Monday, April 19, 2010

The Fast Moving U of M Administration

is Lapped by the Federal Government

From the Star-Tribune:

Buried deep within the massive health care overhaul passed by Congress are tough new laws that will soon shine a much-needed light on physicians' lucrative financial ties to industry.

The Sunshine provisions, long championed by Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, deal with the myriad consulting arrangements, speaking fees, trips, dinners and other gifts -- dubbed "transfers of value" in industry jargon -- provided to doctors at clinics large and small across the nation.

The Sunshine reforms are an overdue dose of medicine to make providers and industry more accountable to the public.

The financial ties between physicians and the medical device industry are also significant. Last year, a letter from [US Senator] Grassley's office to the University of Minnesota revealed that Dr. David Polly, a faculty surgeon, had received about $1.2 million from Medtronic from 2003 to 2007.

Soon patients will be able to weigh their doctors' outside income and decide for themselves. Beginning in September 2013, payment information will be available nationally in a searchable online database run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

A number of medical organizations are ahead of the curve in disclosing payment information. For more than a year, St. Louis Park-based Park Nicollet Health Services has listed on its website payments made to medical staff.


Congratulations to (former) U of M med school Dean Deborah Powll, current Dean Frank Cerra, President Robert Bruininks, and other administrators at the U of M for evading their responsibilities in this matter.

Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

The foot dragging at the U of M in this matter has been truly disgusting. It is sad, indeed, that we should be reluctant followers, rather than in the forefront of this much needed reform.

Looking back at this situation is truly depressing. For just one pitiful example, please see the exchange between our current medical school dean, Dr. Frank Cerra, and me at a faculty forum:

And the angels wept.

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