Physician Practice Roundup—More doctors certify in obesity medicine; Future CMS policies to consider burden on small, rural practices

Doctors talking
A record number of doctors have become board certified in obesity medicine. (Getty/wmiami)

More doctors become certified in obesity medicine

As the number of Americans struggling with their weight increase, a record number of doctors have become board certified in obesity medicine.

Some 583 doctors, a 28% increase over the previous year, passed a board certification exam administered in February and March 2018, according to the American Board of Obesity Medicine. That makes obesity medicine one of the fastest growing fields in medicine, the group said.

“The rapid growth of obesity medicine certification highlights the fact that physicians now recognize they need tools to help treat the many patients they see with obesity,” said ABOM Executive Director Dana Brittan.

More than 2,650 doctors in the United States and Canada have become certified to treat patients with obesity problems. Obesity affects nearly 40% of U.S. adults and contributes to a variety of health problems. (ABOM announcement)

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to consider future policies through 'rural lens'

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services launched its first "Rural Health Strategy" on Tuesday—an effort, officials said, to better consider the rural impact as part of the of the agency's work.

The strategy, which highlights tactics such as improving access to telemedicine, is meant to avoid unintended consequences of policy and program implementation in rural health settings, officials said.

“Through its implementation and our continued stakeholder engagement, this strategy will enhance the positive impacts CMS policies have on beneficiaries who live in rural areas," said CMS Administrator Seema Verma in a statement. (Fierce Healthcare)

3 Veterans Affairs healthcare providers indicted on conspiracy, fraud charges

Three healthcare providers, including a doctor, nurse practitioner and physical therapist, were indicted by a federal grand jury in South Carolina on charges of conspiracy and healthcare fraud.

The three worked for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and were indicted on charges they excessively used biotech MiMedx Group’s products on patients after accepting meals, trips, and gratuities from the company. They were charged with conspiracy, bribery of public officials and witnesses and acts affecting a personal financial interest.

According to the indictment they improperly took thousands of dollars from the company from 2012 to 2016 after they cultivated relationships with MiMedx sales representatives. The doctor and nurse practitioner also participated in speaking engagements aimed at increasing sales of the company's products to VA facilities. (Reuters report, U.S. attorney’s office announcement)

Doctors, nurses share emotional stories via Twitter

Got a story to tell? Lots of medical professionals do and are sharing stories of inspiration and heartbreak via a Twitter thread that’s gone viral.

The thread was started by Esther Choo, M.D., an associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Oregon Health & Science University, who tweeted a story about a patient’s recovery. She wrote that her patient had been dead for 20 minutes when she and others inexplicably were able to revive him. “He calls me every year on the anniversary. 10 years now,” she wrote, ending with the hashtag #ShareAStoryInOneTweet.

Since Choo’s initial tweet late last week, other medical professionals have posted their own stories in just 280 characters. Grab a tissue and get inspired. (Health.com)