By Abby S. Van Voorhees, MD, September 01, 2014
September is etched into each of our brains. To me it carries a certain bitter-sweetness. Even those of us not a part of the ’60s scene know the song “See you in September,” and understand how the fun of the summer might take a love away. The school year restarts, the garden harvest starts to peter out, and the days get shorter and shorter. And yet, here in Philly at least, it is one of the loveliest of months...with leaves turning colors, a fresh crop of fall flowers in bloom, and the temperatures mild. As a child who spent her summers in the mountains, September allows me to return to wearing my beloved combination, sweatshirts with shorts. In a way, it’s hard not to embrace this month. Our issue this month too has a certain amount of bitter-sweetness. I suspect that you’ll agree.
Let’s start with our piece this month on network narrowing. The lawyers who guide our Academy have authored this piece, and I am so glad to be able to provide it to you. They lay out suggestions for steps to consider if you are terminated from an insurance plan. The lawyers encourage any of us terminated in this way to consider challenging the decision. A termination can impact your hospital privileges and your ability to participate in other insurance plans and can even be reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank, depending on the reason. So its power to bite is even greater than the loss of the patients from that insurance plan. I’m glad that the Academy is part of the class action suit to fight network narrowing. Narrowing is not good for patients or us. This is a great piece, so please read it.
Our feature on difficulties of EHR is also a good one. For those of you who still work with paper and pen, you’ll enjoy snickering as you read this one. For the rest of us who type away, this is the new reality. It all sounds so ideal during the presentations when talking to vendors and seeing a demo. The reality, though, is that the quality of the training, the frequency (or lack) of upgrades, and the ability of the templates to be customized makes all the difference. We need to embrace the idea that, in addition to everything else we need to do, we need to be continually educated about our EHR. Uggh! Hopefully, though, this piece will help us all be more sophisticated consumers of this technology and avoid the worst pitfalls. At the least, take comfort in knowing that you are not the only one thinking about this and suffering!
Medispas is a topic that can get many of us pretty jazzed. Jeff Dover, MD, describes the issue as a “lack of oversight, education, knowledge, and judgment.” He goes on to say that “If one of those is missing, there’s a potential problem. If all four of those are missing, you’re just asking for trouble.” A few states are beginning to be active in overseeing medispas. See if your state is amongst them. And do be sure to look at the list of cautions if you are involved with a spa or even thinking it might be a haven as we struggle with narrowing networks and other hassles...I’d hate to think that some of us might jump from the pan into the fire.
So you ask, what is sweet about this month’s pieces which speak to our many hassles? It is my enthusiasm for the pieces on these issues! I hope that you feel that we have tackled topics that are helpful to you with practical suggestions and guidance. September, it is both good and sort of sad...at least, here’s to sleeping with the windows open.
Enjoy your reading!