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Every medical practice is at risk for a natural or man-made disaster. Future events cannot be predicted, but re­sponses to such events can be. Any medical professional who has worked through a disaster can tell you either how glad they are that the practice had a disaster plan in place, or how they regret the practice was not prepared for such a risk.
With 2014 marking the first year that Meaningful Use Stage 2 takes effect for some practices, discussions about patient portals and online access to electronic health information—just some of the core objectives required through Stage 2—continue to attract significant attention. Such was the case at this year’s American Urological Association Practice Management Conference, where the talk “Adopting an Effective Patient Portal” was featured as one of the key general session presentations.
As the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) continues its efforts to ensure that those who are enrolled in the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace (FHIM) meet eligibility requirements, the ripple effects of these efforts may be felt at medical practices nationwide.
The US Food and Drug Ad­­ministration (FDA) recently took initial steps toward regulating laboratory-developed tests (LDTs). Used to select appropriate treatment for individual patients, LDTs are designed, made, and used within a single laboratory, and include genetic tests and tests used by clinicians to guide their patients’ treatment.
Changes in our economy and healthcare system (ie, the Affordable Care Act, accountable care organizations, evolving reimbursement models) have given birth to a new member of the healthcare team: the financial advocate. Although many hospitals and large clinics have some form of patient advocates and nurse navigators, not all of these professionals are trained in the complex financial issues inherent to the care of treating a patient with cancer.
The alignment of physicians with hospitals and health systems can be challenging in today’s healthcare climate, yet interest in alignment continues to expand. In some instances, the necessity of maintaining a strong and diverse medical staff coupled with the threat of losing critical team members and the subsequent closure of a business line may result in hospitals and health systems making decisions and promises they may not otherwise make.
We have all had that patient—the patient who is prescribed a new targeted therapy and cannot comply with it because it is just too expensive. When asked directly about the reasoning for the noncompliance, the patient suggests that taking the treatment is just too expensive and, in fact, it is cheaper to die.
With finite healthcare resources, do physicians have a duty to serve society broadly by being responsible stewards of those shared resources, or is their obligation to the patients before them incompatible with any rationing? The balance of duties to patients and to society was the subject of a debate at the 2014 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting.

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  • American Health and Drug Benefits
  • Association for Value Based Cancer Care
  • Lynx CME
  • Oncology Practice Management
  • Rheumatology Practice Management

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