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Editorials

Last 50 Editorials

(Click on title to be directed to posting, most recent listed first)

The Implications of Increasing Physician Hospital Employment
More Medical Science and Less Advertising
The Need for Improved ICU Severity Scoring
A Labor Day Warning
Keep Your Politics Out of My Practice
The Highest Paid Clerk
The VA Mission Act: Funding to Fail?
What the Supreme Court Ruling on Binding Arbitration May Mean to
   Healthcare 
Kiss Up, Kick Down in Medicine 
What Does Shulkin’s Firing Mean for the VA? 
Guns, Suicide, COPD and Sleep
The Dangerous Airway: Reframing Airway Management in the Critically Ill 
   Linking Performance Incentives to Ethical Practice 
Brenda Fitzgerald, Conflict of Interest and Physician Leadership 
Seven Words You Can Never Say at HHS
Equitable Peer Review and the National Practitioner Data Bank 
Fake News in Healthcare 
Beware the Obsequious Physician Executive (OPIE) but Embrace Dyad
   Leadership 
Disclosures for All 
Saving Lives or Saving Dollars: The Trump Administration Rescinds Plans to
Require Sleep Apnea Testing in Commercial Transportation Operators
The Unspoken Challenges to the Profession of Medicine
EMR Fines Test Trump Administration’s Opposition to Bureaucracy 
Breaking the Guidelines for Better Care 
Worst Places to Practice Medicine 
Pain Scales and the Opioid Crisis 
In Defense of Eminence-Based Medicine 
Screening for Obstructive Sleep Apnea in the Transportation Industry—
   The Time is Now 
Mitigating the “Life-Sucking” Power of the Electronic Health Record 
Has the VA Become a White Elephant? 
The Most Influential People in Healthcare 
Remembering the 100,000 Lives Campaign 
The Evil That Men Do-An Open Letter to President Obama 
Using the EMR for Better Patient Care 
State of the VA
Kaiser Plans to Open "New" Medical School 
CMS Penalizes 758 Hospitals For Safety Incidents 
Honoring Our Nation's Veterans 
Capture Market Share, Raise Prices 
Guns and Sleep 
Is It Time for a National Tort Reform? 
Time for the VA to Clean Up Its Act 
Eliminating Mistakes In Managing Coccidioidomycosis 
A Tale of Two News Reports 
The Hands of a Healer 
The Fabulous Fours! Annual Report from the Editor 
A Veterans Day Editorial: Change at the VA? 
A Failure of Oversight at the VA 
IOM Releases Report on Graduate Medical Education 
Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Beyond the AHI 
Multidisciplinary Discussion (MDD) in Interstitial Lung Disease; Some
   Reflections 
VA Administrators Breathe a Sigh of Relief 

 

For complete editorial listings click here.

The Southwest Journal of Pulmonary and Critical Care welcomes submission of editorials on journal content or issues relevant to the pulmonary, critical care or sleep medicine.

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Entries in Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (3)

Monday
May132019

The Implications of Increasing Physician Hospital Employment

Several years ago, Dr. Jack had a popular, solo internal medicine practice in Phoenix. However, over a period of about 15-20 years, the profitability of Jack’s private practice dwindled and he was working 60+ hours per week to keep his head above water. This is not what he planned in his mid-50’s when he hoped to be settling into a comfortable lifestyle in anticipation of retirement. Jack eventually closed his practice and took a job as a hospital-employed physician. Jack’s story has become all too common. The majority of physicians are now hospital-employed (1).

The increase in hospital-employed physicians raises at least 2 questions: 1. How can a busy private practice not be profitable? and 2. Is it good to have most physicians hospital-employed? Like Jack, it seems most physicians seek hospital employment for financial and lifestyle reasons. But how can a primary care practice like Jack’s not be profitable when the cost of healthcare has risen so markedly?

To understand why a practice can be busy but not necessarily profitable we need to follow the money. First, reimbursement for private practice has decreased in real dollars (Figure 1) (2). 

