Saturday, December 24, 2011

On Defensive Medical Practice: Patients' Compensation System (PCS)- a proposed bill to replace medical malpractice litigation system

Dear Dr. Uko-Abasi,
It goes without saying that physicians are the lifeblood of our business. Every day we talk to you on the phone about your work, and we understand the pressures you face and frustrations you experience. We wouldn't be good at what we do if we didn't care deeply about matters that affect your professional lives. We understand the pressure you feel each work day as you balance your patients' needs with the constant threat of litigation.
After listening to so many of you describe your dissatisfaction with medical malpractice over the years, we realize that the system is broken – it doesn't work for doctors or patients. That is why we're endorsing a new and exciting proposal from our parent company, Jackson Healthcare.
In a continuation of their efforts to expose the truth about defensive medicine and advocate for change, Jackson Healthcare is announcing the formation of a new nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the creation of a Patients' Compensation System (PCS): a no-fault, state-driven system modeled after the workers' compensation system.
This system would revolutionize malpractice litigation. It would free physicians from the pressure of being personally financially liable for medical errors.
Please find out about a proposed PCS bill in a letter from Rick Jackson, the Chairman and CEO of Jackson Healthcare, our parent company.
We are excited to share this proposal with you, and we hope you will choose to get involved and share this information with your colleagues.

Click here to read the letter.

Warm regards,
R. Shane Jackson

Manage my email preferences, LLC

2655 Northwinds Parkway Alpharetta, GA 30009 USA
Call toll free 866.347.0857

Friday, December 9, 2011

Defensive medicine practices could signal a new ‘norm’ in the climate of fear

Defensive medicine practices could signal a new ‘norm’ in the climate of fear

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Case for Universal Health Insurance in the U.S

In 2000, the World Health Organization health systems rankings placed our health system at the 37th position among national health care delivery systems. The world's health authority used five performance indicators in doing the assessment: overall level of population health; health inequalities (or disparities) within the population; overall level of health system responsiveness (a combination of patient satisfaction and how well the system acts); distribution of responsiveness within the population (how well people of varying economic status find that they are served by the health system); and the distribution of the health system's financial burden within the population (who pays the costs)(1).

Currently, it is estimated that 45 million Americans lack health care insurance, hence unable to access care when they need it.This has contributed to the low ranking. While the U.K spending  just 6% of her GDP on health, is at the 18th position, the U.S is spending 16% to achieve this rating. There should be no reason why the superpower nation should leave 45 million of its population without health care insurance! It could be likened to a whole country having no access to health care!

While President Obama's health care reforms which has attracted the ire of the affluent is a step in the right direction, it is my sincere opinion that the superpower owes its citizens universal access to health care.

 1. World Health Organization Assesses the World's Health Systems.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

5 Servings of Fruits and Vegetables

The CDC explains that fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that may help protect a person from chronic diseases (1). The American Cancer Society (ACS) says that these essential vitamins minerals and oxidants in fruits and vegetables help prevent cancer (2). Such cancers include breast, prostate, esophageal, stomach, colon and rectal cancers (3). Many weight loss programs also recommend substituting calories from carbohydrates with fruits and vegetables. It is interesting to know that we have a Fruits and Vegetable Council which works to ensure that each state, territory, and the District of Columbia have one person designated as the Fruit and Vegetable Nutrition Coordinator(3).

Just how affordable is eating  the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables recommended by health authorities such as DHHS, USDA, the American Cancer Society, physicians and nurses? In some states like Tennessee, the WIC program which provides supplemental foods to low-income women, infants, and children at nutritional risk (4), has included fruits and vegetables cash vouchers to ensure women/children eat fruits and vegetables. This is good (but leaves out men!). The Food Stamp program should also use fruits and vegies vouchers to recipients.

According to a February 2011 study report, USDA Economic Research Service, researchers  found that, in 2008, an adult on a 2,000- calorie diet could satisfy recommendations for vegetable and fruit consumption in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (amounts and variety) at an average price of $2 to $2.50 per day, or approximately 50 cents per edible cup equivalent(5).

