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.

Join the conversation: Post your comments in our new section at the bottom of this page.



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.




Registration is open for our Road to Right Care conference, March 8 – 11, 2015 in San Diego! Come share your vision of what health care should be and how to get there. Save $150 if you register by October 31, 2014.

Travel scholarships for the conference are available for medical and nursing students, residents, patient advocates, and community leaders! Applications close on November 16, 2014. Start yours today!




Responses to “Why I Hope to Die at 75”

  1. Scholar Zeke Emanuel says he wants to die at 75. Here’s why this author hopes to live. – Harold Pollack, Washington Post’s Wonkblog
  2. Should we hope to live to very ripe old ages? – Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution
  3. Dr Emanuel’s Death Wish Harms Rather Than Helps – John Mandrola, Medscape
  4. Will Dr. Emanuel opt for death at 75? Maybe not – Harris Meyer, Modern Healthcare


Medical education

  1. The Rise of the M.D./M.B.A. Degree – Vidya Viswanathan, The Atlantic
  2. Payer Calls for More Primary Care Docs, Team Care – John Commins, HealthLeaders Media


Anti-vaccine movement

  1. The Anti-Vaccine Epidemic – Paul A. Offit, Wall Street Journal
  2. Vaccine Controversies Are As Social As They Are MedicalNPR


Costs of care

  1. Your employer could be considering a health plan with no hospital benefits – Jay Hancock, Kaiser Health News
  2. Costs Can Go Up Fast When E.R. Is in Network but the Doctors Are Not – Elisabeth Rosenthal, New York Times
  3. Best in the world, my a$$! – Emergency Departments and Networks – Aaron Carroll, The Incidental Economist
  4. Best in the world, my a$$! – Emergency Departments and Networks – ctd. – Aaron Carroll, The Incidental Economist


Medical evidence

  1. Reproducible science and randomized clinical trials – Bill Gardner, The Incidental Economist


Patient choice and patient safety

  1. More Than Half of Gay and Bisexual Men Say a Doctor Has Never Suggested H.I.V. Testing – Josh Barro, The Upshot
  2. Things that make me go ARGH: Overuse of antibiotics for pharyngitis – Aaron Carroll, The Incidental Economist
  3. Informed women more likely to skip prenatal testing – Deborah Kotz, Boston Globe
  4. Ultrasound vs. CT for Kidney Stones – Nicholas Bakalar, New York Times’ Well blog



  1. End-of-life care needs concrete reforms, not sweeping rhetoricBoston Globe
  2. Warnings on Big Medical BillsNew York Times
  3. A New Attack on Antibiotic ResistanceNew York Times
  4. It’s time to get mad about the outrageous cost of health careConsumer Reports


Drug & device industry

  1. Medical Devices Lack Safety Evidence, Study Finds – Thomas M. Burton, Wall Street Journal
  2. Pharmaceuticals decry FDA’s social media rules – Tim Devaney, The Hill


Rural hospitals

  1. Accountability slow to reach rural hospitals – Jordan Rau, Kaiser Health News
  2. Love to a fault: How the best of intentions is hurting care for Americans who live in rural areas – Ashish Jha, An Ounce of Evidence


Dental care

  1. Why Don’t We Treat Teeth Like the Rest of Our Bodies? – Olga Khazan, The Atlantic
  2. California To Launch Medicaid-Funded Teledentistry – Daniela Hernandez, Kaiser Health News Capsules blog


Health care delivery models

  1. Latin American healthcare group Sanitas coming to Miami-Dade in partnership with Florida Blue – Daniel Chang, Miami Herald
  2. Personal Attention Seen As Antidote To Rising Health Costs – Sarah McCammon, Georgia Public Broadcasting


The Right Care Weekly is made possible through the generous support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.