Stop the Rush to Legalize Cannabis/Marijuana

Dear Governor Murphy:

I am opposed to the rush to legalize cannabis or marijuana in New Jersey, without research, trials, adequate review of history, and consideration of risk of collateral damage. With the current heroin, fentanyl, opiate crisis, it is foolhardy to rush into legalization of a gateway drug like cannabis or marijuana. At this time the hurry seems to be all about tax revenue, with no concern for the heath and welfare of the citizens of New Jersey.

https://nypost.com/2019/03/19/stop-ignoring-the-brutal-downside-of-legal-pot/

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or for ongoing discussion.

Best wishes for good health,
Craig M. Wax, DO
Family Physician

P.S. Please see below note in agreement from my fellow NJ physician colleague, Dr. Rob Pedowitz.


The Legalization of Marijuana Is All about the Money!

Dear Fellow Physician,

As a concerned physician and NJ Resident, I am writing today to ask for your assistance on defeating a very significant legislative bill, “The Legalization of Recreational Marijuana,” S2703, due for a floor vote on Monday, March 25, 2019 in Trenton.

Regardless of your political affiliation or personal beliefs, the decision by the legislature to move forward quickly with trying to pass this bill without consulting the medical community, or without fully exploring the legal, social, psychological, financial, and medical aspects of this issue may have significant repercussions. We have fought hard the last few years to battle the opioid epidemic, and though marijuana has many benefits for medicinal purposes, there are very little proven benefits when used recreationally. To legalize marijuana and make it readily available to the public, would only provide an easier gateway for people to desire stronger drugs, including prescribed opiates, heroin, and other psychoactive drugs. There are recent reports of other countries and in several states in the U.S. where people who smoke marijuana are now seeking more potent forms of cannabis, which are causing serious psychoactive complications. Treating mental illness has been difficult in NJ and the rest of this country, and if not properly regulated, we can have a worsened mental health crisis. We also may have to deal with worsened air pollution, which is already a problem in NJ as we have very high rates of asthma and other respiratory conditions.

Additional concerns for the medical community include determining evaluating employees and potential new hires for whether they may be under the influence of marijuana. Since the metabolites of marijuana can stay in the body for at least 72 hours, drug tests may be positive, even if a person did not use marijuana on the day of question. However, we may not be able to fully determine whether or not an employee is under the influence or not. Better testing and better guidance is needed for both the medical community and for employers.

Since there is much still to discuss and much more that needs to be decided, we need to defeat this bill. It is imperative that you call your local State Senator AND Assembly Representative today or Friday. There is still a lot of legislators on the fence and the vote can sway one way or the other. From my discussions with numerous legislators, they were very honest and said that this issue is “ONLY ABOUT MONEY.” They were very clear that the decision to pass this bill only comes down to money – taxes and revenue. In addition to contacting your local legislators, I also urge you to contact a few “key” State Senators who are on the fence but leaning to vote against the bill.

Please call:

Declan O’Scanlon (R) – Holmdel, (732)444-1838
Vin Gopal (D) – Freehold/Ocean/Tinton Falls, (732)695-3371
Paul Sarlo (D) – Passaic, Wood-Ridge, (201)804-8118
Joseph Lagana (D) – Paramus, (201)576-9199

You do not need to have a political background to contact a legislator. Just look up their contact information and call them up. Tell them who you are and that you are a physician, and if you are in their voting district (this matters A LOT!). Please do NOT state you represent any organization or hospital or group, as this will not be helpful or necessarily accurate.

Please contact me individually if you have any questions.

Thank you for your assistance on this vital issue!

Sincerely,

Rob Pedowitz, DO

Physicians: See the movie that hospitals don’t want you to see

SNEAK PREVIEW!

Do No Harm: physician suicide documentary

Angelika Film Center
18 Houston Street New York City
Wednesday September 12th 7:00pm
Thursday September 13th 7:00pm

In honor of Suicide Awareness Month- a special medical community SNEAK PREVIEW screening of the groundbreaking documentary film “Do No Harm.” Two time Emmy winning filmmaker Robyn Symon follows four people bonded by tragedy on a mission to expose a toxic medical culture beginning in medical school that puts the lives of doctors and patients at risk.

2 NIGHTS ONLY.

JOIN US LIVE: For a panel discussion following the movie with filmmaker Robyn Symon and stars Dr. Pamela Wible, John and Michele Dietl and others.

