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New HHS Chief Reportedly Picked


Pharma exec Alex Azar could be next in line to take over as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Welcome to Practice Rounds, our weekly column exploring what's being covered in the larger world of healthcare

Azar Reported as Next HHS Sec.

Alex Azar, a pharmaceutical executive and one-time Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), is reportedly in line to be the next HHS Secretary, Bloomberg reports. Azar would take over for President Trump's first choice as HHS Secretary, Tom Price, MD, who served until September, when he resigned for misuse of public funds. Azar worked under President Bush-era HHS Secretaries Tommy Thompson and Michael Leavitt for six years. After that, he worked for pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, eventually becoming the President of its U.S. operation. Trump has been an outspoken critic of the industry, blaming it for the high price of prescription drugs.

Patients Want to Know Costs

A new survey from Accenture reveals that many patients would switch healthcare providers if another doctor was able to provide cost estimates. According to the survey, 91 percent of all patients would use some kind of cost estimator. Primarily, the patients who are using cost estimators aren't doing it to shop around, but better plan their budgets. Millennials and Gen X consumers are more likely to price shop vs. older patients. Many patients (41 percent) surveyed by Accenture were concerned about their ability to pay for a certain procedure.

Barriers Plague Pediatricians in Parental Care

According to a survey of 200 pediatric primary-care physicians, many do not address parental health issues during child visits, even though they understand their impact on children. Issues such as maternal depression or parental tobacco use, often go unaddressed, the Journal of Pediatrics reports. There are a few reasons, says researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. For one, there is a lack of time and difficulty referring parents to a relevant source. Researchers also believe attitudes towards parental health promotion influences their behavior. Maya Venkataramani, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the paper's author, says many feel addressing these issues add a layer of complexity to their practice.

Quote of the Week

"If I spent the next 20 years as an employed physician, I probably would not be happy with what I did. This might be hard and I may suffer, but at least I can rest comfortably knowing I did my best and did the right thing."

Landon Roussel, MD on going from an employed position to running his own practice.

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