Expectations Disease

There are a few things from residency training that resonated so profoundly for me that they permeate everything I have done since. I will never forget my first delivery, not because I thought I would ever deliver babies in my practice, but because of the emotional and enduring collision of medicine and nature it represented for me. And who can forget the 36-hour shifts (now extinct) that I am quick to recount for young clinicians …

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From Don’t Be Evil to Do the Right Thing: The Code of Conduct Evolution

In the year 2000, Google famously adopted the corporate code of conduct motto, Don’t Be Evil to represent its approach to both business and workplace behavior. At the time, the approach seemed sensible, but today it feels strikingly out of touch. It’s a low bar that misses the mark on one of the most pressing issues of our time: respect and freedom from harassment, at work, at home, and at play. Don’t be evil is …

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Opioid Crisis: What Next, and What’s Lurking?

It pains me to write this column. The opioid epidemic is arguably the most catastrophic and enduring public health crisis since the flu epidemic of 1918—yes, even worse than the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the ‘80s. Since 2000, over 200,000 people have died from overdoses of prescription opioids alone, another 300,000 from heroin and synthetic opioids. Now synthetic fentanyl has infiltrated the market with the most toxic opioid ever known. The overdose death curve is steepening. …

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Regulatory Creep: An Urgent Care Response

Connecticut Democrats Seek Regulations for Urgent Care Centers. When this alert hit my inbox, I must say it was a bit alarming. Whenever I see “urgent care” and “regulations” in the news it’s unsettling to say the least. I am probably not alone. The regulatory rumblings have come and gone before, but this one has me more concerned. Here’s a little background: Connecticut legislators and the state Department of Public Health (CDPH) have been interested …

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Doing the MACRA’ena—Part II

In my last column, I tried to explain the complicated math involved in calculating the potential financial impact of MACRA/MIPS on urgent care centers. I made the case for a significant return on investment for a typical urgent care with a typical mix of Medicare patients. Of course, all of the potential return depends on implementation of practical and efficient quality improvement programs that meet the measurement and reporting expectations outlined by the Centers for …

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Do the MACRA’ena?

Corny titles aside, MACRA/MIPS is creating a great deal of uncertainty and anxiety among physician practices, and urgent care centers are no exception. I have seen a lot of urgent care news sources, including this journal, referencing the latest updates from CMS (or recent articles published by other organizations), but urgent care-specific analysis is in short supply. I frequently hear colleagues say, “Medicare is such a small percent of my business, it’s just not worth …

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Faith Healer: Relieving the Burden of Control

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” I’m not usually one to quote religious text, but this excerpt from the Serenity Prayer resonates. Perhaps the most pointed and overwhelming challenge facing physicians today is the loss of control over our profession. The last three decades have seen dramatic erosion of the status, ownership, and independence of physicians. The …

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Quality Improvement: An Urgent Care Imperative

CQI – Continuous Quality Improvement: The process by which an organization identifies a problem, plans action to address the problem, implements the plan, and reviews the results for effectiveness.       In healthcare, we commit to CQI in order to affect outcomes; we focus on systems and process and how inefficiencies and lack of integration lead to undesirable outcomes. We scrutinize and identify a problem and propose a plan to change the process to improve outcomes. …

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Patient Satisfaction: The Redirection Game

In my previous column, I discussed the challenging issue of patient satisfaction and the provider behaviors that can contribute to poor service experiences. In this month’s editorial, I will pivot the discussion to the patient profiles and behaviors that can trigger negative interactions and poor service reviews. While most of us understand the importance of “customer service” in healthcare, we do not always dedicate ourselves to understanding the common traps and landmines that lead to …

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Patient Satisfaction: A Collaborative Approach

Patient satisfaction surveys have driven a contentious wedge between management and clinical teams. While management is tasked with ensuring the practice is addressing patient needs and evolving consumer demands, providers are far more concerned with doing the right thing clinically (satisfaction be damned). However, with patient expectations changing, access to care improving, and practice economics eroding, we have to find a way to bridge this issue or we will quickly find ourselves locked in counterproductive …

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