Right care in “Guernica,” constant struggles in end-of-life care, and can Sunshine disinfect pharma?
October 2, 2014
In order to bring you more of the news you want to read, RightCare Weekly summarizes and interprets three important articles and provides headlines linking to the many other articles and editorials you’ll find interesting. As always, RightCare Weekly presents articles related to moving our healthcare system toward the right care for all patients.
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Grace Bello interviewed Vikas Saini, MD and Shannon Brownlee for the magazine Guernica, on topics including the pharmaceutical industry, the progress and problems of the Affordable Care Act, and the experiences that drew them toward wanting to understand overtreatment in medicine. It’s a wide-ranging interview, which gives a clear sense of the depth of the cultural problems in medicine, but points to how physicians, patients, and others can work together to improve the system.
The long-awaited Tuesday release of the Sunshine Act data, detailing payments to doctors by pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, made transparent only some of the data consumers wanted to review. In various news accounts, including ProPublica and the New York Times, aggregated information indicates that over only a few months in 2013, there were 1.2 million payments valued at nearly $1.4 billion. But the data is incomplete and doesn’t cover all the payments. Other notes: the biggest companies didn’t always spend the most on doctors, meals outnumbered all other interactions between companies and doctors, and excluding research payments, Pfizer topped the number of interactions with health professionals, estimated at 142,000.
This week Nina Bernstein of the New York Times tells a story of the intense emotional and bureaucratic challenges patients and families face when navigating the world of nursing homes, home care, hospice, and other end-of-life medical care choices. In connection with the story, the Times’ Room For Debate section has responses from several experts on advanced illness, including Joanne Lynne, MD, of the Altarum Institute, who spoke powerfully at our 2013 conference about how community support can help dementia patients.
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