Figure 1. Inflation and Medicare physician fee schedule (MPFS) growth in percent from 2006-2017 (2).

Private practice physician reimbursement is the only major cost center that the Centers and Medicaid Services (CMS) has singled out for asymmetrical negative annual fee schedule adjustments. The other major cost centers—hospital inpatient and outpatient, ambulatory surgical centers, and clinical laboratories—all had fee schedule adjustments that were nearly equal to and typically greater than inflation (2). Of course, private insurance companies follow CMS’ lead and so reimbursement to private practice physicians dramatically decreased (3).

In addition, increased requirements for documentation and paperwork were imposed by CMS and quickly picked up by private insurers. These required more physician time and/or the hiring of additional personnel. In addition, there were increasing annoyances and burdens placed on physicians to review and sign forms and prescriptions which already been electronically submitted. Often these annoyances were so the durable medical equipment provider, pharmacy, etc. could be reimbursed. These later burdens now take up to one-sixth of a physicians’ time, decrease office efficiency, and not surprisingly, greatly decrease physician job satisfaction (4).

The second question is whether hospital-employed physicians is a good thing for patients. Although hospitals have argued that hospital-based physicians provide better care, patient outcomes appear to be no different (5). Hospitals have engaged in a number of practices resulting in physicians being financially squeezed. The American Hospital Association (AHA) has lobbied CMS and Congress for payments that are much higher than independent physicians’ offices, assuring hospital profitability. However, under the Trump administration, CMS proposed to pay the same rate for services delivered at off-campus hospital outpatient departments and independent doctors' offices (called site neutrality) (6). This would result in about a 60% cut to the hospitals for these services (7). Not surprisingly, hospitals complained and lobbied Congress to rescind the rule (7). Later the AHA sued CMS challenging the "serious reductions to Medicare payment rates" as executive overreach (8). The case is currently pending before the courts.

Hospitals have also engaged in a number of practices to limit competition from physicians’ offices. First, several have employed a non-compete clause as a condition of obtaining staff privileges. These clauses mean that should a physician leave a hospital, the physician is unable to reestablish a practice within a specified distance of the hospital (often within a radius of 50 miles) (9). Of course, in a metropolitan area this means the physician has to leave the city, or in the case of a large hospital chain, the physician may have difficulty finding areas to practice even in the same state. Second, with the “hospitalist movement” many hospitals have seized on the opportunity to essentially self-refer. That is, the hospitals schedule follow-up appointments with primary care or other physicians employed by the hospitals.

A study documents that healthcare costs for four common procedures rose with increasing hospital physician employment (10). A 49% increase in hospital-employed physicians led to CMS paying $2.7 billion more for diagnostic cardiac catheterizations, echocardiograms, arthrocentesis and colonoscopies delivered in hospital outpatient settings than it would for treatment in independent facilities. CMS beneficiaries footed an additional $411 million.

Although many decry a fee-for-service healthcare system as being too expensive, the increase in hospital-employed physicians seems to only have increased healthcare costs. Action by CMS is needed not only for site neutrality but also a number of other areas to ensure health competition in healthcare.

