health policy

If somebody invented a device that could save the lives of millions of smokers, should society encourage its use? Yes, absolutely, the Parliament of the United Kingdom just concluded in a new report on e-cigarettes.

Published by the Science and Technology Committee, the report does not mince its words. It claims that the UK's National Health Service (NHS) is "missing [an] opportunity" to save lives by overlooking the benefits of e-cigarettes.

The report summary begins...

It is time to question the boondoggle that is and will be the implementation of the World Health Organization-generated International Classification of Diseases, Eleventh Revision (ICD-11). Once it is likely adopted by the World Health Assembly next May and put into effect in 2022 after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) modify it, it will inevitably wreak havoc on the practice of medicine. But, don’t worry, despite further encumbering patient care, costing a bundle and contributing to physician job dissatisfaction, it will serve its real purpose of being a billing...

It is very hard to view health insurers and their actions through an altruistic and caring lens when one of their own simply cannot stop making bad policy. Anthem, it appears, just can’t help itself these days when it comes to endangering patients and opposing prioritizing patient safety. Look no further than their multi-state effort to place the burden on the patient to self-diagnose what is a true emergency by holding them financially responsible for all expenses if the ultimate diagnosis doesn’t support an ER visit. This policy is so egregious that the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the Medical Association of Georgia are pushing back by filing a federal lawsuit, insisting...

One thing is for certain in our so-called broken “health system,” devaluing and eroding of the doctor-patient relationship is par for the course these days, typically a first measure without any thoughtful consideration of the profound and extensive costs. With a newly published BMJ Open study detailing the lethal impact of ignoring and undermining continuity of medical care, it is abundantly clear the price we pay in doing so is not only a monetary one.

This latest work adds to the litany of data - and exhaustive common sense - that the “accumulated knowledge” acquired from repetitive, personal interactions between the patient and his physician has very...

Authors of a newly published piece in The New England Journal of Medicine sought to provide an analysis of who ought to be responsible for obtaining a patient’s consent. They conclude, upon discussion of a recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling in Shinal v. Toms which held that a treating physician could not “fulfill through an intermediary the duty to provide sufficient information to obtain a patient’s informed consent,” that this definition is too rigid, inefficient and out of step with shifting team-centered approaches to care delivery. This in itself is a misnomer given medical care has always been driven by teams - including but not...

It was such a privilege and honor for me to be invited by the incomparable Suzi Abrams and Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern New Jersey to present on how to be an advocate for yourself or a loved one in the medical realm. To inform from a physician's perspective, I put together a guide on the subject that can be found by scrolling down in this article. The topic of patient advocacy is very close to my heart, so when I was invited to speak by someone I deeply admire who runs an effective, successful program the community vitally needs,...

The “opioid epidemic” consistently addressed in the news, by politicians and throughout social media conflates many aspects of the issue, often speaking interchangeably about prescription medications and illicit drugs. When the narrative and identifying of the problems get so confused and blurred or legal and political grandstanding becomes more about virtue signaling than honest analysis of multifactorial causal agents and helpful action, the solutions get further and further out of reach. As does the suffering.

The mere existence of an opioid pill is not why there is a crisis.

Myths abound in the public forum surrounding who caused it, what “it” actually is, how we got here, what it will take to fix it and who we can blame for the totality of a truly complex situation....

Yes, you read that headline correctly. Stigma, judgment and guilt are so rampant when it comes to decisions mothers make regarding infant feeding that the London-based Royal College of Midwives (RCM) was compelled to release a new position statement underscoring that it is a woman’s right to bottle feed her baby. This is what happens when misguided “at all costs” breastfeeding strategies run amok - look no further than the fact the United Kingdom has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Europe.  

In it, the...

In a just published perspective piece in The New England Journal of Medicine, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. outlines with colleagues the multi-prong approach the agency is using to combat the complex issue that is misuse and abuse of opioids while detailing surveillance measures already underway to detect rapidly the next wave of drug abuse. Among this so-called proactive pharmacovigilance plan is employing a social media “listening platform” that monitors opioid conversation traffic in traditional and other sites or forums that are publicly available. When alternative substances are mentioned, the data mining deepens.

With a goal of heading off...

“At all costs” breastfeeding messages are a consistent refrain from policymakers to activist organizations. I would argue when they exclude discussion of formula, concomitant disease, realistic personal and infant challenges along with what is in the best interest of the family such well-intentioned directives are routinely misguided, even intellectually dishonest.

A recent piece in Medscape ...