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Daily Rounds: 1.2 Million On Global Plans; Hospitals Nervously Dating; Sympathy For Psychiatry; Cyberchondria

Cost-controlled health coverage gaining ground (The Boston Globe) - "In just three years, a new way of paying for medical care has spread rapidly across Massachusetts, and now more than 1.2 million people are covered by plans that put providers on a budget in an effort to restrain health spending. This means that about one in five Massachusetts residents are being treated by doctors working under these new cost-conscious arrangements, a Globe survey of insurers found - even before state lawmakers begin debating legislation to address soaring health insurance premiums by, in part, encouraging such plans." (The Boston Globe)

Local Hospitals Warily Eyeing Mergers (wickedlocal.com) - "Lincoln - Picture the state's suburban and rural hospitals as nervous dates, seeking a stable partner in an uncertain health care world. After a wave of consolidations and new alliances last year, industry leaders say 2012 will likely bring another round of community hospitals pairing up with what they hope will be their perfect match. 'People aren't exactly speed dating, but I do think that some community hospitals feel somewhat of an urgency to identify the right partners for them to move forward in the new environment,' said Lynn Nicholas, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Hospital Association." (wickedlocal.com)

Not diseases, but categories of suffering (The New York Times) - “We’re like Cinderella’s older stepsisters,” a psychiatrist told me the other day. “We’re trying to stick our fat feet into the delicate slipper so the prince can take us to the ball. But we ain’t going to the ball right now.” Which is why we might feel a little sorry for the beleaguered A.P.A. On the other hand, given that the current edition of the D.S.M. has earned the association — which holds and tightly guards its naming rights to our pain — more than $100 million, we might want to temper our sympathy. It may not be dancing at the ball, but once every mental health worker, psychology student and forensic lawyer in the country buys the new book, it will be laughing all the way to the bank." (The New York Times — Opinionator)

Cyberchondria: The one diagnosis patients miss (amednews.com) - "People have been using the Web to find health information for more than a decade. But Dr. Lee and other physicians say they are seeing an increase in patients' worries about their health due to material they read online. The result is what is known as cyberchondria — an unfounded anxiety concerning one's wellness brought on by visiting health and medical websites...Among the most common of those self-diagnoses are fibromyalgia and lupus, which often have vague symptoms such as fatigue, fever and joint pain, Dr. Khare said." (amednews.com)

This program aired on January 28, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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