A New Term

This past weekend, the New Hampshire Medical Society voted in a new slate of officers, and I am honored to be approved as your 182nd president.  The Annual Scientific Conference, held at the Mountain View Grand Resort, was the largest attended conference ever, with great lectures, energy and camaraderie.  It even snowed!  This year I hope to continue the excellent work of Dr. Harker and the previous 180 presidents who have represented physicians in New Hampshire.  I plan to focus on disability issues (both physical and mental/emotional) as well as the numerous healthcare transformation topics that lay ahead.  This will be a year of challenge, but also opportunity, for medical leaders who answer the call.  I look forward to representing you and working with you.

Interesting Times

May you live in interesting times …

My term as president of the New Hampshire Medical Society concludes at the end of this week, and the year has certainly been interesting.  While health care and the practice environment continue to change rapidly, the NHMS has been there at the table representing you, working to improve care and the public’s health without altering the sacred patient-physician relationship.  I feel incredibly privileged to have served you and the society.

Be Mindful of Habits

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.   - Aristotle 

Violence and Public Health

This year I have written several times about violence and its impact on the public’s health, and last week I shared our N.H. physician survey results indicating that addressing gun violence was a priority for many of you.

We asked, you spoke!

"We live on an island surrounded by a sea of ignorance. As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." - John Archibald Wheeler, eminent American theoretical physicist

Earlier this year, NHMS conducted a survey to learn more about you, what is important to you, and what you think should be priorities for NHMS. We had a great response and learned the following:

Choice of Physician or Network?

My last two posts dealt with the new Health Insurance Exchange, or “Marketplace,” which opened yesterday, and I talked about some of the concerns with the limited options and a limited provider network. What will be the impact for 2014 for our patients and costs? I heard from several of you with your ideas and concerns and thought I would share them with you today.

 

Slower Growth in Healthcare Spending and Lower Insurance Rates on the Exchange

I was struck by two articles this week about healthcare expenditures and costs. The first, in this week’s Health Affairs, details the various trends and components for measuring our nation’s healthcare expenditures. The authors attribute the slower growth to several factors, including the sluggish economy and greater out-of-pocket expenses for those covered by commercial insurers. The growth in national health spending was 3.9% in 2012 and an estimate of less than 4% in 2013.

New Hampshire's Limited Network......

This week I’d like us to consider the new Health Insurance Marketplace in New Hampshire. You may have heard that only one insurer decided to participate and so, for now, the marketplace is limited in carriers and the one carrier has a limited network. Anthem will have 11 lines and will release details of the plans later this week, sharing representative examples of the rates people will pay.

Recognizing When Thanks are Due

  * Second Contoocook bartender diagnosed with hepatitis A"  Concord Monitor 8/31/2013

We Need to Do Better

Last week New Hampshire lost two young university women to suspected Ecstasy or MDMA overdoses.  We offer our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of these women.  Such tragedies highlight the problems we face of drug use and addiction in New Hampshire and serve as a call to action to do all we can to prevent the physical and emotional harm that result from substance use and abuse.

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