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February 26th, 2010
09:40 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/02/liveblogfinal.copy.jpg]

Tonight we're looking into what's causing the shortage of primary care physicians in the United States. What impact will health care reform have on this trend? We're also digging deeper on what really caused the attack of the killer whale on the trainer at Sea World this week. What do you think? Join the conversation on the live blog.

Want to know what else we're covering? Read EVENING BUZZ

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")
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3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)


Filed under: Live Blog • T1
soundoff (162 Responses)
  1. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Kim,
    Yes, Agreed! 🙂

    February 26, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  2. starr, formerly known as vincent

    A. Smith

    The general docs that i know have not even approached $800,000 a yr.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  3. Claus

    @A. smith, $800,000 would not even remotely be their pay once they paid building expense, insurance (particularly malpractice), staff, equipment, etc. 240 days a year would mean no vacation and no day or half day off during the week which many take. I have FPs in my family; they wish they made this much.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  4. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Ouch! White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers take step down next month due breach security....... I also agree with Ed Henry.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  5. A. Smith, Oregon

    It shows the class and competence of President Obama to keep Desiree Rogers on even one day after the Secret Service took the Congress inquest on the chin and Rogers was a no show. She was given the time and consideration to gracefully exit months later rather than thrown under the bus immediately. Kudos to President Obama.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  6. jimmyd

    I am a familt docto an work long hours. I made about 80,000 last year. There is no family doctor making $800,000 dollars a year who is doing it legally. By the way i work more than 250 days a year and I alsoam on call close to 100 nights a year as wel.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  7. Trish

    I think family practice should become a specialty–people need this doctor the most. Just like everything else–it's the prestige that seems to be more imp't. The nice office, expensive car, multi million dollar home. If you're in a group of Dr.-the ask each what type of med. they're practicing–I bet the one who states he/she is in family practice would be made to feel less. There are too many patients / Dr. It must feel like working in an assembly line –alloting 10 min.only/patient.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  8. doreen richardson

    Profound,pragmatic, and prescient. Thank you for a rational and reasoned discussion on the subject

    February 26, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  9. Cessy-Chicago

    good evening.. a bit late tonight...

    humm. it's about time that Desiree Rogers take full responsibilities of her actions. We all make mistake but she works for the President where safety is a must. I dont care if she's bestfriends with Michelle. I dont feel bad for her not should you. She's a very educated millionaire. She'll be fine.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  10. Cecil

    Primary Care Physicans located in rural areas have a large number of medicare patients and receive only a partial payment from medicare. Why not increase the medicare payment for all basic services which is most of what a Primary Care Physican can perform.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  11. jaimeson fulkerth

    I am on board with Dr. Vance Harris, there actually is no health care system,only a sickness system. This system is flawed,not to mention malpractice lawsuits and insurance costs for family practice. I would like to hear more from Dr. Harris perhaps on a fix for this system.Thanks
    Jaimeson
    Redding, CA

    February 26, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
  12. Carol

    Physician Assistants might be the answer for the shortage of primary-care physicians. Let's face it most primary care physicians handle the more routine problems and refer the rest to the specialists.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
  13. Aisha Khan

    The cost of obtaining a medical education in the U.S. is ridiculously high. Medical students are choosing to go into specialties instead of primary care because there is more money offered in specialties. No one wants to be in debt for ever!

    February 26, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
  14. Charlotte

    I was surprise Ms Rogers did not lose her job earlier

    February 26, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  15. michael armstrong sr.

    The presidents staff is careless this should give Obama anxiety attacks .

    February 26, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  16. Laurie

    Dr. Gupta – Fascinating look at the primary care physician shortage. It's going to get even worse now that the Senate didn't act so the 21.2 percent cut in Medicare reimbursement to physicians goes into effect on Monday. That's going to have HUGE ramifications both on physicians and access. Doctors won't be able to keep accepting Medicare patients, so that shortage is just about to get even worse. Interesting story there. Worth a closer look. I love your anchoring AC 360. Keep up the great work!

    February 26, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  17. Kim- Ohio

    It's scary that someone could get that close to the President. Says alot for the security.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  18. starr, formerly known as vincent

    A, Smith

    Although General Practitioners do not have sophisticated equipment, the amt. of hours that they put in each day is huge.

    They also have to hire crack billing people to get the best payment f
    rom the ins. cos. and they have to pay the billing people pretty well too.(there is a big need for billing experience in the employment field.)

    And, as both docs on the panel stated they have considerable overhead to cover.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  19. Kartik J. Desai, MD

    In my opinion we need to separate the Internal Medicine residency in to office based and hospital based. Third year of Internal Medicine Residency training can be split up on separate track and separate board certification to keep certain number of physician in office based practice otherwise it will be difficult to fine physician who are ready to run office practice.