Richard A. Robbins, MD

Editor, SWJPCC

References

  1. Kane CK. Updated data on physician practice arrangements: For the first time, fewer physicians are owners than employees. Policy Research Perspectives. American Medical Association. 2019. Available at: https://www.ama-assn.org/system/files/2019-05/prp-fewer-owners-benchmark-survey-2018.pdf (accessed 5/11/19).
  2. Cherf J. Unsustainable physician reimbursement rates. AAOS Now. October, 2017. Available at: https://www.aaos.org/AAOSNow/2017/Oct/Cover/cover01/ (accessed 5/11/19).
  3. Clemens J, Gottlieb JD. In the shadow of a giant: Medicare's influence on private physician payments. J Polit Econ. 2017 Feb;125(1):1-39. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  4. Woolhandler S, Himmelstein DU. Administrative work consumes one-sixth of U.S. physicians' working hours and lowers their career satisfaction. Int J Health Serv. 2014;44(4):635-42. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. Short MN, Ho V. Weighing the effects of vertical integration versus market concentration on hospital quality. Med Care Res Rev. 2019 Feb 9:1077558719828938. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. Robbins RA. CMS decreases clinic visit payments to hospital-employed physicians and expands decreases in drug payments 340b cuts. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2018;17(5):136. [CrossRef]
  7. Luthi S, Dickson V. Medicare's site-neutral pay plan targeted in hospitals' lobbying. Modern Healthcare. September 25, 2018. Available at: https://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20180925/TRANSFORMATION04/180929928/medicare-s-site-neutral-pay-plan-targeted-in-hospitals-lobbying (accessed May 11, 2019).
  8. Luthi S. Hospitals sue over site-neutral payment policy. Modern Healthcare. December 04, 2018. Available at: https://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20181204/NEWS/181209973/hospitals-sue-over-site-neutral-payment-policy (accessed May 11, 2019).
  9. Darves B. Restrictive covenants: A look at what’s fair, what’s legal and everything in between, Today’s Hospitalist. April 2006. Available at: https://www.todayshospitalist.com/restrictive-covenants-a-look-at-whats-fair-whats-legal-and-everything-in-between/ (accessed May 11, 2019).
  10. Kacik A. Hospital-employed physicians drain Medicare. Modern Healthcare. November 14, 2017. Available at: https://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20171114/NEWS/171119942/hospital-employed-physicians-drain-medicare (accessed May 11, 2019).

Cite as: Robbins RA. The implications of increasing physician hospital employment. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2019;18(5):141-3. doi: https://doi.org/10.13175/swjpcc025-19 PDF 

Tuesday
Aug122014

IOM Releases Report on Graduate Medical Education 

On July 29 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report on graduate medical education (GME) (1). This is the residency training that doctors complete after finishing medical school. This training is funded by about $15 billion annually from the Federal government with most of the monies coming from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The report calls for an end to providing the money directly to the teaching hospitals and to dramatically alter the way the funds are paid. Instead payments would be made to community clinics phased in over about 10 years. To administer the program, the report recommends the formation of two committees: 1. A GME Policy Council in the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health; and 2. A GME Center within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to manage the operational aspects of GME CMS funding. The later committee would administer two funds: 1. A GME Operational Fund to distribute ongoing support for residency training positions that are currently approved and funded; and 2. A GME Transformation Fund to finance initiatives to develop and evaluate innovative GME programs, to determine and validate appropriate GME performance measures, to pilot alternative GME payment methods, and to award new Medicare-funded GME training positions in priority disciplines and geographic areas.

If adopted, the plan would end decades of attempts by CMS to coerce medical school graduates into primary care, especially in rural, underserved areas. By controlling funding for GME training, CMS would be able to dictate how physician training. Negative reaction was expected and swift from the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association and the American Council on Graduate Medical Education, whose members would lose CMS money (2-4). Also expected, the proposal was supported by the American Academy of Family Physicians whose members who would gain under the proposal (5).

The IOM committee has a point. Despite a growing public investment in GME, there are persistent problems with uneven geographic distribution of physicians, too many specialists, not enough primary care providers, and a lack of cultural diversity in the physician workforce. Furthermore, according to the report "a variety of surveys indicate that recently trained physicians in some specialties cannot perform simple procedures often required in office-based practice.”

