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Commentary

Care of Obese Persons

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A JAMA article reports on a study of whether obese persons receive worse medical care, due to stigmatization of their condition or for other reasons. Despite negative perceptions, it appears that in fact their care is as good as that of non-obese persons.

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Telepsychiatry

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The California Health Foundation examines the use of telepsychiatry in the emergency room. In a second article Time explores its use for children and teens. Telepsychiatry is just one example of the rapid spread of even traditional telemedicine.

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Dying, Disability and Advance Directives

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Two recent pieces of research shed further light on what commonly happens with individuals’ health status near the end of their lives and on the extent to which people are considering what kind of care they want to receive if they reach medical crisis and whether a patient’s preferences are being respected.

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2010 Potpourri XI

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This week’s collection includes obesity, clinical trials results, how hospitals make money from physicians, strategic implications of reform, what reform is likely to do to young people’s insurance premiums and patents on genes. Enjoy!

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EHRs and Diagnostic Errors

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A variety of benefits from expanded use of electronic medical or health records have been advanced by advocates. An article in the New England Journal of Medicine explores whether such electronic records can help limit the number of diagnostic mistakes by physicians and other health professionals.

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The Massachusetts Debacle

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The Massachusetts Attorney General’s final report on what is driving health care cost increases in Massachusetts confirms the preliminary version’s finding that most of the spending rise is due to nothing more than application of raw provider market power to extract high prices from private payers. Another report also examines hospitals’ pricing practices.

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More on Hospital Costs and Pricing

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Health Affairs publishes a study with a creative approach to understanding hospital costs, hospital pricing, Medicare payments and market power. The authors’ conclusion is that profitable hospitals have higher expenses because they have more money to spend, and those higher expenses may make them look unprofitable in regard to Medicare payments.

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Health Care Reform Special

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To the delight of some and the dismay of many, the health “reform” bill has passed and been signed. Very few Americans, or Congresspeople, understand what is in the bill and they are going to be very unpleasantly surprised by the taxes, the continued rapid growth in both health costs and insurance premiums and the severe negative consequences for our national finances.

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