November/December 2010

Illustration by David Cutler

Marijuana requests: Relief or ‘permission’?

Fourteen states have legalized medical marijuana. Internists who have issued the controversial prescriptions describe how they sort out legitimate uses from trivial requests.

Know the patient to achieve statin benefits

That statins work is without question. And with costs falling due to many drugs in the class going generic, physicians are now refining when to prescribe the ubiquitous drug class based on the degree of risk.

Bringing health to low-income patients in the clinic and media

Erin N. Marcus, FACP, authors a practical health column directed to readers who don't have enough financial resources or access to care.

Warning about contrast agents, reviews under way on Stalevo

Recalls, warnings, approvals and other regulatory news.

Saying yes—or no—to medical marijuana

A first look at issues that aren't cut-and-dried on the surface: when to prescribe medical marijuana, and when to prescribe statins. For both issues, the devil is in the details.

Letters to the Editor

Readers take issue with recent coverage of health care reform, a profile on Cuba's health care system, and the promise that electronic health records may (or may not) have in the practice of medicine.

An international meeting highlights domestic health care

ACP's international membership has much to offer the domestic roster, and vice versa.

Would Congress cut funding for popular health care programs?

A serious bi-partisan discussion is needed to make serious decisions about health care reform.

Wisconsin clinic's patients save time by ‘rooming’ themselves

An outpatient family practice clinic tries to reduce wait times by letting patients direct themselves to open exam rooms. As a result, wait times fell by half and patient satisfaction rose to its highest levels in 11 months.

White House expert advises docs on meaningful use of EHRs

The White House's national coordinator for health information technology offers advice on implementing and using electronic health records, and specifics on the incentive program that promises more reimbursement for adopters.

CMS expands tobacco cessation counseling, focuses on audits

Developments at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will benefit those who want to quit smoking, but will also increase audit scrutiny over physician and facility claims.

Improve feedback with subspecialists

Take the time to improve communication and collaboration between your office and those to whom you refer your patients.

MKSAP Quiz: joint pain and plaque psoriasis

A 44-year-old man is evaluated for a 2-year history of joint pain in the wrists, hands, knees, ankles, and feet. He also has a 12-year-history of plaque psoriasis. There are large erythematous plaques with an overlying silvery scale on the elbows, knees, sacrum, and scalp. The wrists are swollen and warm bilaterally, and there is bilateral synovitis of the metacarpophalangeal joints. There are effusions on both knees. The appearance of the toes is shown. The patient refuses to begin therapy with tumor necrosis factor ##alpha; inhibitors because of concern about possible side effects. What is the most appropriate treatment for this patient?.