A new research report on WebMD actually recommends 8 servings(6)! We’re all urged to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, but new research finds eight servings may be needed to cut the risk of dying from heart disease.The research on the diet and lifestyles of more than 300,000 people across eight countries in Europe found that people who ate at least eight portions of fruits and vegetables a day had a 22% lower risk of dying from heart disease than those who ate three portions a day. Each additional portion in fruits and vegetables was linked to a 4% lower risk of death.

Exactly how much is a serving? The ACS has the following explanations to help.

  • ½ cup of fruit
  • 1 medium piece of fruit
  • ¼ cup of dried fruit
  • ½ cup (4 ounces) of 100% fruit or vegetable juice
  • 1 cup of leafy vegetables
  • ½ cup of cooked or raw vegetables
Trying to visualize the serving sizes? This may help:
  • 1 medium apple or orange = the size of a tennis ball
  • 1 cup vegetables or fruit = the size of a baseball
  • 1 medium potato = the size of a computer mouse
  • 1 cup of lettuce = 4 leaves

The CDC has an interesting and useful interactive tool called “analyze my plate”, which enables one to calculate meal portions and calorie. This can be found at
The CDC also has a tool for calculating the amount of fruits and vegetables a person needs using age, sex and activity level (
The USDA has a similar tool “Myplate” .


1.       Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among Adults --- United States, 2005.

4.     Ephraim Leibtag and Aylin Kumcu.  The WIC Fruit and Vegetable Cash Voucher: Does Regional Price Variation Affect Buying Power? Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-75) 21 pp, May 2011.

5. Hayden Stewart, Jeffrey Hyman, Jean C. Buzby, Elizabeth Frazão, and Andrea Carlson. How Much Do Fruits and Vegetables Cost? Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-71) 37 pp, February 2011.

                                6. Tim Locke. 5-a-Day ‘Not Enough’ Fruits and Vegetables. WebMD Health News


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Get your flu shot today!

"Got my flu shot today and it didn't hurt! If you hate the needle, the nasal spray option is available and I guarantee you this doesn't hurt! My kids were happy to choose this option! They cried all the way to the Pediatrician's office but came back very excited and happy! They told me to get the shot instead. Get your kids protected too! ...and, you know what? My wife took the shot first!"

Monday, October 31, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Electronic Residency Application Service(ERAS): TIME FOR CHANGE

Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 5:06 PM

Dear ERAS Applicant,

As you know, the NRMP and ERAS have been experiencing technical difficulties
which adversely affected the delivery of our services today. .. 
The above is the response to telephone complaint following repeated frustrations trying to log in for the "scramble ". I had changed networks 4 times under the impression it was a network issue or problems with my computers but nothing worked for an extremely time -sensitive process -ERAS Scramble! I tried several times to reach ERAS on phone and but nothing worked! It was not until about 3 hours later that ERAS emailed me a list of programs!
I truly believe the ERAS process is due for CHANGE!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Residency Process: Graduation Year Discrimination Petition

Dear friends, I wanted to let you know about a new petition I created on We the People, a new feature on, and ask for your support. Will you add your name to mine? If this petition gets 25,000 signatures by November 25, 2011, the White House will review it and respond! We the People allows anyone to create and sign petitions asking the Obama Administration to take action on a range of issues. If a petition gets enough support, the Obama Administration will issue an official response. You can view and sign the petition here: Here's some more information about this petition: Stop year of graduation cut offs for medical residency interviews and positions imposed by residency programs.
Dear President Obama, I hereby petition you stop the discrimination upon residency applicants by residency programs based on year of graduation. While the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates(ECFMG) which organizes the United States Medical Licensing Examinations(USMLE) places no limitations on year of graduation as a criterion for taking the prescribed examinations for physician-certification in the United States, which process qualifies medical school graduates for medical residency in our nation, it has been the practice of program directors to place graduation year cut offs as a selection criterion for invitation for residency interviews and subsequent positions. This is discrimination and an injustice in our nation. The ERAS process is due for change. Ema Uko-Abasi,MD

