By Abby S. Van Voorhees, MD,
March 01, 2012The winds of March remind me that change is blowing in.
The days grow longer, spring seems possible, and the weather hints at a mildness to come. And while the change from winter weather can be positive (i.e., no more threat of needing to shovel in the mornings), in the rest of life, change often carries with it a certain amount of anxiety. I am struck that so many of our articles in DW this month deal with upcoming changes in dermatology too. Hopefully, understanding more about these issues will help everyone be as prepared as possible and demystify the future just a bit.
At my weekly dermatology conference I’ve lately been hearing physicians saying that private practice is breathing its last gasps. If this were a play, then we could all imagine feeling the chill winds of ACOs entering stage left as the uncomplicated world of private practice is blown off the stage. Is this the case? Two of our articles this month sleuth out the state of affairs for accountable care organizations. Fact is separated from fiction in our legal column as Daniel Shay, JD, and Alice Gosfield, JD, write about the probable numbers of ACOs expected throughout the country and address the question of whether participation for all dermatologists is inevitable. Ruth Carol, one of our contributing writers, writes about strategies for choosing an ACO if you decide to join one. Both articles review information you will want to be up on, so do yourself a favor and read them.
For those of you paying attention to the national elections, learning more about the status of the Massachusetts health reform is also a must-read. Health reform is certainly going to remain a front-stage issue for all of our candidates. I thought you’d find it interesting to review the experience of our colleagues in Massachusetts over these past several years. As is often the case it seems that the winds have blown both good and bad. For example, must be nice to not need to try to figure out how to care for those without health insurance; however, falling payments and fewer payers are not so good. Take a look and see how the specialists in the state grade the reforms.
And then there are two articles about new changes that are arriving which herald much promise for dermatology. Be sure to read our piece on the exciting new skin cancer therapies as well as the interview with Emmanuella Guenova, MD, on a potential new understanding of pyoderma gangrenosum. Sort of like the warmer weather…hard to not be excited to see these new developments coming our way. Maybe we should all ask this month’s Balance in Practice contributor, Naomi Lawrence, MD, to sing about it when we see her in San Diego! And by the way, please do stop me in the halls of the convention center and let me know your thoughts on DW. We value your comments and appreciate your suggestions.
Enjoy your reading.