Category Archives: Newsroom

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– Wing of Zock Editorial Team

Physician Filmmaker Documents One of America’s Busiest ERs in Code Black

By Sarah Sonies

There are few places of such constant drama and excitement as a hospital emergency room. Crowded with patients awaiting urgent care, Los Angeles County Hospital’s ER is one of the busiest.

Code Black, a documentary directed by ER doc and first-time filmmaker Ryan McGarry, MD, highlights the physicians fighting to save lives in one of the largest public hospitals in the country. Continue reading Physician Filmmaker Documents One of America’s Busiest ERs in Code Black

1776 Challenge Cup Gives Best and Brightest Startups a Chance to Win Big

By Sarah Sonies

Sixteen competed, but only two could win. In what proved to be both a competition and an impromptu lesson on prosthetics, health care startups from all over the world pitched their ideas Thursday night for a chance to win $150,000 in prizes and funding.

Called the Challenge Cup, the competition is part of the Challenge Festival. Produced by startup incubator 1776, the festival is a week of events in Washington, DC, showcasing innovators from around the world who seek transformative solutions to global challenges.

Held May 10-May 17, the first annual festival culminated in the Challenge Cup Global Finals, where 64 international startups from 16 cities around the world were selected by the 1776 team to share their ideas in four areas: energy, education, health, and smart cities. Continue reading 1776 Challenge Cup Gives Best and Brightest Startups a Chance to Win Big

University of New Mexico Residents Design #GetCovered App

By Sarah Sonies

New Mexico has one of the nation’s highest rates of uninsured. With the expansion of Medicaid and New Mexico’s participation in the federal health insurance exchange, over 300,000 New Mexicans are eligible to enroll in a health insurance plan. Medical residents at the University of New Mexico (UNM), working with the UNM Business School and the New Mexico Center for Law and Poverty, have developed a mobile app to disseminate information on enrolling in health insurance and Medicaid to people who are newly eligible for coverage.GetCovered_CoverShot

The Get Covered New Mexico app is designed to provide patients with clear information on how and where to obtain coverage, in addition to serving as a tool for community health workers and enrollment navigators throughout the state. Kate McCalmont, MD, is a second-year family medicine resident at UNM who is leading the effort.

“As information [about Medicaid expansion in New Mexico] began appearing in the news and with ads on billboards encouraging people to enroll in the exchanges, I started brainstorming how to get the word out to many people simultaneously,” she says. Continue reading University of New Mexico Residents Design #GetCovered App

Fighting Women’s Cancer One Step at a Time

By George “Larry” Maxwell, MD

It began in 2009 with a 72-hour run around Washington, DC,’s National Mall in support of the Foundation for Women’s Cancer’s National Race to End Women’s Cancer. It continued in 2011 with a 72-hour relay around the White House, and now it is a global 24-hour walk taking place in more than 80 countries worldwide.

On September 29 and 30, thousands of people will run and walk all across the globe, united in support of raising awareness of gynecologic cancers. While the distance won’t necessarily be far, the impact of the race will be far-reaching. The Globe-athon Walk to End Women’s Cancers is the first international, grassroots call to action for gynecologic cancer

Gynecologic cancers account for 19 percent of the 5.1 million estimated new cancer cases, 2.9 million cancer deaths, and 13 million five-year prevalent cancer cases among women in the world. They are especially deadly in underserved and developing countries. Prior to the Globe-athon, there were few unified efforts underway to fight all types of women’s cancers. Many separate advocacy groups do wonderful work; the Globe-athon is an effort to unify them and bring the community together with a common voice. The event’s goal is not to fundraise, but to raise awareness and educate the public on women’s cancer. This cause resonates with me. I lost my grandmother and my great aunt to ovarian cancer. Continue reading Fighting Women’s Cancer One Step at a Time

Macy Foundation Report Shows Key Challenges, Opportunities New Medical Schools Face

By Sarah Sonies

An August report, commissioned by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, details the key challenges, planning strategies, and lessons learned by  15 of the newest U.S. medical schools.  The report provides an update on eight of the new medical schools, which were showcased in a 2009 report, and describes in detail the circumstances that led to the development of seven additional schools. What follows is an interview with report author Michael Whitcomb, MD, Flinn Visiting Scholar at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix, on the key findings, how new schools can meet the challenges they are presented, and the future of medical education.

Over the past few years, several new medical schools have been established. Why? Usually the decision behind forming a new medical school is the goal of increasing physician supply with an emphasis in primary care. There is a need for more physicians and a need to increase physician supply; new medical schools can aid this process. Some of these new schools wanted to contribute to the workforce and help meet the policy position that the AAMC had put forth in 2006, which advocated for increasing enrollment in medical schools by about 30 percent. Continue reading Macy Foundation Report Shows Key Challenges, Opportunities New Medical Schools Face

Wing of Zock in the “Dog Daze” of Health Wonk Review

A recent post from Wing of Zock discusses rankings and metrics in the context of the health care system’s seismic shift from volume to value in the latest edition of Health Wonk Review posted by David E. Williams of Health Business Blog.

The featured post, authored by Vivian Lee, MD, Ph.D., MBA., senior vice president of Health Sciences, CEO of the Health Care System, and Dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Utah, examines health care rankings and metrics in our current systems.

Dr. Lee writes:

“Health care rankings also matter. They matter a lot. Why? For one, we are undergoing a seismic shift in health care payment reform—shifting from a fee-for-service model to a value-based system, where our physicians and hospitals are being compensated for thevalue they deliver to patients. Measuring that value accurately, clearly, and consistently is vital to successful transformation.”

Dr. Lee calls for reworking how we measure our health care rankings in order to put health care metrics and rankings on the same playing field.

Full Health Wonk Review after the jump.  Continue reading Wing of Zock in the “Dog Daze” of Health Wonk Review

Another Attempt to Show the RUC Behind the Curtain

By Roy Poses, MD

Originally posted on Health Care Renewal on Monday, July 8, 2013

In 2007, readers of the Annals of Internal Medicine could read part of the solution to a great medical mystery.(1) For years, health care costs in the US had been levitating faster than inflation, without producing any noticeable positive effect on patients. Many possible reasons were proposed, but as the problem continued to worsen, none were proven.Prices are High Because They are Fixed That WayThe article in the Annals, however, proposed one conceptually simple answer.

The prices of most physicians’ services, at least most of those that involved procedures or operations for Medicare patients, were high because the US government set them that way. Although the notion that prices were high because they were fixed to be so high was simple, how the fixing was done, and how the fixing affected the rest of the health system was complex, mind numbingly complex.

Perhaps because of the complexity of its implementation, the simplicity of the concept has not seemingly reached the consciousness of most American health care professionals or policy makers, despite the publication of several scholarly articles on the subject,.efforts by humble bloggers such as yours truly, a major journalistic expose, and recent congressional hearings. The lack of discussion of this issue seemed to be a prime example of what we have called the anechoic effect, that important causes of health care dysfunction whose discussion would discomfit those who are currently personally profiting from the current system rarely produce many public echoes. (For a review of what is known to date about how the offputtingly named Resource Based Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC) works, and previous attempts to makes it central role in fixing what US physicians are paid public, see the Appendix.) Continue reading Another Attempt to Show the RUC Behind the Curtain