However, can a committee formed by CMS be expected to improve the health of America? Based on the composition of the committee and their past performance we think not. First, the committee was co-chaired by Don Berwick who was head of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), CMS Administrator and presently a candidate for Massachusetts governor (6). During Berwick's tenure, the IHI proposed a number of non- or weakly evidence-based metrics. Many of these have been found to make no impact on patient-centered outcomes such as mortality, length of stay, readmission rates, morbidity, etc. (7). An example was the 18 month 100,000 Lives Campaign which according to Berwick prevented 122,300 avoidable deaths. However, the methodology, incomplete data and sloppy estimation of the number of deaths makes Berwick's claim dubious. Furthermore, when the campaign was expanded to the 5,000,000 Lives Campaign the "results" could not be reproduced. Also during Berwick's tenure, IHI prematurely championed tight control of blood sugar in the ICU, an intervention which resulted in a 14% increase in ICU mortality when properly studied (8). Undaunted, Berwick put many of these same meaningless metrics in place when he became administrator of CMS. One of these metrics, readmission rates, has been associated with a higher mortality (9). Now Berwick is running for Massachusetts governor. One wonders how politics might have affected the report.

Other members of the committee include the committee co-chair, Gail Wilensky, who was administrator of HCFA (the precursor of CMS), nurses, physician assistants, economists, a representative from industry and a number of academics. Missing were members of the large community of practicing physicians. It seems the IOM committee was assembled to produce a political rather than an evidence-based answer of how to solve patient care disparities. To paraphrase a well-known quote, the first casualty of politics is usually the truth. It seems likely that the proposed GME Center within CMS would have a similar composition to Berwick's present IOM committee and would likely offer political rhetoric rather than meaningful reform to GME. Similarly to those championed by Berwick at IHI and later CMS, we suspect that a series of meaningless metrics would be required that would do nothing other than add a paper burden to a medical system already drowning in paperwork. By removing local control, CMS will likely ignore local strengths. For example, the University of Colorado has an extremely strong pulmonary and critical care division. Although America needs this physician expertise, especially critical care, it seems likely that CMS might move these residency slots to family practice or general medicine. We believe that local control with appropriate incentives, is more likely to solve these problems than a centralized bureaucracy in Washington.

Lastly, a word about the report's claim graduates lack the skills to perform basic procedures. Our observations are similar and we are inclined to accept the claim. However, we point out that it was decisions of committees such as those proposed that required attending physicians to perform procedures in order to be reimbursed and that residents have fewer opportunities to perform procedures due to work hour restrictions. The committee's implication that somehow physician trainers are to blame seems quite disingenuous. Not identified in the report but crucial to physician development is developing skills to critically evaluate medical literature, rather than blindly follow the guidelines proposed by CMS, IHI or others of a similar ilk. 

The proposals in the IOM report are a bad idea from a committee whose head has been rife with bad ideas. The committee's report is not the "New Flexner Report" but will be the coffin nail in the death of quality, caring physicians if adopted.

Richard A. Robbins, MD

Clement U. Singarajah, MD

Phoenix Pulmonary and Critical Care Research and Education Foundation

Gilbert, AZ

References

 

  1. Institute of Medicine. Graduate medical education that meets the nation's health needs. July 29, 2014. Available at: http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2014/Graduate-Medical-Education-That-Meets-the-Nations-Health-Needs.aspx (accessed 8/5/14).
  2. American Hospital Association. IOM panel recommends new financing system for physician training. July 29, 2014. Available at: http://www.ahanews.com/ahanews/jsp/display.jsp?dcrpath=AHANEWS/AHANewsNowArticle/data/ann_072914_IOM&domain=AHANEWS (accessed 8/5/14).
  3. Hoven AD. AMA urges continued support for adequate graduate medical education funding to meet future physician workforce needs. July 29, 2014. Available at: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/news/news/2014/2014-07-29-support-graduate-medical-education-funding.page (accessed 8/5/14).
  4. Kirch DG. IOM’s vision of GME will not meet real-world patient needs. July 29, 2014. Available at: https://www.aamc.org/newsroom/newsreleases/381882/07292014.html (accessed 8/5/14).
  5. Blackwelder R. Recommended GME overhaul will support a physician workforce to meet nation’s evolving health needs. July 29, 2014. Available at: http://www.aafp.org/media-center/releases-statements/all/2014/gme-physician-workforce.html (accessed 8/5/14).
  6. About Don. Available at: http://www.berwickforgovernor.com/about-don (accessed 8/5/14).
  7. Robbins RA. The unfulfilled promise of the quality movement. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2014;8(1):50-63. [CrossRef]
  8. NICE-SUGAR Study Investigators. Intensive versus conventional insulin therapy in critically ill patients. N Engl J Med 2009;360:1283-97. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

