six grand less than a Z3. The Miata also weighs about 400 pounds less, with a lighter steering...
The New Upbeat Rules for Stock Investing
Going by traditional measures, the bull market should be ending. But maybe traditional measures are no longer a good guide. In the past few years, the financial world's traditional indicators have flashed a clear message: Stock prices are way too high....
They're Not So Simple Anymore
In an effort to grab more market share and swell their deposits, many banks are offering attractive new CDs. One of the hottest is the callable CD. It offers investors a higher-than-normal yield, but banks can redeem it before maturity if interest rates...
This Doctor Ignored His Yale Professors. He's Glad He Did
During his residency, they said he'd be wasting his time if he went into primary care. Now, thousands of patients later, he's proved them wrong. Thomas A.E. "Mike" Moseley III was trained as a social worker. He has since become a physician, but in some...
Two Very Different Ways to Face the Wind
New convertibles from BMW and Chrysler are reminders that when the sun appears and you lower the top, everyone else looks trapped in a box. Two interesting convertibles have arrived this year: the BMW Z3, the roadster James Bond drove in "Goldeneye,"...
"We Want You to Pull the Plug"
The author, an ethicist, had always been comfortable theorizing about moral problems. This case jerked him into the real world. As a physician and medical ethicist employed by a staff-model HMO, I work on developing HMO policy on such issues as advance...
What about Service and Repair?
This analysis is by Bob Cerullo, a master mechanic with 30 years' experience. He is the author of the book, "What's Wrong With My Car?" BMW says that if you want top-down, wind-inyour-hair motoring, you have to give up some convenience. That's true....
What Type of Investor Are You?
Among the most important decisions investors should make before they commit their money is how much risk they're willing to take to meet the benefits they hope to receive. Try the quiz below to help you fathom the answer. You may want to take it several...
When a Fund Manager Is a Computer
Trusting a portfolio to a machine has multiple advantages, say some fund managers. Do their performance figures back them up? Suppose you had to choose between a computer and a human to manage your portfolio. Which would you prefer? If you're a mutual-fund...