Green Goes Mainstream

Sustainable medicine, once the passion of fringe physicians, has become a popular, responsible way to practice. Proponents are finding it's not only good for the environment, it's good for business.

By David Goodman | Feature Articles | September/October 2008

 

Sustainable Medicine: Going green—good for you, business, and the environment

Sustainable Medicine: Going green—good for you, business, and the environment

Lawrence Rosen, MD, was “a fairly conventional pediatrician” when he finished his residency and began practicing medicine in New Jersey about a decade ago. But his years of training at Mt. Sinai Medical School did not quite prepare him for what he encountered in his new practice. “I started to realize pretty quickly that there were many children with chronic health care illnesses who were not being served well by conventional medicine. I was seeing an increase in developmental disorders like ADHD and autism, rising rates of asthma and allergies. I felt inadequate to care for these kids with the conventional tools I had.”

Rosen’s search for solutions that would help his patients and their families led him to look at how the environment was affecting children’s health. He quickly came to an unsettling realization: he was part of the problem. The health-care system itself often has a negative impact on the environment. How to deal with all this? That’s when Rosen discovered the world of sustainable, or green, medicine. more »

 

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Hail to the Chief

Young physicians who lead their medical staffs sometimes fall into the role and others seek it. Regardless, they juggle clinical and administrative tasks and grow as they serve their colleagues and hospitals.

By Anayat Durrani | Feature Articles | September/October 2008

 

Ramsey Hasan, MD, at 37, is the youngest chief of staff in the history of Hawaii-based Castle Medical Center. "For younger physicians it's a very challenging role," he says. "As chief of staff you are expected to be the glue between the different departments and to become a great communicator."

Ramsey Hasan, MD, at 37, is the youngest chief of staff in the history of Hawaii-based Castle Medical Center. "For younger physicians it's a very challenging role," he says. "As chief of staff you are expected to be the glue between the different departments and to become a great communicator."

Throughout his career Ramsey Hasan, MD, has often been told he looked too young to be a physician. While he’s no Doogie Howser, Hasan holds an early accomplishment that would probably get a professional nod from the child prodigy doctor. Lining the halls of Hawaii-based Castle Medical Center are photographs of all the chiefs of staff who have served the hospital. Standing out among the gray-haired former chiefs is a boyish Hasan, the current—and youngest—chief of staff in the history of the hospital.

The role of chief of staff is one many doctors aspire to later in their professional careers, but anecdotally it seems doctors are stepping into it before they reach the age of 40. For Hasan, who specializes in emergency medicine, becoming chief at the age of 37 was never really on the agenda. He sort of fell into it.

“No. Never thought about it,” says Hasan. “Somebody recommended me as a nominee, and I said yes. I had no plans to run.”

There were multiple people in the running for chief at Castle in 2004, and along the way some people dropped out. In the end it was down to Hasan and a surgeon in his 50s. Once elected, Hasan served the customary two years as vice chief of staff, during which time he “learned the ropes” and then began his two-year term as chief of staff in January 2007.

“It’s at times a popularity contest, but it’s also ability and experience,” says Hasan of the election process. more »

 

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Rethinking Asset Protection

The most effective ways to minimize financial risks over the long term may be surprising

By David B. Mandell, JD, MBA and Jason M. O'Dell, CWM | Legal Matters | September/October 2008

 

Too many physicians over the last decade have sought cookie-cutter asset protection plans to give them some “peace of mind” that if they ever endure an outrageous malpractice case, they won’t lose everything. While we admire these doctors’ commitment to pro-actively managing their risk, we have to remind doctors we speak with that all “asset protection plans” are not created equal. In fact, many will not even work if they ever are relied on. Why is this? Essentially, it is because of a basic tenet of asset protection: that any asset protection plan that will truly stand up if challenged must have economic substance. Taken a step further, superior asset protection planning would involve tools that are primarily used by people for non-asset protection purposes. In this way, the best asset protection plan involves tools typically not thought of as “asset protection tools.” In other words, “the best asset protection is not asset protection.” more »

 

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Leading the Way

Leadership does not necessarily come naturally; these key points will help anyone's ability

By Judy Capko | Practical Management | September/October 2008

 

Being an effective leader is critical for physicians as well as managers. This includes employed physicians as well as physician owners. Staff looks to the physicians for support and guidance. It’s a fact—and it affects whether staff is motivated, productive, and happy on the job!

I was recently brought into a practice where there was dissention among the employees and turnover was at an all-time high. There were a number of reasons for this, but one pointed directly at a physician that joined this three physician practice two years earlier.

Dr. Clueless had a lot to learn about dealing with staff and understanding how important it was for him to set an example. Here are just a few of the things he did that quickly demoralized this staff: more »

 

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Where Expectations Meet Frustration

Physicians wonder: what has happened to focusing the practice of medicine on patient care?

By Pamela McKemmie | Remarks | September/October 2008 | Your Voice

 

“Give the practice of medicine back to the physician.”

