KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

WSJ: Top Spine Surgeons Reap Royalties, Medicare Bounty

The Wall Street Journal examines how the relationship between some doctors and device makers leads to big payments - often from Medicare. Meanwhile, ProPublica explores other conflict of interest issues.

The Wall Street Journal: Top Spine Surgeons Reap Royalties, Medicare Bounty
Norton Hospital in Louisville, Ky., may not be a household name nationally. But five senior spine surgeons have helped put it on the map in at least one category: From 2004 to 2008, Norton performed the third-most spinal fusions on Medicare patients in the country (Carreyrou and McGinty, 12/20).

ProPublica: Med Schools Flunk At Keeping Faculty Off Pharma Speaking Circuit
Conflict-of-interest policies have become increasingly important as academic medical centers worry that promotional talks undermine the credibility of not only the physicians giving them, but also of the institutions they represent. Yet when it comes to enforcing the policies, universities have allowed permissive interpretations and relied on the honor system (Weber and Ornstein, 12/19).

ProPublica: Drug Companies Retain Tight Control Of Physicians' Presentations
Just as academic medical centers are under pressure to tighten up their control of faculty speakers, so too, are drug companies (Ornstein and Weber, 12/19). ProPublica also explains how they got the story.

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