Understanding the Opioid Epidemic with Dan Ciccarone

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The opioid epidemic is the greatest public health crisis of our time. It is estimated that about 64,000 people died of opioid overdoses in 2016 – more than died in the Vietnam war or in 1 year at the height of the AIDs epidemic. Dan Ciccarone, our guest this week, and a Professor at UCSF School of Medicine, has spent his career trying to improve our understanding of substance use disorders and their health consequences. He and his collaborators look at this question both up-close, through ethnographic research in the community, and hours and hours of interviews with people who use injection drugs, and also by stepping back and sifting through huge datasets, looking at the larger epidemiologic and economic forces shaping the epidemic. He has spent years studying heroin specifically, and is currently the PI of the Heroin in Transitions study, which continues this vital work.

We talk specifically about a study led by one of his collaborators, Dr. Sarah Mars, “Every ‘Never’ I Ever Said Came True”: Transitions from opioid pills to heroin injecting; his group’s study of trends in hospitalizations and what that tells us about the epidemic in a 2013 Plos One publication, Intertwined Epidemics: National Demographic Trends in Hospitalizations for Heroin- and Opioid-Related Overdoses, 1993–2009. We also discuss his recent look at some of the larger factors influencing the epidemic with collaborators Nabarun Dasgupta and Leo Belitsky in Opioid Crisis: No Easy Fix to Its Social and Economic Determinants.

You can find more information about the book Dr. Ciccarone mentioned, Dreamland by Sam Quinones, here. And you can find the American Society for Addiction Medicine’s waiver training here.

If you enjoyed the show, please give us 5 stars wherever you listen. Tweet us your thoughts @RoSpodcast and leave us a message on our facebook page at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems. Or, you can email me at audreyATrospod.org. We’d love to hear from you, and thanks for listening.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity. Photo courtesy of Dr. Ciccarone.

Journal Club Lightning Round: evidence based policy and vaccine rates, municipal non-health spending and health rankings, and is less really more?

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For this week’s journal club, David, Thomas, and Audrey bring listeners short overviews of three articles. Audrey discusses an article published in the journal Pediatrics Dec 18 2017, called Exemptions from Mandatory Immunization After Legally Mandated Parental Counseling by Saad Omer, Kristen Allen, DH Chang, Beryl Guterman, Robert Bednarczyk, Alex Jordan, Alison Buttenheim, Malia Jones, Claire Hannan, Patricia deHart, and Daniel Salmon. David chats about the Dec 14, 2017 commentary published in New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Lisa Rosenbaum entitled The Less is More Crusade – Are we Overmedicalizing or Oversimplifying. And Thomas shares a Health Affairs article, Government spending health and nonhealth sectors associated with improvement in county health rankings, published in their November 2016 issue.

If you enjoy the show, please give us 5 stars wherever you listen. Tweet us your thoughts @RoSpodcast and leave us a message on our facebook page at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems. Or, you can email me at audrey@rospod.org. We’d love to hear from you, and thanks for listening.

Reprise – Population Health Management with Dave Chokshi

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This week, we are joined by Dave Chokshi. Dave is the Chief Population Health Officer of OneCity Health and Senior Assistant Vice President at New York City Health + Hospitals—the largest public health care system in the U.S. He practices primary care at Bellevue Hospital and is a Clinical Associate Professor of Population Health and Medicine at the NYU School of Medicine.

We talk about what population health is, how it is distinct from public health, and what value it adds to our healthcare system. We also talk about how in some ways it might contribute to the erosion of relationships between primary care providers and patients, how that can be remedied, and how the small 1 or 2 doctor practice may fit into a population health management vision. We talk about a piece he wrote with Neil Calman and Diane Hauser about what they call the “expanded denominator,” and how that may further goals of public health and accountable care. Lastly, we talk about population health approaches in urban and rural settings, and how we should think about the opioid epidemic from a population health vantage point.

