HealthLeaders Media PhysicianLeaders - August 14, 2008 | Good News for Primary Care? View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Good News for Primary Care?
Elyas Bakhtiari, Managing Editor

It seems that all we hear about primary care these days are dire warnings about low reimbursement and physician shortages, so I want to start out with some good news for a change: Compensation for primary care physicians increased nearly three times as much in 2007 as it did in 2006, and it outpaced compensation increases for specialists (combined) for the second straight year. That sounds great, but there are some caveats. [Read More]
  August 14, 2008

Editor's Picks
Addressing the gender gap in surgical specialties
This Chicago Tribune article looks at difficulties attracting female physicians into neurosurgery, but it is a problem shared by other surgical specialties as well. Even though the number of female physicians has increased dramatically in recent years—half of medical students are now female—their specialty choices have remained relatively unchanged. That's good news for primary care, which female physicians tend to favor, but surgical specialties could face shortage problems if they don't figure out how to attract female doctors. Fewer than 5% of private practice neurosurgeons are currently female. [Read More]
Bedside manner matters most in doctor choice
This survey ties in perfectly with last week's discussion about the damaged doctor-patient relationship. Patients have weighed in, and ranked "bedside manner and communication skills" as the most important quality they look for when choosing a physician. Even if problems with the larger healthcare system are causing the problem, physicians that don't do everything they can to improve the relationship increasingly risk poor ratings, malpractice lawsuits, low patient compliance, and losing business. Physician-blogger Robert Lamberts, MD, offers a few simple rules to help doctors get along better with patients. [Read More]
Controlling doctor outbursts
This Boston Globe piece considers the consequences of "medical road rage," offering the example of an orthopedic surgeon at a Salem, MA hospital who threw a pair of scissors, narrowly missing a nurse, because he was frustrated that they wouldn't cut. Doctors deal with a lot of stressful situations, but there's no excuse for that type of outburst, and organizations are increasingly taking a zero-tolerance approach to doctor bullying. My colleague Maureen Larkin recently had a great column about the Joint Commission's new code of conduct for dealing with bullies in the hospital. [Read More]
What not to do when being audited by Medicare
What happens when you receive a Medicare audit request and realize your documentation isn't that good? This physician law blogger says many physicians are tempted to alter documentation, but that's the worst thing you can do in that situation. A New Jersey podiatrist recently tried to rewrite records during an audit and ended up being charged with obstruction and faces as much as five years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Adding annotations or a letter to the auditor explaining the situation is fine, but back-dating records may get you into serious trouble. [Read More]
A look at Olympic doctors
Take your mind off physician shortages, reimbursement woes, and all the other problems in healthcare and read this profile of Canada's Olympic doctors. They work a minimum of 12-hour days and spend a month away from home without pay, so it isn't all fun and games. But it's definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and you might get to treat some unique injuries. If you start training now you just might make the team in four years. [Read More]
Business Rx
Make practice changes for P4P success:
Physician practices do not always realize the level of change necessary to successfully implement and use a pay-for-performance (P4P) program. Before you can see the benefits of P4P, you first have to weave through some obstacles and find new ways to approach quality performance. [Read More]
Physician News
Lawsuit alleges kickbacks paid to Pittsburgh-area doctors
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - August 14, 2008
22% of Americans surveyed cut visits to doctor
San Francisco Chronicle - August 13, 2008
Early test for cancer isn't always best course
New York Times - August 14, 2008
Doctor campaigns for iPhone drug application
San Francisco Chronicle - August 11, 2008
September 17: Physician Practice Staffing: Five Strategies to Become the Employer of Choice
August 19: Recruiting Today's Physician: Competitive Compensation Packages and Practice Structures
On Demand: OR Overhaul: 5 Surgical Site Improvements Every Leader Should Make Today
On Demand: Service Line Strategies Workshop 2008: Neurosciences
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Help the Uninsured (Without Going Broke)
HealthLeaders August 2008
The number of people who can't pay much—or anything—for their care just keeps rising. Some hospitals have found new ways to help them while still protecting the financial health of the hospital. [Read More]
PhysicianLeaders Forum

"Never Events" Pose Liability Risk: Attorney Jim Saxton from Stevens & Lee in Lancaster, PA, answers a reader's question about "never events" and warns that using that term may influence jurors and patients who will assume that any "never event" error is due to negligence. [Read More]
Audio Feature

Revitalizing Physician Leadership: Craig Sammit, MD, MBA, president and CEO of Dean Health System in Madison, WI, discusses his two-year effort to identify and develop more physicians for leadership roles within the organization. [Listen Now]
Sponsor PhysicianLeaders

Contact Lisa Brown, Director of Integrated Sales, at or call 781.639.1872.
Resources From HealthLeaders Media

Learn how to harness the power of a large organization, either by expanding the practice or partnering with hospitals, private investors, or other physician groups, with Physician Entrepreneurs: Strength in Numbers.
Read about the latest business strategies to help you grow beyond traditional practice models in Physician Entrepreneurs: Going Retail.
Start marketing your practice or refine your existing marketing program with Physician Entrepreneurs: Marketing Toolkit, a new HealthLeaders Media book that combines expert tips with marketing samples, tools, forms, and checklists that will help grow your practice.
Find practice-management ideas in The Doctor's Office, a monthly newsletter.