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Medical Issues: U.S Residency Process: Time for Change

Medical Issues: U.S Residency Process: Time for Change

U.S Residency Process: Time for Change

About two weeks ago, I wrote about the residency process within the US graduate medical education and suggested an alternative General Practice/Primary Care Pathway to decongest the system and utilize the vast number of IMGs stuck in the system. I would like to inform readers that I have presented the residency issue to President Obama and my constituency Congressman, Dianne Black. I have also written the Letters Editor, New York Times. I believe setting graduation year cut offs by residency programs in the absence of a lack of such by ECFMG which runs the certification exams and ERAS which runs the yearly residency application process, is not the right thing to do. It is discrimination and cannot be allowed to continue in a liberal polity such as ours in the United States. It is not right to be denied an opportunity despite meeting the requirements for such, otherwise the ECFMG, ERAS and NRMP are deceptive and fraudulent in their operations for financial gains from IMGs. Last week, a program denied me an interview opportunity on year of graduation despite my passing the Step 3 examination and currently in my final year at an MPH program. I have been informed of friends who have had to exit the system because of this problem.This  oppression must stop.
If IMGs are being discriminated against, why allow them to sit for the required exams?

Sometime ago, only IMGs were required to take the USMLE exams until an Asian physician fought and won the case, which set both the U.S trained and IMGs at par, requiring the locally trained to also take the same examination. I wish to use this medium to request for your support in whatever way you can. I would appreciate should you know an IMG that has been so discriminated against, to contact me via you.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

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Friday, October 7, 2011

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Medicare Cut

There is a general concern about Medicare Cut, and in some places, outright protest. I just watched a group of concerned citizens in Tennessee protesting the cut on Fox news. I believe it is time for us to upgrade public health outfit to assist in providing care for our senior citizens. If public health clinic are equipped to render preventive care to our senior, that would scale down the demand on Medicare, instead of outright privatization of care, which makes it more expensive on our tax bill.

I also suggest a change in the residency process from mandatory 3 year training to an alternative Primary Care pathway which allows medical graduates enter supervised preventive care/primary care with the government for at least 2 years on passing the state medical board exams to help render preventive care to our seniors, following which they can seek to enter specialty training which is a very rigorous process. It is not wise to let med graduates stagnate in the system with $250,000 student loans debt demanding to be paid back but the residency process dictating the life of such med graduate.

Thirdly,I suggest Partnership Building for Medicare in which large business enterprises  team up with the government to build up Medicare with tax concessions as an of appreciation.

Let's know your suggestions/solutions.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Residency: Time for Change

I believe it is really time to change the residency process, and indeed the ERAS- ochestrated procedure into a more acceptable mode of entering residency training. Ideally, I suggest a departure from the current status quo to the creation of an alternative of Primary Care/General Practice Pathway separate from specialty training requirement. This will assist in feeding Primary Care which is currently facing severe shortage of physicians. The requirement for this pathway should be satisfying the requirements of the USMLE Step 3 examination and subsequent supervised practice for the first year leading to a full Primary Care/General Practice licensing. Attainment of this licensing would then qualify physicians for specialty training, which can have its own set of requirements.
I would also decry the discrimination against residency applicants by programs based on year of graduation from medical school since there no such limitation by ECFMG/USMLE, ERAS and NRMP.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Nurse Job Opportunities

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

U.S Residency Process

The residency process in the U.S is quite a rigorous one that sometimes requires repeat applications.There is the problem of programs preferring graduation from med school within 5 years!.ERAS application fees to programs are increased every year, making it harder on applicants. While the ECFMG has not set limits on year of graduation for getting certified through the USMLE exams, how justified are programs that limit candidates with number of years post graduation? And how justified are ERAS annual increases on fees?