These Web-Based Medical Apps Make House Calls

Think you might have bronchitis, a sinus infection,  or other non-life threatening illness and can’t wait for an appointment with your regular doctor?  Not sure if you should go to the ER?  Have travel plans and worried if you should fly?  Then these online medical-care sites and mobile apps might be your answer. The sites help patients and doctors converse through smartphones, tablets and computers.  In fact, the U.S. telehealth patient population is expected to grow six-fold to 1.3 million …

GlaxoSmithKline Ends Payments to Doctors

Pharmaceutical companies make lots of money and spend lots of money, including lavish payments to doctors for consulting; expenses-paid conferences, cruises and other events for doctors; and bonuses for sales reps who exceed sales targets, even if that means pitching a drug for uses the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved. Over the past three years, the investigative journalists at the nonprofit ProPublica, along with its news media partners, have been writing about these practices in the series Dollars for Doctors …

Is Your Hospital in Medicare’s Penalty Box?

Is your hospital being penalized for providing care that falls short of what Medicare thinks it should be? Measures range from nighttime noise to following basic clinical standards of care. If so, your hospital isn’t alone. Some 1,451 hospitals nationwide are being paid a little bit less for each patient they treat in the second year of Medicare’s “quality incentive” program, compared with 1,231 hospitals that will be paid more, according to Kaiser Health News. Here are the hospitals at …

Meet the Medicare Fraud-Fighters

For many older Americans, Medicare has been a life-saver – literally. And, over its 47-year-old history, the government health care initiative has allowed countless more Americans to lived longer and healthier lives. That’s the good news. The not-so-good? Some doctors, pharmacies and other providers try to steal from Medicare by overbilling or submitting fraudulent charges for reimbursement. >> Sign up for the AARP Money newsletter That’s where the Medicare Fraud Strike Force (don’t you just love that name?) comes in. …

The Maverick Doctor Who Helped to Invent Family Medicine

In the late 1950s, a young physician named Gene Farley was working as a small-town doctor in rural New York state when he came to the realization that what he had learned in medical school was all wrong. >> Sign up for the AARP Leisure Newsletter Farley, who died on Nov. 8 at age 86 in Wisconsin, explained in a 1992 oral history interview that his change in thinking came about as he was treating two teenage boys from different families …

More Doctors Accepting New Medicare Patients

It’s getting easier – not more difficult – to find doctors who take Medicare, according to a new study by the Department of Health and Human Services. Doctors have long complained about Medicare’s payment caps and the instability of a reimbursement system that forces cuts each year unless Congress intervenes to prevent them. Nonetheless, the HHS study says that the number of physicians accepting new Medicare patients is actually higher than the number taking new private insurance patients, according to …