By Abby S. Van Voorhees, MD, June 03, 2013
I always look forward to June — that month when the days become their longest. It may be my penchant to want to cram too much into each and every day that makes this so appealing. So nice to see the daylight when leaving the office after a late-running clinic. Walks after dinner become possible even on the country roads near my home. And then there are the countless weddings that always seem to be plentiful during this month. Don’t know about in your world, but there’s been a rash of diamond rings flashing amongst those I know. Diamonds clearly are thought of by many as the most perfect stone.
How about the biologics? Are the versions that we have the most perfect? To some of my patients, these medications have been life-changing. The coming of the biosimilars is going to rock the pharmaceutical world — the potential for equal efficacy at a lower cost would certainly be a big help to patients. So the question becomes, will the biosimilars offer patients a similar therapeutic outcome? How thoroughly will they be tested to ensure safety to our patients? How effective will they be? Will they behave like real diamonds, or will they be more like cubic zirconia? I know that you’ll want to read our piece on these upcoming medications. The future is practically here.
New regulations are hitting us from all sides of late; just take a look at our piece on the new Sunshine Act rules. Transparency will reign in medicine with this new legislation in place. As our colleague Stephen Webster says, the importance of ethical standards in medicine is not a new concept. It was first written about by Thomas Percival in 1803. Perfect this legislation is not, and the fear is that it will be easy for the public to misunderstand this information. But perfect or not, it is here. Our patients will be able to learn about our potential conflicts if they choose to check. With potential penalties of up to one million dollars, you need to be aware of this regulation.
I also want to call your attention to our piece on the details of the revised HIPAA regulations. So many new rules have come down the pike in the past few years, and so it is hard to believe that we are already seeing revised versions. However, the new rules have been issued, and it is imperative that we all be savvy about complying.
Two of our other columns deal with the types of vexing issues we all wrangle with in our practices: when to use the 25 modifier and what to do to prevent the dreaded call that there was no biopsy specimen in the bottle when it reached the path lab. Both pieces get down to specifics on how to handle these situations. In both cases there are several good suggestions to implement. I trust that you’ll agree.
Hope that your summer is beginning uneventfully. I’ll have a few days of R and R to visit with my family and take in the sparkling sea. Hope that your schedule includes something equally lovely.
Enjoy your reading.