“I’m a Medicare doctor. Here’s what I make”

March 15, 2012

I am certainly not negative when it comes to those who decide to go into medicine as an MD, but I will say that the decision doesn’t seem to be assurance of riches like some used to view it.


Dr. Schreiber sees 120 patients a week – 30% of them are enrolled directly in Medicare, while another 65% have private insurance plans that peg their payments on Medicare’s rates. Only 5% pay on their own.

Medicare pays between 63-72% of the costs for Schreiber’s patients.

Four billing codes make up the “bread and butter” of claims submitted to Medicare:

– The first code represents a simple visit, which might include blood pressure and cholesterol checks. Schreiber gets about $44 from Medicare for the $70 fee he charges.

– The second and third codes correspond to a sick visit, when he spends 15 to 20 minutes evaluating a patient for symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath. Schreiber charges $92 for a sick visit, of which Medicare pays about $58.

– The last billing code is a complex visit. “This is where a patient comes in with many problems like heart disease, hypertension, diabetes,” he said. Such a visit requires about 30 minutes of his time.

Schreiber charges $120 for these visits, and Medicare pays $88 of that.

“I’m a Medicare doctor. Here’s what I make”.

–Michael M.


Never Fear…

March 14, 2012


In India, oversight lacking in outsourced drug trials

March 14, 2012

So, culturally speaking, I know that “outsourcing” is a pejorative in our language; however, this kind of outsourcing is sad.


GUJARAT, India – Rambha Gajre was desperate. She and her family faced eviction from their cramped, tin-roof hut if she didn’t soon repay loans she used to cover life-saving medical treatment for her son.

So Rambha did what thousands of other desperate women and men from India’s slums, and across the world, now do to survive — she signed up to be a human guinea pig in drug trials for foreign pharmaceutical companies.

“I am helpless, I have to do this,” she said. “They don’t really force us, but I don’t have a choice.”

Read the full article and watch video from the episode  by clicking the link below.

In India, oversight lacking in outsourced drug trials.

Michael M.


New transplant method may let kidney recipients live life free of anti-rejection medication

March 13, 2012

From U of L Today:

by Jill Scoggins, HSC Communications and Marketing — last modified Mar 07, 2012 02:08 PM

New ongoing research published March 7 in the journal Science Translational Medicine suggests organ transplant recipients may not require anti-rejection medication in the future thanks to the power of stem cells, which may prove to be able to be manipulated in mismatched kidney donor and recipient pairs to allow for successful transplantation without immunosuppressive drugs.

Northwestern Medicine® and University of Louisville researchers are partnering on a clinical trial to study the use of donor stem cell infusions that have been specially engineered to “trick” the recipients’ immune system into thinking the donated organ is part of the patient’s natural self, thus gradually eliminating or reducing the need for anti-rejection medication.

Read the full story here: http://louisville.edu/uofltoday/campus-news/new-transplant-method-may-let-kidney-recipients-live-life-free-of-anti-rejection-medication

–Michael M.


Who You Gonna Call? Ghostwritting Busters!

March 12, 2012

Blech, that’s the worst blog title ever.

A couple years ago, and while I was still in my undergrad, I was approached by a Ph.D. student wondering if I would write [gender neutral pronoun] dissertation. I said there would be a time when I wouldn’t want to write my own, so I didn’t want to ruin the experience. This article is a bit worse in my book, but it’s timely enough as my ethical research class just finished talking about ghostwriting…


Critics Respond to Dismissal of Ghostwriting Accusations

Some bioethics experts are criticizing Penn’s dismissal of the research misconduct charges levied by a psychiatry professor against two of his colleagues in the department.

Last July, professor Jay Amsterdam alleged that a paper published in 2001 under the names of Psychiatry Department Chair Dwight Evans, professor Laszlo Gyulai and three researchers unaffiliated with Penn had actually been ghostwritten by a company hired by the manufacturer of the drug that the paper was examining.

A faculty inquiry committee convened by the Perelman School of Medicine concluded that “there was no plagiarism and no merit to the allegations of research misconduct,” according to a statement released earlier this month.

“While current Perelman School of Medicine policy and journal practice call for acknowledgment of the assistance of a medical writer,” the statement read, “the committee concluded that guidelines in place in 2001 did not.”

Eric Campbell, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School who studies physician conflict of interest, said it “seems very disingenuous” to dismiss the charges of ghostwriting simply because there were no official rules at the time.

“People in academics know it’s not okay,” he said. “Do you think a student would have been let off? If students know, faculty should know … It’s against the basic tenets of science.”

This article first appeared in The Daily Pennsylvanian (03/11/2012)

Read the full story here:



Michael M.


Suck on this: Thank You Campus Health!

March 9, 2012

–Michael M.


Who is Joseph Kony? Invisable Children Want You to Know.

March 8, 2012

Do you know Joseph Kony? I don’t, or didn’t before I watched “Kony 2012.” This 30-minute film was produced by the not-for-profit group Invisible Children  to raise awareness about Kony, a Ugandan war criminal taken with destroying the lives of children by abducting them, forcing them to murder their peers and parents, sometimes deforming them physically, and, in retribution for their speaking out, killing the children themselves. I watched Piers Morgan bring the video up in an interview this week with Cindy McCain. Once I made it over to YouTube, I found that in less than 72 hours, the film had been viewed over 15 million times.

These kinds of initiatives are lightning rods for both negative and positive press, and I will admit that the video — in its own way — is a bit like the propaganda it mentions working against. With that said, it worked for me. Do your own independent internet research. You will find folks critiquing the mode and method employed by the filmmaker on both sides of the fence. But don’t miss the message of the film itself. We seem to be living in a time that can be characterized as the Facebook Revolution. And I think that is a truly awesome thing.

Michael M.