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Exam room disclosure: Nonphysicians must be clearly ID’d, states say

In Utah, a billboard advertisement showed a nurse practitioner dressed in a white coat with a stethoscope. The caption read, “I make house calls,” and the woman had the abbreviation “Dr.” before her name. In Mississippi, some physicians wanting to ensure appropriate follow-up care for discharged hospital patients have struggled to find those patients’ primary care physicians. The people who patients said were their doctors were not listed in the state’s physician directory because they were mid-level health professionals, not physicians. Such examples demonstrate how patients can be confused about the credentials of health care professionals, say supporters of the American Medical Association’s Truth in Advertising campaign. Since the campaign launched three years ago, 25 states have introduced legislation aimed at curtailing such confusion. Laws have been enacted in 12 of those states. “Patients deserve transparency in health care,” said AMA Board of Trustee ...

Doctors follow own advice for healthy living

U.S. physicians are healthier and have better health habits than nurses and the general adult population, according to an Oct. 3 Gallup report. An analysis of data from the Gallup Healthways Physical Health Index and Healthy Behaviors Index found that physicians are about half as likely as nurses and other workers to be obese. They are five times less likely than the general employed population to smoke, said Elizabeth Mendes, Gallup deputy managing editor. “Both obesity and smoking pose significant health risks, so that physicians — who are on the front lines in helping address such issues — are setting a relatively good example is good news,” she said. The report encompassed surveys conducted between Jan. 2, 2011, and Aug. 31, 2012, with 1,984 physicians and 7,166 nurses. To gauge physical health, respondents were measured on 18 factors, including the number of sick days they took in the past month, their energy levels, health issues and body mass index. To examine t ...

Hospitals seeking to hire doctors who “play well with others”

Most hospital systems that have or are developing accountable care organizations say the new structure is affecting the way they hire physicians. Seventy-eight percent of 105 hiring executives said they wanted doctors who were team-oriented, 68% were looking for physicians who were motivated by quality incentives, and 65% sought doctors who were technologically savvy, according to a report released Oct. 2 by the Medicus Firm, a physician recruiter based in Dallas and Atlanta. They’re asking for the skills in part because hospitals don’t believe all their physicians have them: 58% said between zero and half their physician staff were a good fit for ACOs. “There are certain personality attributes and characteristics that, unless it was for a physician leadership position, I don’t think most places have really asked for before,” said Jim Stone, president of the Medicus Firm. ACOs are becoming an increasingly common way of attempting to control costs and increase quality ...