Health Wonk Review #20

Health Wonk Review #20

Welcome to the 20th edition of the Health Wonk Review, which has really established itself since the last time I hosted. There’s plenty of good, solid stuff in this edition, (though nothing as titillating as the Sex, With Wires and Cables and Batteries post I led off Grand Rounds with.)

Electoral fallout

It’s been two weeks since the mid-term elections, and Democrats and Republicans are starting to get used to the new reality. Timothy Westmoreland, writing for the Democrats on the Health Affairs Blog, says health policy will be under “watchful care” for the first time this century, while Republican Bill Roper has become a sudden convert to bipartisanship.

Joe Paduda at Managed Care Matters expects no real change for the pharma industry from the new Congress but says managed care firms may feel the heat.

Meanwhile, Marcus Newberry of Fixin’ Healthcare wants individual members of Congress to uplift the “mood and spirit of the nation” by showing how they pursue healthy lifestyles. Fat chance of that.


Roy Poses of Health Care Renewal takes the Annals of Internal Medicine to task for publishing a pitch for pay for performance by someone who appears to be a professor at Columbia’s school of public health but is actually the chairman and former CEO of a major health plan.

Fred Trotter of GPL Medicine excoriates open source software company Medsphere for suing Medsphere’s founders for releasing the company’s code.

Joe Paduda highlights two New York Times articles on pharma economics and policy that contradict one another. If you take the Times too seriously (which I don’t) you might believe that while governments around the world negotiate drug prices successfully, the US government wouldn’t be capable of doing so.

An InsureBlog commenter thinks “the media” has stirred up a health care crisis where none exists. Horrors!

Kaiser Permanente’s epic Epic implementation may be in trouble. HIStalk interviews KP employee Justen Deal, who set off the current brouhaha with a mass email documenting the problems. Matthew Holt from The Health Care Blog interviews a KP executive who doesn’t agree with that assessment.


Healthcare Economist Jason Shafrin observes the efficiency of production line style immunizations.

Workers’ Comp Insider Tom Lynch compares the merits of three workers comp cost reports. Massachusetts (my state) has some of the lowest rates but the best benefits. Go team!

News you can use

Anxiety, Addiction and Depression Treatments reminds us that patients should be prepared to try different depression meds until they find one that works.

Wellness Tips tells us pain isn’t about tissue, “but rather the brain’s decision regarding the tissue, and sometimes that decision doesn’t make sense.”

Josh Stone at All Tips and Tricks lists 25 signs you might be a health freak, just in case you were wondering about that.


And finally we have a couple of posts about one of health care bloggers’ favorite topics: health care blogging. Dmitriy Krugylak at The Medical Blog Network reviews Dale Hunscher’s new book on blogging, and The Healthcare IT Guy (Shahid Shah), announces the HIMSS blog.

Pre-holiday appeal from your host

If you are looking for a great cause to support, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to the Hearts and Noses Hospital Clown Troupe. The Troupe sends professionally-trained volunteer clowns to visit hospitalized children. All clowns undergo a rigorous two-year training program focusing on hospital hygiene, improvisation, and connecting with sick kids and their families. The Troupe has also created a training manual and holds live training programs for those interested in starting their own troupes. Going on a gig with the clowns is one of the most moving and emotionally intense experiences I’ve had. I’ve been a board member of the Troupe for five years and I support the Troupe financially. I hope you’ll consider doing the same by donating online through the Network for Good.

Next time

The next host of the Health Wonk Review is Cato@Liberty, the official blog of the Cato Institute. Sounds pretty serious.

November 16, 2006

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