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Ronald G. Wheeland, M.D.
Ronald G. Wheeland, M.D., is a private practitioner in Tucson, Ariz. He is former president of the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery and the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, and a long-standing member of the Dermatology Times editorial Advisory board and a co-medical editor.
Evaluating the realities of the Affordable Care Act
There are no valid reasons, in my opinion, that everyone should not have access to high quality healthcare. Sadly, due to corrupt governments, geographic isolation, religious and ethnic conflicts, poor economies, inadequate education, ineffective leadership or a simple lack of will, much of the world’s population — especially those in Third World countries — has little or no access to healthcare. This is a gigantic problem with global implications that has no simple solution.
Funding medical technology in the era of the ACA
Regardless of the specialty, one commonality that has resulted from the multitudinous technologic advances and the improved quality and quantity of life is that they have all come at a significant cost.
Medical advances that have shaped dermatology
I have been trying to catalog and assign relative importance to the many changes in the field of medicine that have occurred during my medical career. I first concentrated on the various federal policies and programs that have changed how we practice medicine. This part will review the development of new administrative tools as well as new technologies, drugs and devices that have impacted on dermatologic healthcare delivery.
Changes and challenges
I have recently been thinking about the many changes in the practice of medicine, both big and small, that have occurred during the last few decades and I’ve come up with quite a list.
Separating EMR implementation hype from fact
I can't tell you how many wonderful things I've heard from medical administrators and non-physician consultants that will result from the adoption of the electronic medical record (EMR). But like most of us, I've been taught to believe that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Did simplicity of healthcare in years past allow better medicine than today?
As a physician who never had the experience of practicing medicine without patients relying on Medicare for their healthcare insurance, I don't think I can fairly comment on how good or bad it is. As I vividly recall trying to explain —unsuccessfully — to my elderly mother-in-law some years ago about Medicare Part D, however, I do think it can be more complicated to practice under the Medicare rules than some third-party insurance providers.
For most physicians, the best era in which to practice medicine is relative
At various times throughout my professional career, I have frequently asked many older physicians this question: What was the best thing about practicing medicine during your career? I have always been intrigued by their answers.
Dermatologists' volunteer work holds great value
I have always looked for evidence of volunteerism on the applications of every candidate seeking a residency training position in dermatology. I've found that medical students who make the effort to volunteer their time to help someone in need truly make the best residents. They are generally caring, thoughtful individuals who recognize that the special gifts they have been given deserve to be "paid back" to society in some way.
How would accountable care organizations impact dermatology?
In my last editorial, I expressed mystification about what exactly was being "reformed" by the passage of the 2,700-page "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act." Finally, a limited number of details about the provisions of this act are finally coming to light. The latest is the Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), which represents one of the first proposals to provide initiatives to reform healthcare delivery.
Healthcare fix should involve common sense approach, not complexity
I am mystified by the continuing debate surrounding the nebulous topic of healthcare reform and wish that the discussions were more understandable to me, so that I could make sense as to exactly what was being "reformed."

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