We reference a few articles throughout our conversation: Christine Sinsky’s already classic Annals paper detailing that physicians spend two hours on administrative tasks for every hour they see patients, and our journal club on that paper. Robin Williams’ and colleagues Health Affairs blog on utilizing the HIV cascade of care to battle the opioid epidemic, and Lawrence Casalino and colleagues work calculating what we spend measuring the care we provide. In addition, we reference the Surgeon General Vivek Murthy’s landmark report on addiction.

A quick note about a word we use frequently but didn’t pause to define for listeners – attribution. Attribution is the assignment of a specific patient to a specific primary care physician in a health system. Once a patient is attributed to a PCP or health system, that PCP and health system is held accountable for the patient’s quality measures and healthcare costs within ACOs or other alternative payment contracts. This still applies patients who do not frequently access the healthcare system through traditional channels or most frequently see specialists, who perhaps have never seen the assigned PCP, and is therefore at times controversial.

A little more background on Dr. Dave Chokshi: He was Assistant Vice President of Ambulatory Care Transformation at NYC Health + Hospitals and director of Population Health Improvement at NYU School of Medicine. In 2012-13, he served as a White House Fellow at the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, where he was the principal health advisor in the Office of the Secretary. His prior work experience spans the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, including positions with the New York City and State Departments of Health, the Louisiana Department of Health, a startup clinical software company, and the nonprofit Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, where he was a founding member of the Board of Directors.

If you enjoy the show, please rate and review us wherever you listen, and share us on social media. Tweet us your thoughts @rospodcast and check out our facebook page at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems. Or, you can email me at audreyATrospod.org. We’d love to hear from you, and thanks for listening.

Understanding how to return joy to practice with Christine Sinsky

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In order to make primary care better, we have to understand what is working and what isn’t – and not just in broad strokes, but in granular detail. Dr. Christine Sinsky is on the cutting edge of this type of research, and publishes prolifically on what is driving burnout in primary care, what specific steps we can take to fix it, and how to return joy to practice. Dr. Sinsky is the VP of Professional Satisfaction at the AMA and has practiced as a general internist for 30 years in Dubuque, Iowa. We talk about her landmark work with Tom Bodenheimer, which introduced the idea of the quadruple aim in 2013, how new EHR metrics can improve how we deliver care and improve the experience of caregivers and patients, and the extent of the burnout crisis in medicine at large, not just primary care. You can find the call for research that Dr. Sinksy referenced and collaborated on with Dr. Lotte Dyrbye and other leaders in this field here. We previously featured one of Dr. Sinksy’s publications, which showed that physicians spend about 2 hours doing clerical work for every 1 hour they see patients in a journal club, which you can find here.

If you enjoyed the show, please give us 5 stars wherever you listen. Tweet us your thoughts @RoSpodcast and leave us a message on our facebook page at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems. Or, you can email me at audrey@rospod.org. We’d love to hear from you, and thanks for listening.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity. Photo courtesy of Christine Sinsky.

Our Oral Health Crisis with Mary Otto, author of Teeth

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How many times have you treated a dental infection in your primary care office, or spent 10 minutes after a visit googling a dentist that takes your patient’s insurance? We’ve all done it too many times. There is an epidemic of dental disease in the United States – dental care is expensive and difficult to access. Mary Otto, a journalist, author, and our guest this week, has written a book called Teeth. In it, Mary explores the oral health crisis and explains its wide-reaching effects, such as decreased social mobility and fewer opportunities for employment; also, she talks about how oral health has become so segmented apart from the rest of the healthcare system and what can be done about it.

Click here to find more information about Mary Otto, winner of The Studs and Ida Terkel Award, which is dedicated to supporting authors who are committed to exploring aspects of American life that are not adequately represented by the mainstream media. You can find more information about Teeth here. You can find many of Mary’s articles here. You can find Dr. Satcher’s landmark report, Oral Health in America, here.

If you enjoyed the show, please give us 5 stars wherever you listen. Tweet us your thoughts @rospodcast and leave us a message on our facebook page at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems. Or, you can email me at audrey@rospod.org. We’d love to hear from you, and thanks for listening.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity. Images courtesy of Mary Otto.

