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Revised MCAT places broader expectations on students

The Medical College Admission Test is being redesigned to ensure that medical school applicants have a broad education that enables them to communicate well with patients, understand the many social and behavioral factors that affect health and ULTIMATEly become better doctors, says the Assn. of American Medical Colleges. The goal is to expand what is expected of prospective physicians, with the hope of attracting a wider variety of medical school applicants, said AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD. "We're recognizing in this test that being a good doctor is not just about understanding science, but it is also about understanding people," he said. Starting in 2015, the MCAT will include two new sections: Knowledge of psychological, social and biological foundations of behavior. Critical analysis and reasoning skills. The writing portion will be eliminated, and the overall exam time will increase to about 6½ hours. The current test takes about 4½ hours an ...

Texas doctor indicted in $375 million health care fraud scheme

The Justice Dept. has charged a Texas physician with bilking the government to the tune of nearly $375 million in what it says is the single-largest health fraud scheme exposed in the nation's history. Emergency physician Jacques Roy, MD, is accused of recruiting fake patients to sign for medical treatments he never provided, then billing Medicare and Medicaid for the care. Dr. Roy, 54, owned and operated Dallas-based Medistat Group Associates P.A., an association of health professionals that provided home health certifications and patient home visits, according to the Justice Dept. Between January 2006 and November 2011, Medistat certified more Medicare beneficiaries than any other medical practice in the country, the Justice Dept said in a statement. These certifications allegedly resulted in $350 million being billed to Medicare and more than $24 million being billed to Medicaid by Medistat and associated home health agencies for care that never was provided. "The conduct c ...

Type 1 diabetes may develop more slowly than thought

Recent data showing that type 1 diabetes progresses more slowly than formerly thought is expected to help physicians better manage the condition in their patients, according to the lead author of a recent study. Traditionally, it was believed that the production of insulin by beta cells completely ceased in people with advanced type 1 diabetes, said Denise L. Faustman, MD, PhD, director of the Immunobiology Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. But a study in the March Diabetes Care shows that the pancreas continues to function and produce insulin at some level even decades after the onset of type 1 diabetes. Dr. Faustman was lead author of the study. Determining how much insulin a diabetic patient is producing, regardless of how small an amount, will help physicians better regulate the individual's blood glucose levels and delay the potential development of medical complications, Dr. Faustman said. Such complications include cardiovascular problems, neuropat ...