Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Medicaid Robber Barons

The Governors support for Medicaid expansion in Florida is a positive development but no done deal. The Florida House and Senate will have to reconcile their different political and ideological views regarding this issue. Meanwhile, Florida also won its request from the federal government for a waiver granting a statewide expansion of the Medicaid Managed Care Program. That means that Medicaid recipients will be coerced to join managed care companies which will receive state and federal funding to run the Medicaid program. Unfortunately, this is not only bad news for Floridians who will now routinely experience service denials and rationing of care but even worse news for participating doctors and other healthcare providers. Already primary care physicians receive reimbursements as low as $15 per patient to care for complicated chronic diseases and are being forced to manage those patients 24/7. These sweat shop conditions are being condoned by Florida Legislators who only consider the bottom-line: cheaper is better. Who is implementing and monitoring the necessary accountability and transparency measures to curtail managed care abuses? In the end we will create a new robber baron class: managed care company executive who are being showered with billions of federal dollars. Physicians and patients will be the recipients of trickle down healthcare economics. Who cares?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Medicaid expansion

According to a recent FAFP (Florida Academy of Family Physicians) communication AHCA has informed the FAFP that the logistics for increasing Medicaid rates to Medicare levels will most likely not be completed until sometime in April, yet confirmed that retroactive payments will be made to make up the increases due for services billed between January 1 and implementation. One of several complicating factors is deciding how payments will be made to the managed care companies and then passed through to the physicians. That's an important issue because I just received a contract asking me to join the Preferred Medical Plan as a provider offering $15 reimbursement per Medicaid patient! I guess the private insurance companies will benefit greatly from the Medicaid expansion and the "increased" reimbursement for physician will follow the trickle down economics model. So who will gain from the federal subsidies? The private corporations and NOT the patients nor the physicians. Again, privatizing the profits and socializing the risk! Nothing changes!! Yours Bernd

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Gun Violence Prevention

Attached a link to an interesting article titled "Gun violence research, policies need physician voice" in which the author highlights five strategies outlined by Frattaroli and UC Davis physician Garen Wintemute emphasizing the physician's role in gun violence prevention. " The doctor is a clinician, in which he or she can ensure mental health treatment is available to prevent suicide gun deaths and support policies limiting gun purchases to at-risk individuals. The doctor also plays a role in managing fear; as a researcher, helping ensure money is appropriated for violence prevention research; and as a policy advocate, where physicians can be heard together to influence Congress in new policies. Lastly, the physician plays a role as a leader." We should use these arguments when responding to those who question that physicians can play any role in gun violence prevention. Its our social responsibility to contribute our time and efforts to protect our communities from senseless gun violence and to promote gun safety initiatives. Yours Bernd

Saturday, February 09, 2013

The Anti-Aging Myth

Attached a link to an interesting article published in today's Miami Herald highlighting the proliferation of so-called anti-aging clinics in South Florida whose unscrupulous operators are peddling steroids and growth hormones. I also recommend reading the excellent commentary by Fred Grimm. I hope that my fellow colleagues will join me in the effort to curtail the (ab)use of steroids and growth hormone products which can have serious and detrimental health effects. We should point out those so-called "doctors" who are profiting from promoting the use of steroids for muscle-building and human growth hormone (hGH). We should make it clear to those "doctors" that federal law prohibits the use of such substances except for rare circumstances such as growth retardation. Instead, those "doctors" are promoting the use of human growth hormone therapy to treat patients suffering from low energy, increased fat or a slowing sex drive. Now is time to act and to speak up. Yours Bernd

Monday, February 04, 2013

Gun Safety

Attached a link to an article titled " The Pediatricians vs. the NRA" published on We need to continue pushing for the implementation of common-sense gun safety measures and doctors play an important role to communicate this issue with their patients. Yours Bernd VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE AT