Addressing the importance of nursing ethics

Johns Hopkins published A Blueprint for 21st Century Nursing Ethics: Report of the National Nursing Summit, with the goal of guiding an evolving health care system. As health care changes, the authors of the blueprint would like to see its culture “more strongly support basic ethical values and principles and more effectively enable nurses’ ethical practice.” Among the recommendations are that more intentional work be done to address ethical practices of nurses, and that recognition be given to the significance of moral distress in the daily lives of nurses. The report was prepared by Johns Hopkins’ Berman Institute of Bioethics and the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.

Imbalance of pay in primary, specialty care

Family physicians spend an average of 20 minutes with patients and collect an average fee of $101.40, including co-pays, according to research published in the American Journal of Managed Care. After observing the care and billing practices for 127 patient clinic encounters, the authors concluded that the fee collected is not high enough to attract medical students to the specialty. The authors note that primary care physicians earn a little more than half of what non-primary care physicians earn on average, and that reimbursement can be far out of whack. Medicare pays primary care $103 for a 30-minute visit and $449 for a diagnostic colonoscopy, which studies indicate take only about half the time to perform, according to the study.

Lack of skilled workers drives outsourcing moves

The workforce shortage is putting pressure on hospitals to target seven clinical services for outsourcing, given the overhead and operational costs of providing the care, according to outsourcing company MD Buyline. Included on the list are human genome sequencing, intensive care via virtual technology, intraoperative neurophysiologic monitoring, pharmacy, laser therapy, lithotripsy and radiology. The company has seen a 62 percent rise in providers’ evaluation of clinical purchasing services.