Briefly Noted

There’s a lack of definitive information about the possible benefit or harm of screening for oral cancer, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force finds, so the panel refuses to recommend for or against such screening. Cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and HPV are the most common causes of oral cancer. The panel reviewed several studies that looked at the effect of oral cancer screening and found a wide range of accuracy rates…. Hospital-physician group consolidation is something we’ve been following ( and so, apparently, has the Federal Trade Commission. Recruiter Jackson Healthcare surveyed hospital executives and found that 54 percent are interested in acquiring family practices. The FTC is looking more into whether these deals violate antitrust laws, reports…. Walgreens has begun diagnosing and treating patients with chronic conditions including asthma, diabetes, and high cholesterol — the first of the retail clinic chains to step this far into primary care territory. Some who represent primary care physicians look with wariness on the move. “It ends up being riskier for patients and costlier for the country,” Jeffrey Cain, MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, tells Kaiser Health News…. Those primary care physicians, you may have heard, are in great demand. If the Affordable Care Act had not happened, an aging population with fewer medical school students choosing primary care would have ensured a PCP shortage. The millions who will gain insurance coverage under the ACA just exacerbates the problem. In response, Quinnipiac University in Connecticut is opening the Frank H. Netter School of Medicine with a very specific mission in mind: the education of new PCPs. Other PCP-focused schools are in the works around the country.

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