Reference as: Robbins RA, Singarajah CU. IOM releases report on graduate medical education. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2014;9(2):123-5. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.13175/swjpcc107-14 PDF

Saturday
Jan122013

What to Expect from Obamacare 

“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

-Thomas Jefferson

The Supreme Court decision is in and the election is over. Obamacare, or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), will become reality, but questions remain on what it will look like. ACA had three goals: 1. Expand coverage to the poor; 2. Control costs; and 3. Improve care. These are all laudable goals but it is unclear if they can be achieved. Experience from Federal-run health systems such as Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Veterans Administration (VA) provide some clues as do recent Federal actions and the Massachusetts health care system.

Expand Coverage to the Poor

The US has about 60 million uninsured and one of the ACA goals is to come as close as possible to achieving universal healthcare coverage. In order to do this, the ACA depends heavily on Medicaid, a joint Federal-state health benefits program, to reach the goal of near-universal health care. If every state participated, 17 million uninsured people would gain coverage through Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program between 2014 and 2022, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). These are often the poorest of the poor. The Federal government usually pays for about half to two-thirds of the cost of Medicaid. To encourage states to participate in the ACA, the Federal government upped payment to 100 percent of the cost of covering newly eligible people from 2014-6, after which the share will gradually go down to 90 percent in 2022 and later years.

However, the Supreme Court decision in June, which mostly upheld the ACA, gave states the right to opt out of the Medicaid expansion. At the time of this writing, roughly a third of the states have decided not to participate, a third will participate and a third are undecided (Figure 1).

 

Figure 1. State commitment to expand Medicaid eligibility as of 12/12/12.

Some governors have asked Health and Human Services if they partially expand Medicaid will the Federal Government still pay for the expansion. In response, Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, has written a letter to the Nation’s governors saying it is all or nothing. According to the CBO this lack of participation leaves up to 3 million of the poorest Americans without health coverage. Placement of bureaucratic obstacles to discourage eligible persons not to sign up as well as political bickering and their inevitable subsequent lawsuits are likely to further delay care for the eligible. Therefore, it is unclear to what extent the ACA will increase coverage to the poor but it seems unlikely to bring the US any where close to universal healthcare.

Reduce Costs

Clearly medical care costs too much. In order to control the growth in costs it is necessary to know where the growth in spending has occurred. The latest data available is from 2010 and has been the subject of a previous editorial (2). Although there are many categories of health care expenditures, the four largest and their percentages of healthcare expenditures are hospital care (31.4%), physicians (16.1%), pharmaceuticals (10.0%), and net cost of insurance (5.6%). The largest increase in absolute costs was in hospitals which accounted for 39.4% of the increase of the $101.15 billion increase compared to 2009. The largest percentage increase was in net cost of insurance at 8.4% which was much higher than the 3.9% increase overall. Drug costs were not markedly increased at a1.2% increase but the top 12 companies had 310.8 billion in sales and 49.3 billion in profits in 2012 suggesting that the pharmaceutical industry is healthy and profitable (3). Although the Obama Administration often talks tough about reducing costs, especially insurance company costs, it seems unlikely based on their history that there will be a reduction in any of these three categories.

