Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Health Care Reform Articles - April 29, 2014

Cross-border checkup: Dr. Danielle Martin defends Canada's single-payer system

Health-care advocate alumna takes fight to Washington

By Adela Talbot
Western (University) News, London, Ont., April 24, 2014
Danielle Martin sure can stand her ground.
Last month, the 2003 Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry graduate spoke as part of an international panel presenting to the U.S. Senate’s Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging. Invited alongside health-care professionals from Taiwan, France and Denmark to present a defense of a single-payer health-care system, Martin did just that.
And when conversation veered toward an attack of Canada’s health-care system, and its long wait times for certain procedures, Martin delivered a defense that has garnered much applause from fellow Canadians and national media.
“On average, how many Canadian patients on a waiting list die each year? Do you know?” asked U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., in Washington, D.C., last month.
“I don’t, sir, but I know there are 45,000 in America who die waiting because they don’t have insurance at all,” replied Martin, a family physician and vice-president of medical affairs and health systems solutions at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto.
And that’s just one snippet of her Senate exchange with the anti-Obamacare Republican.
After completing her undergraduate degree at McGill University, Martin first worked in health-care policy and politics. She applied to Schulich for medical school and arrived at Western in 1999. Having done her residency in family medicine in Toronto, she stayed put. She took on a Master’s of Public Policy at the University of Toronto and has since enjoyed a professional life as a doctor who gets things done – with and without her white coat.
“My area of interest has always been health-care systems and how can we construct health-care systems to best serve the needs of the population; that’s what drew me to medical school in the first place,” Martin said.
In 2006, along with colleagues across the country, she helped establish Canadian Doctors for Medicare, a national physician organization that does advocacy work around evidence relating to equity and access to health-care services.
“Unlike many other medical leaders who sort of start from a clinical interest and move into policy issues later in their careers, I started out with a policy interest and then developed a love of family medicine during my medical training at Western,” Martin continued.
“But my interest has really been in health-care systems, and my primary concern, until recently, has been around the preservation and enhancement of publically funded health care in Canada – trying to make sure that we construct an insurance model that makes sure that access to health care is based on need, rather than ability to pay.”

A Deadly Fungus and Questions at a Hospital

Monday, April 28, 2014

Health Care Reform Articles - April 28, 2014

How Being a Doctor Became the Most Miserable Profession

Nine of 10 doctors discourage others from joining the profession, and 300 physicians commit suicide every year. When did it get this bad?

By the end of this year, it’s estimated that 300 physicians will commit suicide. While depression amongst physicians is not new—a few years back, it was named the second-most suicidal occupation—the level of sheer unhappiness amongst physicians is on the rise.
Simply put, being a doctor has become amiserable and humiliating undertaking. Indeed, many doctors feel that America has declared war on physicians—and both physicians and patients are the losers.
Not surprisingly, many doctors want out. Medical students opt for high-paying specialties so they can retire as quickly as possible. Physician MBA programs—that promise doctors a way into management—are flourishing. The website known as the Drop-Out-Club—which hooks doctors up with jobs at hedge funds and venture capital firms—has a solid following. In fact, physicians are so bummed out that 9 out of 10 doctors would discourage anyone from entering the profession.
It’s hard for anyone outside the profession to understand just how rotten the job has become—and what bad news that is for America’s health care system. Perhaps that’s why author Malcolm Gladwell recently implied that to fix the healthcare crisis, the public needs to understand what it’s like to be a physician. Imagine, for things to get better for patients, they need to empathize withphysicians—that’s a tall order in our noxious and decidedly un-empathetic times.
After all, the public sees ophthalmologists and radiologists making out like bandits and wonder why they should feel anything but scorn for such doctors—especially when Americans haven’t gotten a raise in decades. But being a primary care physician is not like being, say, a plastic surgeon—a profession that garners both respect and retirement savings. Given that primary care doctors do the work that no one else is willing to do, being a primary care physician is more like being a janitor—but without the social status or union protections.

In Poorest States, Political Stigma Is Depressing Participation in Health Law

We Kill Germs at Our Peril

‘Missing Microbes’: How Antibiotics Can Do Harm