The Week: Most Recent from Bill Frist recent posts.en-usWed, 21 Nov 2012 06:20:00 -0500http://theweek.com Recent from Bill Frist from THE WEEKWed, 21 Nov 2012 06:20:00 -0500Everything you need to know about palliative care<img src="" /></P><p>The toughest issue in life is dealing with poor health. The dreaded diagnosis of a loved one or friend, a family member, or even yourself. As a doctor, especially a transplant surgeon, you face serious illness every day.&nbsp;</p><p>But a brand new field in medicine is making chronic, agonizing, and even terminal illnesses much more manageable. Most people don't know anything about it. But with the miraculous advances we are making in treating cancer and heart disease, palliative care has emerged as the best solution for those facing serious, painful diseases, and introduces the very real possibility...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-frist" ><span class="byline">Bill Frist</span></a>Wed, 21 Nov 2012 06:20:00 -0500Why President Obama (or Romney) must tackle Alzheimer's<img src="" /></P><p>Bulletin to the post-election president of the United States: Americans are hungry for a Big (nonpolitical) Idea that will not only inspire and uplift, but also improve the daily lives of their families.</p><p>That Big Idea, I respectfully submit, should be a War on Alzheimer's disease.</p><p>Why Alzheimer's? Because it is a demographically driven, rapidly expanding condition that is incurable and fatal. It wrenches apart families emotionally and economically. And it will, if not reversed, inevitably affect every family.</p><p>Alzheimer's disease, the sixth-leading cause of death in America, is the only cause...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-frist" ><span class="byline">Bill Frist</span></a>Tue, 06 Nov 2012 06:40:00 -0500More knowledge + less government = A healthier you<img src="" /></P><p>The most intimate, the most immediate, the most personal aspect of your life is your health, both of your body and mind. So why is it that our day-to-day care has not benefited from the explosions in technology, digitization, and connectedness that are revolutionizing other aspects of our lives?&nbsp;</p><p>In spite of U.S. leadership in innovation and technology, we still lag behind the rest of the developed world in such fundamental health measures as infant mortality and life expectancy. It seems impossible. Especially when we are spending so much more per capita than any other country.</p><p>I predict...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-frist" ><span class="byline">Bill Frist</span></a>Tue, 23 Oct 2012 08:50:00 -0400Why Medicare is the defining issue of the 2012 race<img src="" /></P><p>A funny thing has happened this election season. While much of the campaign rhetoric has been focused on ObamaCare, the public's focus has now shifted. Entitlements, most notably Medicare, heretofore regarded as the lethal "third rail" of politics, are now being openly debated and have quickly become the defining domestic issue of the next 12 months.&nbsp;</p><p>Mitt Romney's pick of Paul Ryan for the VP slot certainly gave Romney's Medicare proposal, which&nbsp;includes reforming Medicare into a defined contribution system, a large public spotlight.&nbsp;While President Obama incorrectly asserted in...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-frist" ><span class="byline">Bill Frist</span></a>Tue, 09 Oct 2012 06:05:00 -0400Why America can never give up on medical research<img src="" /></P><p>In America we spend roughly $140 billion on medical research every year. One-third of that is from the federal government. Over half &mdash; 54 percent &mdash; comes from industry, and nearly all the rest comes from universities, philanthropic foundations, independent research institutions, and what most statisticians labels imply as "Other." The contributions of these voluntary, nongovernment, and nonprofit institutions is calculated, then shrugged off, as people return to talking about the worth of federal NIH funding or deride the evils of pharmaceutical companies.&nbsp;</p><p>But these contributions...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-frist" ><span class="byline">Bill Frist</span></a>Tue, 25 Sep 2012 09:00:00 -0400How do you want to die?<img src="" /></P><p>How do you envision death with dignity? I like to think of being at home in the comforting and supportive environment of family and friends. But the odds are that neither you nor I will leave this world as we might wish &mdash;&nbsp;unless policymakers change course.</p><p>End-of-life care is perhaps one of the most complex, emotional, and delicate issues in all of health care. Those final weeks and months can be an incredibly challenging and, too frequently, confusing period for us. At a time we hope for peace, tranquility, and dignity, a patient is often pulled in opposing directions by doctors, intensive...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-frist" ><span class="byline">Bill Frist</span></a>Tue, 11 Sep 2012 09:20:00 -0400What my doctor thinks of ObamaCare<img src="" /></P><p>Want real health reform that is in the interest of you and your family?&nbsp;Don't make the same mistake that Washington did. In formulating ObamaCare, the politicians listened to lobbyists, policy wonks, academics, health theorists, regulators, and occasionally to each other. But they failed to listen to the people who actually care for patients: Doctors. Granted, the lobbyists for physician groups were at the table, but not the doctor him or herself. Ironic, isn't it? Especially when it's the doctor who has the daily responsibility of directly caring for the patient.</p><p>Go ahead, ask your physician...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-frist" ><span class="byline">Bill Frist</span></a>Wed, 29 Aug 2012 11:10:00 -0400Talking politics on the hiking trail<img src="" /></P><p>"We're just backcountry people," said the 20-something couple climbing up the steep, narrow trail carrying heavily loaded backpacks and fishing rods. "We haven't been paying much attention, but we will decide when we see the debates," said the young man when I asked whether they were for Obama or Romney. The campers added that they had caught 16 graylings the day before, two of which were dinner the previous night.</p><p>This month I joined three lifelong friends on a four-day hiking journey to a "Big Idea" place with dramatic glacier-shaped landscapes, a long way from our home in Music City, USA, where...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-frist" ><span class="byline">Bill Frist</span></a>Wed, 15 Aug 2012 06:30:00 -0400Is AIDS the last bipartisan issue?