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Medical office buildings buffered from real estate slide

Medical office buildings are turning out to be a bright spot in an otherwise dismal real estate market. "There are a lot of great investment opportunities out there," said Steven Brezny, MD, a family physician in Powell, Ohio, who put in an offer this month on a 4,500-square-foot office building he intends to use as a new home for his practice. The medical office building market has long been characterized by stability rather than extreme highs or lows. In a world where flat is the new up, that is attracting a lot of attention from physicians as well as more traditional real estate investors. For instance, a pair of papers published in the May 4 and May 25 Industry Insights, issued by the investment banking firm Cain Brothers, said now is a good time for health systems to sell real estate assets if they need cash. For buyers, these types of investments were less risky than they had been in the past. "We do think the timing is still good," said Tim Schier, author of one of t ...

Physicians question Obama in White House town hall

Washington President Obama fielded questions about health reform from several physicians, including the newly inaugurated president of the American Medical Association, during a June 24 televised town hall meeting at the White House ( "When you spoke to us last week, you said that we entered the medical profession not to be bean counters, not to be paper pushers, but to be healers. And we totally agree," said AMA President J. James Rohack, MD, referencing Obama's June 15 address at the AMA Annual Meeting. "How are you going to assure the American public that medical decisions will still be between the patient and the physician, and not some bureaucracy that will make decisions on cost and not really what the patient needs?" Obama replied by mounting another defense of his controversial proposal to offer a national public plan insurance option that will c ...

GE Healthcare/CDC partnership would link public health alerts to EMRs

GE Healthcare, a subsidiary of General Electric Co., announced in April its involvement in two separate partnerships aimed at connecting physicians. One, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Public Health Informatics, is meant to develop a project that will demonstrate the capability for physicians to receive public health alerts in a patient- and situation-specific way, at the point of care. Currently, physicians get public health alerts via fax or e-mails or on the CDC Web site. But if the project takes off as planned, physicians would receive alerts within their electronic medical records as they are applicable to cases. Charles Safran, MD, chief of clinical computing at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and a senior scientist for the CDC, said the success of the project will depend on the adoption rates of electronic medical records. "But there is value to the country today from changing the model from broadcast to targeted ...