Month: May 2015

A New “Pay for Performance” Plan for Public School Teachers

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My oldest son is almost a second grader.

He attends a public elementary school in town, and very soon, he will start preparing for an exam known as the STAAR test.

The STAAR test is an “assessment of academic readiness.” In my state, it gets administered to publicly-funded school children. Students must pass the exam to continue progressing in school, and ultimately, students must master the Exit Level test to graduate high school.

There’s good and bad with standardized testing, and I’m not going to debate that point today. Instead, I’m going to tell you about a new proposal involving public school teachers.

Imagine, just for a moment, that we decided to pay our school teachers differently next Fall. It’s an intriguing idea, so bear with me. In fact, let’s pay school teachers based solely upon the scores their students achieve on the STAAR test.

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America’s Epidemic of “Less is More” in Medicine

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Dr. Atul Gawande is an American surgeon and public health extraordinaire. He is one of the most successful physician authors of this century, and he writes routinely for The New Yorker. His most recent article discussing unnecessary healthcare is, as expected, a good read.

I applaud Dr. Gawande’s passion towards advancing medicine. And, yes, there is universal agreement that we need to be better in America at providing high-quality low-cost healthcare. There just remains disagreement on what our biggest obstacles are, and how they should be overcome.

I agree with Dr. Gawande on some things, but after reading his most recent opinion piece, I must caution you about several medical inaccuracies found within it.

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Using Technology to Move Backwards

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There is a new protocol at the local hospital.

I see it as another one of these “moving in reverse” schemes. The protocol relates to how I admit patients directly from my clinic to the hospital.

I’ll simplify it for you. You are a patient seeing me in my outpatient clinic. I evaluate you and make the decision that you need to go to the hospital. Maybe, your symptoms are concerning for an impending heart attack, but for whatever reason, I need to admit you to the hospital.

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When Dining Out Becomes Like Healthcare

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This article was written by Dr. Megan E. Lewis Grotefend, MD, and first appeared online here. The article is being re-posted simply because it is brilliant.

Imagine going to your favorite restaurant.

You are greeted at the door by the hostess, who seats you and takes your drink order. You order through your favorite waiter, Andrew, who recommends the special of the day: prime rib with a dinner salad and a chocolate torte for dessert. Soon after, the food is brought out and it is delicious!  You have time to enjoy your food. You then receive the bill and pay for your meal, returning to your home satisfied, all your dining needs met.

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