<img src="" /></P><p>We live in fiercely contentious times. Every day, it seems, a new issue arises that Democrats and Republicans cannot agree on. Health care, taxes, energy, favorite flavor of ice cream &mdash; it seems our elected leaders must disagree at every turn. But one issue that has so far repulsed the partisan pressures of the times was highlighted in our nation's capital last week: the fight against HIV/AIDS.&nbsp;</p><p>Washington, D.C., hosted the XIX International AIDS Conference. It was an energetic, passion-filled week. More than 23,000 attendees from across the globe heard and engaged speakers including...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-frist" ><span class="byline">Bill Frist</span></a>Tue, 31 Jul 2012 07:15:00 -0400Why both parties should embrace ObamaCare's state exchanges<img src="" /></P><p>When the new health care reform law was being debated in 2009 and 2010, everyone talked about "death panels." When challenged in court, everyone debated the individual mandate. After last month's Supreme Court decision, the conversation has now switched to Medicaid. During all of this, however, we have largely ignored what is perhaps the most innovative, market-driven, and ultimately constructive part of the law: State exchanges.&nbsp;</p><p>Originally a Republican idea, the state insurance exchanges mandated under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will offer a menu of private insurance plans to pick and...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-frist" ><span class="byline">Bill Frist</span></a>Wed, 18 Jul 2012 08:15:00 -0400The crucial need to hold students to a higher standard<img src="" /></P><p>Over the last few months, hundreds of thousands of high school seniors have walked across a stage and received a diploma, an important moment that should be applauded.</p><p>Unfortunately, for many of those students, that diploma represents a false promise.</p><p>Recent data from the ACT, Inc. shows that only 25 percent of high school students who take the test are college-ready in all subject areas. In my home state of Tennessee, the situation is even bleaker. All students in Tennessee take the ACT test, but only 15 percent meet college readiness benchmarks in English, math, reading, and science. While...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-frist" ><span class="byline">Bill Frist</span></a>Tue, 03 Jul 2012 06:35:00 -0400The world needs more health-care workers -- millions more<img src="" /></P><p>As I visit health programs in far off corners of the world and right here at home, the most impressive part of any hospital or clinic is the health workers themselves &mdash; the hands behind the health care that is provided to mothers and newborns, to children and the elderly, to teens and adults to prevent and treat illness.&nbsp;</p><p>Health workers heal. It's as simple as that. And in this country, and around the world, there are not enough of them. Doctors are included in that shortage, but it doesn't stop there. Recent estimates suggest the world is short some 4 million to 5 million community...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-frist" ><span class="byline">Bill Frist</span></a>Tue, 19 Jun 2012 06:25:00 -0400America must invest in research universities -- or get left behind<img src="" /></P><p>America's future rests with strong economic growth and job creation. Making the GDP pie bigger is fundamental to our relative monetary, moral, and military standing in the world. And new economic growth and job creation begin with innovation.</p><p>Innovation gave birth to Microsoft, FedEx, Xerox, Starbucks, Apple, and thousands more businesses that have powered America's growth, making us the largest economy in the world. But today, against the backdrop of slow growth and high unemployment, we are increasingly being challenged around the world by nations threatening our innovation edge. We were not...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-frist" ><span class="byline">Bill Frist</span></a>Tue, 05 Jun 2012 06:45:00 -0400How to wean America from its dangerous food addiction<img src="" /></P><p>In ancient history, eating was for survival. Food was tough to come by and we consumed what we needed. Food was a necessity. In today's America, it is an addiction.</p><p>Much of the conventional wisdom about obesity, including what your doctor has probably told you, is wrong. My fellow doctors, for the past four decades, have preached a "calories in &mdash; calories out" approach, suggesting that weight loss must be achieved by restricting calories or expending more energy. That approach is failing&hellip; miserably.</p><p>Contemporary medical research, most of which has not yet made it to mainstream understanding...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-frist" ><span class="byline">Bill Frist</span></a>Tue, 22 May 2012 10:20:00 -0400How Facebook is reinventing organ donation<img src="" /></P><p>What do you use Facebook for? To keep up with friends, share pictures of your kids, or pass around the latest silly video? What if I told you that you can now use Facebook to save lives?</p><p>As of last week you can do just that.</p><p>Facebook has introduced a new "status update"&nbsp;that allows you to proudly share with all your friends your intent to be an organ donor. Not already registered as a donor with your state? No problem. With a few clicks, Facebook ushers you to the appropriate registry, where you can quickly make it official. With a permanent and prominent display on your Facebook site, you...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-frist" ><span class="byline">Bill Frist</span></a>Tue, 08 May 2012 06:27:00 -04005 reasons deficit hawks should lay off global health initiatives<img src="" /></P><p>Government spending is about to get chopped &mdash; no matter who wins the next presidential election. President Obama and his GOP challenger Mitt Romney have both prioritized deficit reduction, which, of course, is a worthy goal. However, not all cuts are created equal. And many surveys put global health at the top of the list of things to slash. That's a mistake, and here's why.</p><p><strong>1. Global health initiatives save lives abroad</strong><br />Investments in global health pay off a lot more quickly and dramatically that you might think. PEPFAR, initiated by President George W. Bush and strongly embraced and expanded...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/bill-frist" ><span class="byline">Bill Frist</span></a>Tue, 24 Apr 2012 07:10:00 -0400