Password for tickets: DNH

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/do-no-harm-documentary-film-about-the-hidden-epidemic-of-physician-suicide-tickets-48224914016

Confusion Clouds HHS Cybersecurity Plans

Today’s article about HHS cybersecurity planning, published in Becker’s Hospital Review, reports on a yet another policy failure courtesy of the bloated bureaucracy in DC. The federal government is so big that it doesn’t know what departments it has or how it’s spent our money.

In April 2017 HHS announced the planned formation of a Healthcare Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (HCCIC). 14 months later, you’d expect that the HCCIC would be off an running, especially given the massive patient data breeches and ransomware attacks that have become all too common. Wrong. Instead massive confusion surrounds the status on the HCCIC. Congress is looking for answers and HHS seems to have few answers.

One telling quote from Becker’s:

Stakeholders have informed our staffs that they no longer understand whether the HCCIC still exists, who is running it or what capabilities and responsibilities it has,” the lawmakers wrote, noting HHS has provided only vague responses to requests for clarification on these issues.

Mix in to this milieu the fact that there are already existing government agencies tasked with similar responsibilities. Government inefficiently at its worst.

Read more at:

https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/cybersecurity/congressional-leaders-to-hhs-it-s-unclear-if-troubled-cybersecurity-center-still-exists.html

“Continuing Board Certification” sounds swell but harms patients.

Dr. Walter Wood writes:

I board certified prior to 1991 and have “lifetime” certification equivalent to an academic degree. I can attest that my younger colleagues and their patients are being harmed by costly and time consuming “requirements” to participate in “re-certification” and “maintenance” of certification, soon to be renamed “Continuing Board Certification,” which is not needed and not only does not help patients but harms them. Patients in need are harmed when a doctor is not taking care of patients because the doctor is busy preparing for or repeatedly jumping through hoops such as what lawyers experience once in a lifetime with their bar exam. I was somewhat stunned that an anti-trust judge thought it was necessary to demonstrate “harm to consumers” as a result of the egregious behavior of the ABMS and its colluding member boards. That judge needs to be asked whether s/he repeats the bar exam every ten years.

Walter Wood, MD, FAAD

P.S. I have posted these comments at certificationharm.org.

Pioneers and Powerhouses of DPC launch new organization

The Direct Primary Care Alliance launched on January 1, 2018 as a physician-led organization exclusively focused on growing the Direct Primary Care (DPC) movement. The Alliance was born from a grassroots network of practicing DPC physicians looking to provide a unified voice and resources for fellow DPC physicians. The motivations for launching the Alliance can be found in remarks from our inaugural president, W. Ryan Neuhofel, DO, MPH:

We now realize the transformative potential of the DPC model and are at the advent of moving beyond novelty.  But, many hurdles exist for us to achieve that vision. The challenges ahead of us are immense. Yet I can think of no better group of people to overcome these odds.


Trump Executive Order Births Sweeping New Rules Allowing Association Health Plans

From our friends at D4PC:

The Trump administration, encouraged by Senator Rand Paul, circumvented Congress with Executive Order 13813 to create rules through the Department of Labor that allow approximately 44 million Americans to create and/or join Association Health Plans (AHP).

These AHP are exempt from many of the ObamaCare mandates that have been cost drivers for the insurance policies offered to self-employed and small businesses that often doubled rates.

“The proposed rule is designed to make it easier for groups of individuals and small businesses to band together and buy the kind of insurance that large companies offer their workers. That kind of insurance is regulated under federal labor law and isn’t subject to all the requirements and consumer protections that apply to individual and small business insurance under ObamaCare.” -NYtimes.com

The sweeping new rules have been published for public comment for 60 days before they are implemented with the force of law.

Click here to read more.

Not news to physicians, but the media is finally seeing through EHR smokescreen

Others’ eyes are finally opening to what physicians have been seeing for years: EHR billing and compliance IT only adds to healthcare costs not quality, economy or patient satisfaction.

In 2016 Forbes reported that “U.S physician costs to keep up [with HIT] have reached more than $32,000 per doctor annually.”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2016/08/10/health-it-costs-surpass-32k-per-doctor-annually/amp/

IP4PI founder, Craig M. Wax, D.O., has been writing and speaking on this for the better part of this decade.  Here are just a few of his talks about EHR’s attack on patient care:

EHR privacy and security: mission impossible (patient town hall version 2012)

EHR privacy and security: mission impossible (physician version 2012)

EHR the Trojan horse (2014)

EHR remote control (2014)