Toss out the term "family practice." Outdated, inexact and now inoperative, it no longer will be used to describe those doctors who primarily engage in comprehensive healthcare for families and individuals of all ages, according to a new edict from the supersensitive American Academy of Family Physicians.
At its annual conference earlier this month in New Orleans, the association's 120-member Congress of Delegates decided to change the name of this specialty, or discipline, to "family medicine," a term believed to more accurately reflect the role these doctors play in the U.S. healthcare system. It also will help avoid any possible confusion with other healthcare "practitioners."
"While it may be semantics to some, perception is everything," Patricia Lindholm, a family medicine doctor from Minnesota and an alternate delegate for the Leawood, Kansas-based association, decried in the heat of a debate over the issue. "I specialize in family medicine. If our own colleagues in medicine don't understand that we're specialists, I don't think our patients can either."
The association (known until 1971 as the American Academy of General Practice) also banned forevermore the use of "family practitioner" to describe a family physician or the general specialty of family medicine.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has done quite a bit of downsizing of late, and now he wants to make his effort an inspiration for others across the country.
The Republican governor hasn't just been cutting money from the state budget, he also has been dropping weight, 75 pounds to date, through a diet and exercise regimen. The work has paid off in more than just a slimmer Huckabee. A diabetic for the past year, the governor's blood sugar and cholesterol ratings are now within normal, healthy levels.
He is so enthusiastic about his new appearance that he has rededicated his administration to promoting health and wellness across the state, in part to reduce the healthcare costs associated with obesity and inactivity.
"I know dozens of people who have started a weight-loss program and have come to me and said, 'You've inspired me,' " Huckabee told the Associated Press. "It makes me feel terrific."
He said last week that he wants to meet with state officials to discuss strategies to make Arkansans healthier. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta recently ranked Arkansas third nationally in the percentage of residents considered obese.
Legendary's the word
HCA couldn't buy publicity like this. And it didn't even have to try.
Jeffrey Rodengen approached the Nashville-based chain looking for cooperation as he put together his book, The Legend of HCA, and many associated with the company, including co-founder Thomas Frist Jr., were generous with their time, Rodengen says.
Rodengen said he got the idea while doing interviews for another book, about heart surgeons. "In my interviews with the leading surgeons around the world," Rodengen says, "a number of them pointed out how unusual HCA was as a hospital group, what an amazing organization they were."
That little mess in 1997, when federal investigators raided nearly 30 hospitals and other facilities operated by the then-Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., the investigation that saw HCA pay fines totaling a record $1.7 billion? Rodengen says it was "some amount of detour" in the company's history, and he adds that it is prominently featured in the book, which Outliers has not yet viewed.
The coffee-table book, according to publisher Write Stuff Enterprises, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., features 166 photos over its 144 pages. Write Stuff says "its mission is to bring to life, in full-color, coffee-table-style books, the compelling stories of the great corporations, associations and institutions that have revolutionized the world around us."
Like, say, HealthSouth Corp.? Yep. Last year, Write Stuff published Rodengen's The Story of HealthSouth. But Rodengen didn't seem eager to talk about the Birmingham, Ala., company that is now engulfed in a massive accounting scandal. "We were done with it before any revelations of bookkeeping anomalies surfaced," he says. Before that, he adds, the largest rehabilitation provider "had a very special place in the American healthcare environment. It had a lot of celebrity quality about it."
Will appointments run on time?
Saving lives is hardly a new claim for most hospitals, but how many can brag that they resuscitated a clinically dead train station? After sitting in decay for more than 25 years, the former Union Station in Bethlehem, Pa., has found new life as a satellite for St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network.
A stop in its heyday for both the Lehigh Valley and Reading railroads, the train station, which has been christened St. Luke's Union Station, offers one-stop shopping for internal medicine, pediatrics, rehabilitation services, and specialty, surgical and wound care. A dental clinic soon will open as well in the 24,882-square-foot building. The original glazed brick and some marble floors were saved while a tile wall fountain was restored.
The hospital system is leasing the site from a developer that purchased and renovated the former passenger station, spending $4.5 million on the restoration. The city of Bethlehem extended a street to the station, and the county kicked in $700,000 for the public parking lot.