- Del Meyer, MD - https://delmeyer.net -

Medical Staff Meetings

Sacramento has a new cover lady. Congratulation to Sister Bridget McCarthy, Sacramento’s Business Woman of the year.

The recent staff meeting of Mercy General Hospital at the Hyatt regency was an honest attempt at dialogue among the various management groups, whose talk about how fine a job they were doing with the lives they were responsible for made me think of that old caution: When you see a restaurant that advertises “fine food,” it might be best to avoid it. The Sisters of Mercy are to be commended for having paid for this major effort of intergroup and community dialogue.

The new Smith Kline Beecham Androderm patch, a testosterone transdermal system, can be applied to the trunk or extremities. It appears the Alza’s Testoderm patch, the original Testosterone Transdermal System, which had to be applied to the scrotum, “just wasn’t catching on.”

The State supreme court ruled that the custodial parent can move out of State and take the children away from the noncustodial parent, essentially severing the latter relationship in an already fractured family. This was heralded as a win for mothers with custody. The supreme court forgot to mention this was a loss for the other two legs of the fractured triangle, namely, the children and their noncustodial parent. And perhaps society. Isn’t it better to try to reduce and place the pieces of a fracture in reasonable, although painful, apposition rather than sever or amputate them? As physicians interested in the mental health of our patients, we should highlight the tragedy of that ruling in the court of public opinion. We certainly wouldn’t want to make it worse with another law.

Mike Yellen, analyst at Global Health Care Fund said the industry of physician practices under acquisition has been “over-hyped.” “It’s a hot area in terms of the valuation these stocks have,” he said, “but it’s really a new industry in the sense that nobody really organized doctors on a large basis before. So, they’re really concept stocks.” Critics of the industry say investors are taking an overly simplistic view. Acquiring physician practices alone may not translate into long-term growth, he said. Acquisitions have major risks. Integrating new doctor practices is not always simple, and competition is fierce.

Merrill Matthews of the Center for Health Policy Studies in Dallas states, “Managed care can succeed in lowering health-care costs only to the extent that it succeeds in preventing patients from obtaining all the services it is in the patients’ self-interest to obtain…” Managed-care supporters, however, say that traditional fee-for-service insurance has encouraged so much waste and inefficiency that simply cutting that out allows tremendous savings. Both statements are obviously true. The challenge is how to mesh the two problems.

Texas passed a law that requires doctors to see their HMO patients at least twice a year. The Texas physician who told me this at a recent medical meeting said this was to prevent HMOs from influencing doctors to do too much care by phone. That could jeopardize a lot of doctors who, through no fault of their own, may see patients only once a year. Looks like the Texas Medical Association supported bad law and bad medicine. Why do we keep trying to practice law rather than medicine? It always places us in someone else’s court when we’ve spent 12 years learning how to play in the medicine court, the only court in which we can win.

A final thought of the MGH meeting. The majority of the attendees left before the six speakers finished their presentation within the 90 minutes promised in the flyer, in effect voting with their feet about the management groups present despite the very large amount of health care funds spent on a three-course dinner, unlimited libations and parking at a premier hotel.