On the other hand, physician salaries have fallen. While the income of dentists, pharmacists, registered nurses, physician assistants, and health care and insurance executives rose by an average 10.2% in 2005-10 compared 2000-4, the income of physicians decreased by 5.8% (4). Although the hourly wage of physicians remains high ($80.00/hr) and remains higher than dentists ($70.64/hr) and lawyers ($54.21/hr), the gap is closing (5-7). This is despite a shortage of physicians (5). Even though the greatest physician need is in primary care physicians, pediatricians, family practioners and general internists remain the lowest paid physicians (8).  

Based on these trends, it seems likely medical costs will continue to rise. However, payments to physicians will probably remain static or decrease. Although the consequences are unclear, the cuts in payment to physicians are not sustainable and will likely drive many physicians, especially primary care physicians, out of private practice. The other consequence may be that some physicians, most likely specialists, may not take insurance with low reimbursement such as Medicare and Medicaid. This would mean that those that can afford to pay out of pocket will receive health care while the poor, the very people the ACA was intended to help, may not. Regardless, it is unlikely that the continual focus on physician reimbursement to control costs will be successful in controlling overall medical expenditures. The 16.1% of healthcare costs attributable to physicians is simply not large enough to reduce the overall costs, especially since physicians have born the brunt of the cuts for the past few years.

The ACA also proposes to reduce costs by paying only for value- and evidence-based care based more for outcomes than procedures. However, this is the approach that has been in place for some time at CMS and has yet to reduce costs. Committees far removed from medical practice have often made poor decisions. For example, patients who need self-catherization were at one time allowed only 4 catheters per month. Some patients had excessive and expensive hospital admissions for urinary tract infections. Presumably the catheters were not properly cleaning their catheter prior to reuse which resulted in the excess hospitalizations. The policy has now been changed to allow up to 200 catheters per month.

Another example is computerized healthcare records. In a January speech, President Obama evoked the promise of new technology: “This will cut waste, eliminate red tape and reduce the need to repeat expensive medical tests," he said. However, rather than reduce costs, the opposite happened. With better documentation, physicians billed at higher levels actually increasing costs (9). Response blaming physicians was swift implying physicians committed fraud (10).

Physicians and their patients may find themselves directed to cheaper care even when evidence points to a better but more expensive alternative. As a personal example, I have congestive heart failure and take carvedilol. My insurance company, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, has denied payment for the carvedilol despite evidence that it is superior to their recommended alternative, metropolol (11). The VA and Medicare have had similar policies in place. The difference in cost is about $1/day. I pay for my carvedilol out-of-pocket because in the COMET trial it reduced mortality from 40% to 34% (11). My judgment was that a 6% increase in survival was worth the extra cost. Patients are likely to find themselves in similar situations where if they want care that is not in the guidelines, they will need to pay for it themselves whether it is evidence-based or not.

Improvement in Care

A clue to how the Obama administration plans to improve care was in the 2010 summer recess appointment of Don Berwick as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Prior to his appointment he was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI). IHI was a group who convinced many hospitals to adopt a number of their guidelines. These guidelines had two common themes-most were physician focused and many very weakly evidence-based (12,13). CMS began tying reimbursement and compliance with the guidelines. The financial disincentive to accurately report data induced many hospitals to lie about their data (14). Not surprisingly, compliance improved but there has been little evidence for an accompanying improvement in outcomes (14,15). Witness the recent example of central line associated blood stream infections (CLABSI). Based on hospital self-reported data, CMS announced its program reduced the rate of CLABSI (16). Within a month an article appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine reporting the program did nothing to reduce infections or any other outcomes (17).

However, there may be a glimmer of hope. Although there is a continued reliance on weakly evidence-based surrogate markers, CMS has begun looking at mortality, morbidity, length of stay and readmission rates. These patient-centered outcomes have real meaning to patients as well as affecting costs. This may finally force health care administrators to address real care issues rather than performance of surrogate, weakly evidence based guidelines such as administration of pneumococcal vaccine to adults, telling smokers not to smoke without any follow up and providing discharge instructions.

