Use Your Skills to Enrich the Debate

Science is facts; just as houses are made of stone, so is science made of facts; but a pile of stones is not a house, and a collection of facts is not necessarily science. Jules Henri Poincaré (1854-1912), French mathematician

Recently I was reminded that we often take our basic science skills for granted and how extremely valuable they truly are. Last week, on New Hampshire Public Radio's The Exchange, Tom Sherman, MD, a gastroenterologist and state representative from Rye, NH, spoke with clarity and reason to bring a scientific lens to the Medicaid expansion debate. (Listen to broadcast.)

There is a Seasonality to our Work

For me as a family physician, my seasonal work  includes, school and sports physicals in the summer, flu shots in the fall and winter and attention to problems associated with allergy in the spring. Similarly NHMS has seasonal priorities and now is our time to be active legislatively. We don't do this often but over the past few weeks we have asked you to speak out on an issue of importance to all of us. Thank you for taking time from your busy schedules to contact your legislators asking them to support the tobacco tax increase. Your calls will make a difference as the Senate and House negotiate the final budget.

It's Not Over Yet

A resident I taught a few years ago told me that he should only have to tell his patients once to stop smoking. He thought that his patients would quit if he simply laid out a logical argument -- and any patient would be foolish to not follow his advice. I trust that a few years in practice has helped him understand that behavior change is much harder than that.

Helping Our Patients Kick the Habit

In addition to advocating for a tobacco tax here in New Hampshire, which will help people quit and prevent many children from starting in the first place, I've been looking for ways to enhance our clinical success in helping our patients quit smoking.  NHMS member Hilary Alvarez, MD, a NH Dartmouth Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine resident in Concord, recently introduced me to a smoking cessation resource that shows promise: automated mobile phone messaging.   

Cigarette Tax - Call Your Senator Today!

As you may recall, increasing the New Hampshire tobacco tax has been a key legislative priority for NHMS this session.  Governor Hassan and the New Hampshire House included an important $0.30/pack increase in the state budget bill.  With this level of increase we can expect 4,000 adults to quit; even more children will not start smoking in the first place; $24 million in new money will support the state budget; and the state will realize $1 million in direct health care savings.

 

What Can You Buy for $40 Billion a Year

It isn't news that we are in a budget crisis or that our leaders in Washington are looking at ways to reduce spending, but how they are planning to do this is worthy of our attention.  AMNews reported last week that President Obama's 2014 budget blueprint aims to cut $400 billion from healthcare over the next 10 years.  AMNews link: Click here

N.H.'s Prescription Monitoring Program - An Update

New Hampshire became the 49th state to adopt a prescription monitoring program (PMP) when then-Gov. John Lynch signed SB 286 into law in June 2012.

The PMP law requires pharmacists to report data when dispensing class II, III or IV controlled drugs.  That data will allow prescribers to electronically query the PMP before writing a prescription for a controlled drug for a particular patient.  The new program will help all physicians, not just emergency physicians, to appropriately prescribe controlled drugs without fear of over- or under-prescribing these substances.

When Traumatic Events Unfold...

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Fred Rogers  Since the tragic events of Monday's bombing at the Boston Marathon there has been a tremendous outpouring of emotions and I was particularly moved by the above quote that is making the rounds on Facebook and twitter.  Perhaps this resonated with me because I grew up watching Mr.

The Importance of Fellowship...

In 1791, Josiah Bartlett and 23 others doctors came together to enjoy each other’s company and to be the vanguard for our sacred profession... and the NHMS was born!   They spent much of the first century of our existence setting standards for professional conduct, emphasizing scientific rigor, and building membership.  Perhaps most important to them was fellowship with other doctors – as evidenced by always meeting in taverns.

Transparency Revisited - A Follow-up to My March 13th Note

Following my March 13th piece about Our Role in Price Transparency, I received a number of responses from our members that warrant sharing with you:

  

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