A Career in Public Service & Drafting the ACA – John McDonough

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We are tremendously lucky to welcome health policy expert John McDonough as our guest this week. He has had a long and distinguished career in public service as well as a scholar and advocate. We talk about his work as a member of the MA state legislature for 13 years (discussed in his book Experiencing Politics), as well as his efforts between 2008 and 2010, when he served as a Senior Advisor on National Health Reform to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions where he worked on the development and passage of the Affordable Care Act. He wrote about his experiences during that time in Inside National Health Reform. He is now a Professor of Public Health Practice in the Department of Health Policy & Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and you can find his academic publications here, and a collection of his lay-press publications on his blog.

If you enjoy the show, please give us 5 stars wherever you listen. Tweet us your thoughts @RoSpodcast and leave us a message on our facebook page at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems. Or, you can email me at audrey@rospod.org. We’d love to hear from you, and thanks for listening.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity. Photo courtesy of John McDonough.

Reprise: Integration of Healthcare & Social Services with Lauren Taylor

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Today we’re joined by Lauren Taylor, a health services researcher based at Harvard Business School, where is she is earning her doctorate in health policy and management. Prior to joining HBS, Lauren co-authored The American Health Care Paradox, which has become required reading at a variety of medical and public health schools across the country. Our discussion spans a range of topics and should excite clinician and policymaker listeners alike, especially those interested in addressing upstream factors that affect health in our American society.

We start with reviewing the initial research paper that lay the groundwork for her book and what other countries show us about how government spending on social services can affect health outcomes, as well as what she learned interviewing caregivers and social services workers in the US.  We also talk on how American sociopolitical factors influence our discourse on the distribution and allocation of resources as well as how research is done in her field. We discuss whether health systems are moving in the right direction addressing social determinants of health through ACOs, why management gets overlooked and undervalued as a key ingredient in healthcare delivery, and why it’s just so hard to get all of this right.

Lauren’s work focuses on organizational theory and strategy in health care, with a particular emphasis on the integration of health and social services. She holds a BA in the History of Medicine and a Master in Public Health from Yale University. She has also worked as a health care chaplain and studied ethics as a Presidential Scholar at Harvard’s Divinity School.

If you like the show, please subscribe on our website www.rospod.org, and rate us on iTunes and Stitcher and share us on social media. Get in touch via twitter @RoSpodcast or drop us a line at contact@rospod.org. Thanks for listening!

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Frederick Chen – Teaching Health Centers

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Teaching health centers (THCs) are primary care residency training sites in community-based organizations, often in federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), in contrast to traditional tertiary care hospital-based training. Federal funding for the THC program, created by the ACA in 2010 and renewed through MACRA in 2015, is set to expire on September 30, 2017.

THCs may be a key part in solving the primary care workforce shortage, so we talked with Dr. Frederick Chen, Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Washington and a recent senior advisor to HRSA’s Bureau of Health Professions for the Teaching Health Center program.

We review flaws in traditional methods of funding graduate medical education in the US (2:50) then discuss Freddy’s research (8:15) showing that residents trained in FQHCs are 3-4 times more likely to go work in underserved settings. He also describes the key factors in creating community health center-family medicine residency partnership (12:20). Freddy’s work led to the THC graduate medical education program, an innovative federal policy that aims to increase access to primary care where it is needed the most, and we talk about some of the early lessons since its inception (18:50). You can also find the controversial 2014 Institute of Medicine report mentioned by Freddy in our conversation here.  Finally, Freddy shares about how his academic career led him to help shape national health policy (23:07).

Listen at the end of the episode for a promo code to receive 15% off registration fees for an upcoming conference from the Harvard Center for Primary Care: Primary Care in 2020 – Future Challenges, Tips for Today.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Dave Chokshi – Population Health Management

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This week, we are joined by Dave Chokshi. Dave is the Chief Population Health Officer of OneCity Health and Senior Assistant Vice President at New York City Health + Hospitals—the largest public health care system in the U.S. He practices primary care at Bellevue Hospital and is a Clinical Associate Professor of Population Health and Medicine at the NYU School of Medicine.