Conclusions

Overall it appears that the ACA will have minimal impact on its goals of expanding care to the poor, reducing costs or improving care for the foreseeable future. It will likely continue to cost shift reimbursement away from physicians while costs continue to rise. Almost certainly it will be entangled in political bickering, eligibility challenges and lawsuits reducing many of the benefits of the law. However, we can probably be assured that CMS will continue to rely on inaccurately reported data, quickly declare their programs successful and stay their course, despite the programs doing little to nothing for patients. When their programs focus on outcomes such as mortality, morbidity, length of stay and readmission rates, real progress can be made in improving patient care rather than “spinning” dubious results.

Richard A. Robbins, MD*

References

  1. Kliff S. White House to states: on Medicaid expansion, it’s all or nothing. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/10/white-house-to-states-on-medicaid-expansion-its-all-or-nothing/  (accessed 12-13-12).
  2. Robbins RA. Follow the money. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care 2012;4:19-21.
  3. Fortune. Available at: http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2012/industries/21/ (accessed 12-13-12).
  4. Seabury SA, Jena AB, Chandra A. Trends in the earnings of health care professionals in the United States, 1987-2010. JAMA 2012;308:2083-5.
  5. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Avaiable at: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physicians-and-surgeons.htm (accessed 12-13-12).
  6. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Available at: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dentists.htm (accessed 12-13-12).
  7. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Available at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/lawyers.htm (accessed 12-13-12).
  8. Medscape. Physician compensation report 2012. Avaiable at: http://www.medscape.com/sites/public/physician-comp/2012 (accessed 12-13-12).
  9. Haig S. Electronic medical records: will they really cut costs? Time 2009. Available at: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1883002,00.html#ixzz2FF0XBf5d (accessed 12-16-12).
  10. Carlson J. HHS inspector general's office quizzes providers about EHR use. Modern Healthcare 2012. Available at: http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20121023/NEWS/310239946 (accessed 12-13-12).
  11. Poole-Wilson PA, Swedberg K, Cleland JG, Di Lenarda A, Hanrath P, Komajda M, Lubsen J, Lutiger B, Metra M, Remme WJ, Torp-Pedersen C, Scherhag A, Skene A; Carvedilol Or Metoprolol European Trial Investigators. Comparison of carvedilol and metoprolol on clinical outcomes in patients with chronic heart failure in the Carvedilol Or Metoprolol European Trial (COMET): randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2003 ;362:7-13.
  12. Padrnos L, Bui T, Pattee JJ, Whitmore EJ, Iqbal M, Lee S, Singarajah CU, Robbins RA. Analysis of overall level of evidence behind the Institute of Healthcare Improvement ventilator-associated pneumonia guidelines. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care 2011;3:40-8.
  13. Hurley J, Garciaorr R, Luedy H, Jivcu C, Wissa E, Jewell J, Whiting T, Gerkin R, Singarajah CU, Robbins RA. Correlation of compliance with central line associated blood stream infection guidelines and outcomes: a review of the evidence. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care 2012;4:163-73.
  14. Meddings JA, Reichert H, Rogers MA, Saint S, Stephansky J, McMahon LF. Effect of nonpayment for hospital-acquired, catheter-associated urinary tract infection: a statewide analysis. Ann Intern Med 2012;157:305-12.
  15. Robbins RA. The emperor has no clothes: the accuracy of hospital performance data. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care 2012;5:203-5.
  16. Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research. Available at: http://www.ahrq.gov/qual/clabsiupdate/ (accessed 12-13-12).
  17. Lee GM, Kleinman K, Soumerai SB, Tse A, Cole D, Fridkin SK, Horan T, Platt R, Gay C, Kassler W, Goldmann DA, Jernigan J, Jha AK. Effect of nonpayment for preventable infections in U.S. hospitals. N Engl J Med 2012;367:1428-37.

*The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Arizona, New Mexico or Colorado Thoracic Societies.

Reference as: Robbins RA. What to expect from Obamacare. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2013;6(1):23-28. PDF