Past Letters

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

I recently met with former CEOs of prepaid group practices (PGPs) that were part of the early years (1984-2000) of the HMO Group—now the Alliance of Community Health Plans—a coalition of not-for-profit, pre-paid group practices. (I was the first president and CEO.) One of the most notable accomplishments of this alliance back then was the... Read more »

Hold on to Your Heart

The following is a commencement speech given by ABIM Foundation President and CEO, Richard Baron, MD, at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School’s 2014 graduation ceremony. “Your institution has ceded to me the last 15 minutes of your medical school instruction – how should I use it? One more time through the complement cascade?... Read more »

Malpractice and Choosing Wisely®: Lessons From My Hometown

I recently spoke to several health system/hospital quality experts and physician groups in Upstate New York about the Choosing Wisely campaign. I was looking forward to speaking about the campaign to a hometown crowd (I was born and raised in Syracuse) and an audience that included my former next-door neighbor, the regional president of Excellus.... Read more »

In Response To: Are Docs Choosing Wisely?

On April 15th Jordan Rau of Kaiser Health News published a thoughtful article examining the Choosing Wisely campaign. This type of analysis is a critical part of the transparent, honest dialogue about the issues of unnecessary medical care that we have sought to encourage since launching the campaign. That said, we think it is unfortunately... Read more »

It’s About the Conversation

There is an interesting conversation taking place around Choosing Wisely® and a recent JAMA study by Pearson and Gliwa. It’s heartening to see that the campaign is doing what it was always meant to do – spark conversation. In their study, Gliwa and Pearson sought to “evaluate the role that evidence on benefits, risks, and... Read more »

Response to JAMA Internal Medicine Commentary

The Choosing Wisely campaign was recently criticized for lacking a solid methodological approach in an editorial in JAMA Internal Medicine by Deborah Grady, Rita Redberg and William Mallon. As such, we wanted to clarify the procedures that all of our specialty society partners have followed in creating their recommendations of tests and treatments that physicians... Read more »

Response to New England Journal of Medicine Choosing Wisely® Article

I thought the authors of the recent New England Journal of Medicine article, “Choosing Wisely — The Politics and Economics of Labeling Low-Value Services” presented the campaign in a thoughtful and balanced manner. On one hand, I was pleased with how the campaign was depicted—particularly the authors’ praise for the way it carefully created a... Read more »

Choosing Wisely®: A Stunning Moment

Every time I am invited to speak about the Choosing Wisely campaign, I ask the audience to raise their hands if they have witnessed or heard of unnecessary care delivered to patients, themselves and/or their family members. Usually, about three-quarters of them raise their hands. I then ask if they have witnessed or heard of... Read more »

Trust and Conflicts of Interest

I have been thinking a lot about the “trust” that needs to exist between the public and institutions, and what the repercussions of losing that trust are. After the Enron scandal, public trust was lost in corporations and the accounting industry (which in turn had a negative effect on the financial markets). To ensure the... Read more »

An Unexpected Reaction to Choosing Wisely® List at #ASTRO2013

I had the honor of speaking at the American Society for Radiation Oncology’s (ASTRO) annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia on September 23. One of the goals of my session was to announce ASTRO’s Choosing Wisely list of five tests and procedures that patient and physicians should question. Actually, Michael Steinberg, MD, chair of the board... Read more »