“Get rid of lawyers, HMO, Managed Care Medicine and federal regulations.”

“Eliminate the hassles of getting reimbursed for an honest day’s work.”

“Malpractice issues—stop [the] practice of defensive medicine.”

“Free medicine of the stranglehold that the insurance industry has on reimbursement and practice styles.”

These are just a few of the more-than-2,000 open-ended comments we received in summer 2007 when we asked physicians what one thing they would change about practicing medicine if given the chance. more »

 

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Upper Valley Area, NH – New England Gem

The Upper Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont offers diverse employment and pace of life

By Lisa Rogak | Live & Practice | September/October 2008

 

Looking down onto Quechee Gorge (known as Vermont's Little Grand Canyon) from Vermont's oldest standing steel arch bridge on Route 4, which spans the 165-foot chasm.

Looking down onto Quechee Gorge (known as Vermont's Little Grand Canyon) from Vermont's oldest standing steel arch bridge on Route 4, which spans the 165-foot chasm.

Simply put, most people who live in the Upper Valley area of New Hampshire and Vermont consider themselves to be thoroughly spoiled. The region is rich in everything you’d ever want: small-town life, lots of four-season outdoor activities—summer’s hiking trails become winter’s cross-country skiing trails—a surfeit of culture, great food, unique shopping possibilities, intellectual stimulation, and last but not least, friendly people. Quaint little towns and old-fashioned general stores dot the region, heralding a view to a bygone agricultural era that’s still alive and kicking.

The towns that make up the core of the Upper Valley—Hanover, Lebanon, Lyme, and Enfield on the New Hampshire side, and Norwich, Hartford/White River Junction, Thetford, and Hartland in Vermont—vary widely in terms of real estate, culture and population. For instance, Hanover is home to many Dartmouth College professors, so there’s a real intellectual air that permeates the town, but come fall weekends, football fever predictably reigns. Though it’s right next door, Lebanon has more of a melting-pot feel to it demographically speaking. It’s also the one town in the region with the most national retail chains, on Route 12A in West Lebanon, which parallels the Connecticut River. Lyme boasts to numerous horse farms and second homeowners while Enfield is generally regarded as suburban. more »

 

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Physician Compensation Remains Flat

Although finiancial growth is typically a medical career goal, gains have barely registered since 2003.

By UO Staff | September/October 2008 | Vital Stats

 

Specialty physicians’ overall compensation remained flat in 2007, (increasing just 0.31 percent, adjusted for inflation, or 3.16 percent without inflation) according to the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) Physician Compensation and Production Survey: 2008 Report Based on 2007 Data. Among specialists, invasive cardiologists’ compensation declined (0.18 percent loss) even before inflation. However, noninvasive cardiologists’ compensation increased 11.72 percent. Compensation for EM physicians and hem/onc also failed to keep up with inflation. more »

 

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Women Physicians Lack Equality

While the number of women physicians practicing in the U.S. has grown, their salaries lag behind their male peers’

By UO Staff | September/October 2008 | Vital Stats

 

According to the American Medical Association (AMA), the number of women in medicine has grown by roughly 140 percent in the past three decades. But in an early 2008 report to the AMA Board of Trustees on “Gender Disparities in Physician Income and Advancement,” AMA Chairman Edward L. Langston reported that despite the growing numbers of women in medicine, female physicians consistently lag behind their male counterparts in professional advancement and annual compensation. more »

 

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Wanted: Rural Physicians

Looking for an opportunity that provides great experience, quality of life, and financial benefits? Consider branching out to a rural practice.

By Tim Skinner | Remarks | September/October 2008

 

You don’t have to have a rural background to consider rural practice opportunities: There are many reasons to consider living and practicing in rural communities. Primary care  physicians, surgeons, and other medical professionals provide quality health care to those living outside larger communities and many small communities, are actively recruiting.  There are advantages and disadvantages in living in smaller communities, just as there are in larger cities. However, when you’d have to drive around on your way to the office just to  finish a cup of coffee in the morning versus a 45-minute “white knuckle” commute—well, think about it. Shorter commutes mean more time with family or for recreation. more »

 

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Leaders and Followers

By Mollie Vento Hudson, Editor | Editor's Note | September/October 2008

 

Mollie Vento Hudson, Editor

Mollie Vento Hudson, Editor

By the time this issue arrives in your mailbox, we’ll be just a few weary weeks from the presidential elections. It’s a no-brainer, of course, that by then we will have been battered and  beleaguered by countless television spots from John McCain and Barack Obama, each claiming he will be the better leader for our troubled country.

Regardless of which candidate you believe to be more presidential, history has taught us that leaders can rise to power under a number of circumstances. They can be elected—democratically chosen by the people—as we enjoy. They can take power violently by overthrowing the previous government. They can lead by the force of personality, whether  positive—as Martin Luther King, Jr.—or negative—as Adolf Hitler. And although there are always people in positions of authority, that doesn’t necessarily equate to leadership. more »

 

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