January 2012

Illustration by David Cutler

Lawmakers try to ‘script’ what doctors say

State legislatures are drafting laws that would mandate what doctors tell their patients about culturally controversial topics such as abortion or guns in the home, or even purely clinical issues such as breast cancer and tissue density. How involved should politicians be in the exam room?.

Antidepressants no easy fix in primary care

Is depression on the rise, or just the prescriptions for it? Primary care is poised to play a bigger role in mental health care, and that puts an educational burden on internists to learn the proper role of medications.

Polypill gets approval, fenofibric acid gets label change

Recalls, warnings, approvals and other regulatory news.

Framing risks, benefits perilous for physicians and patients

A new column debuts, outlining how physicians can properly frame risks and benefits of treatments so patients can make the best medical decisions for themselves. In this column, risk calculators are explained so the “number needed to treat” isn't so murky to a woman considering statins.

Medical professionalism faces new challenges, opportunities

Ten years later, a physician charter challenges doctors to accept commitments to professional competence, improved quality and access to care, and professionalism in conduct.

Super fail: Congress sets new low for ineffectiveness

An attempt at political compromise failed, even when the consequences were so sever as to guarantee some type of success. The pressure will only increase in an election year, threatening physician payments, cuts to critical health programs and services, and no end in sight for a solution.

The politics of health care

What could state legislation mean to physicians as they discuss culturally controversial but clinically important issues with patients?.

Letters to the Editor

Readers respond: EMRs and physician incomes.

Fee schedule updates, penalties explained for 2012

The first of a two-part series outlines changes to the fee schedule update, values for observation services, electronic prescribing and annual wellness visits, including chart-by-chart breakdowns for relative value units.

EHR training is mission critical

Don't skimp on the raining when it comes to implementing an electronic health record system in a practice or facility. Basic functionality may require two weeks, and advanced functions may require another week to learn.

Information plus documentation a must for informed consent

Documentation of informed consent is an important deterrent to malpractice and negligence claims. One physician describes how his informed consent process was the deciding factor in a missed case of prostate cancer, and outlines how any physician can accomplish it.

Hopes and fears abound at National Bundled Payment Summit

Expansion of bundled payments to chronic disease treatment for internists would be complicated, but it's garnering interest. Demonstration projects show that hospitals that reduced the cost of care were able to pay physicians up to an extra 25% of what they would normally earn for their services.

MKSAP Quiz: 6-week history of dyspnea, cough

A 64-year-old woman is evaluated for a 6-week history of dyspnea, dry cough, fever, chills, night sweats, and fatigue, which have not responded to treatment with azithromycin and levofloxacin; she has lost 2.2 kg (5 lb) during that time. Based upon the findings of a physical exam and chest radiograph, what is the most likely diagnosis?.

Call for fall 2012 Board of Governors resolutions

The Governance Committee of ACP places in nomination a list of candidates.


A list of former ACP leaders who have passed.