We talk about what population health is, how it is distinct from public health, and what value it adds to our healthcare system. We also talk about how in some ways it might contribute to the erosion of relationships between primary care providers and patients, how that can be remedied, and how the small 1 or 2 doctor practice may fit into a population health management vision. We talk about a piece he wrote with Neil Calman and Diane Hauser about what they call the “expanded denominator,” and how that may further goals of public health and accountable care. Lastly, we talk about population health approaches in urban and rural settings, and how we should think about the opioid epidemic from a population health vantage point.

We reference a few articles throughout our conversation: Christine Sinsky’s already classic Annals paper detailing that physicians spend two hours on administrative tasks for every hour they see patients, and our journal club on that paper. Robin Williams’ and colleagues Health Affairs blog on utilizing the HIV cascade of care to battle the opioid epidemic, and Lawrence Casalino and colleagues work calculating what we spend measuring the care we provide. In addition, we reference the Surgeon General Vivek Murthy’s landmark report on addiction.

A quick note about a word we use frequently but didn’t pause to define for listeners – attribution. Attribution is the assignment of a specific patient to a specific primary care physician in a health system. Once a patient is attributed to a PCP or health system, that PCP and health system is held accountable for the patient’s quality measures and healthcare costs within ACOs or other alternative payment contracts. This still applies patients who do not frequently access the healthcare system through traditional channels or most frequently see specialists, who perhaps have never seen the assigned PCP, and is therefore at times controversial.

A little more background on Dr. Dave Chokshi: He was Assistant Vice President of Ambulatory Care Transformation at NYC Health + Hospitals and director of Population Health Improvement at NYU School of Medicine. In 2012-13, he served as a White House Fellow at the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, where he was the principal health advisor in the Office of the Secretary. His prior work experience spans the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, including positions with the New York City and State Departments of Health, the Louisiana Department of Health, a startup clinical software company, and the nonprofit Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, where he was a founding member of the Board of Directors.

If you enjoy the show, please rate and review us wherever you listen, and share us on social media. Tweet us your thoughts @rospodcast and check out our facebook page at www.facebook.com/reviewofsystems. Or, you can email me at audreyATrospod.org. We’d love to hear from you, and thanks for listening.

Joshua Freeman – Designing a Fair & Equitable Healthcare System

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Dr. Joshua Freeman is a family physician, health policy researcher, social justice activist, and writer.  He publishes a widely-read blog, “Medicine and Social Justice”, and in 2015 published a book, Health, Medicine and Justice: Designing a fair and equitable healthcare system (Copernicus Healthcare press), which is available on Amazon and other sites, in both softcover and electronic versions.

This week, Thomas Kim chats with Dr. Freeman about some of the major themes of the book: why the US health care system fails to produce a healthy population, the role of profit in American medicine, why he uses social justice to frame his analyses and commentary, and how the American health care system could become more primary care-centered.

Dr. Freeman is Professor Emeritus at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, where he served as the Alice M. Patterson MD and Harold L. Patterson MD Professor and Chair of the Department of Family Medicine from 2002-2016, and was also Professor in the Departments of Preventive Medicine and Public Health and of Health Policy and Management. He was a Fulbright Scholar in São Paulo, Brazil in 2003 and served nationally as Treasurer of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine and the Association of Departments of Family Medicine. He received STFM’s highest honor, the Recognition Award, in 2006. He served as a member of the board of trustees of Roosevelt University in Chicago, as assistant editor of the journal Family Medicine, and also on the board of Southwest Boulevard Family Health Center in Kansas City, KS.

Dr. Freeman is a graduate of the Loyola-Stritch School of Medicine, family medicine residency at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, and faculty development fellowship and Preventive Medicine residency at the University of Arizona.

This interview was lightly edited for clarity.