    More emphasis on prevention of disease with definite incentive to patient who put efforts stays healthy.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  20. Laura

    As an RN for 28 yrs. I can tell you I have seen PC Physicans work to exhaustion. With clinic, on-call coverage, urgent care coverage, having to see 20 patients per day, and having huge debt because of school loans; I don't blame them.
    One of my friends is a PC Physician and she is always exhausted. Off time is used to catch up on chores, spend time with the kids, before it is time to go back to work.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  21. Mare - Pennsylvania

    Many primary care physicians or physicians groups are now OWNED by insurance companies and draw a nice salary, leaving the insurance co to take care of the "overhead" of staff and billing.

    If doctors are not choosing the primary care track, it's probably because they are looking for the bigger bucks specialties.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  22. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Kim,
    Yup, absolutely right!!!!! Good point. I think I am sure why students have to check-up their health, I know some people loan to pay doctor's bill, they would haven't pay for health-care for now.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  23. Gabriela Vaughan from Nicaragua

    Good Night Everyone!! Anderson, 360 Crew, Emily, Megan D, Heather, Dodie, Isabel and everyone!!!!
    TGIF!!! it's weekend!!

    February 26, 2010 at 10:13 pm |
  24. David, Indiana

    Good evening Dr Gupta good to see you, Isabel, Emily, Starr, Megan, everyone. I might've missed part of the rept on primary care physicians, but I think I've heard there is a shortage of 16,000 doctors at present. If the number will be 40,000 some in the future, how is it we are so close now?

    February 26, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
  25. Tim

    I think this whale has served his time and is deserving of liberation. He should be GPS tagged and released back into the open sea. He should be monitored for a succesfull transition and only brought back if he begins to fail there.
    He is only being kept as a stud for profit.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
  26. michael armstrong sr.

    Most of the Insurance rates are based on law suits from malpractice .

    February 26, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
  27. mike laycox

    how does the nursing shortage fit into the equasion. I worked as an RN in the emergency room for over 20 years - the situation is horrible. thanks,

    February 26, 2010 at 10:11 pm |
  28. Dorothy - Douglassville, PA

    There is no win situation. You can't send the whale back in the wild, he would not survive. It is imprinted in his brain to swim in circles in small water environments, less social activity than in the wild, and taking commands from humans all for years. It is a shame what happened to the trainer, but they are trained like police or guards or firefighters of the hazards and understand the risk, especially with wild animals. If you love your work, I guess it is worth it.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:11 pm |
  29. A. Smith, Oregon

    Working only 250 days per year, the GP MD's I have worked with were pulling in 800,000 dollars per year. $3200 per day. Very little pay to the staff and some compensation for minor procedures would only slightly lower their income. Pharmaceutical donations seemed rather large also.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:10 pm |
  30. starr, formerly known as vincent

    It's true, general practitioners have been a shortage for years. Now it's getting worse.

    Both doc's on the panel are right about ins. companys Not paying enough for their services.

    "Sickness" system is an excellent descritption of much of health care today!

    Excellent and informative panel discussion.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:10 pm |
  31. michael armstrong sr.

    Were in big trouble unless they start this health care bill from scrap .

    February 26, 2010 at 10:09 pm |
  32. Charlotte

    Jason you are right I was thinking the same thing today.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:09 pm |
  33. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Karin,
    Yes, Dr.Gupta is doing great job last night and now, yes I know we miss Anderson too. He (Anderson) will be here next week. 🙂

    February 26, 2010 at 10:09 pm |
  34. Kim- Ohio

    Hi Megan!!

    It's hard to believe there is such a huge difference in pay from general to specialist. I think general care givers work alot more hours and see more patients.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:08 pm |
  35. Scott

    I know three Primary Care physicians who have left their practice due to being unable to afford the malpractice premiums anymore. But no one on the left wants to admit its a problem.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:08 pm |
  36. michael armstrong sr.

    Whats missing is a cap on law suits .

    February 26, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
  37. Karin Urban, from Berlin/Germany

    Dr. Gupta was great on the show yesterday and he certainly will be tonight too.
    Still I miss Anderson and I really hope he is well again next week.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
  38. A. Smith, Oregon

    The ones I have worked with were making $100 dollars every 15 minutes, that's $400 dollars per hour! Patients being rushed thru like cattle. Time spent with the MD was perhaps 7-8 minutes tops.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:06 pm |
  39. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    @A. Smith
    Good point there, I think so all college students aren't able to pay income a tax and pay insurance c ompany every month and year.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:05 pm |
  40. A. Smith, Oregon

    Primary care MD's also often lack the multi-million dollar diagnostic medical equipment so their costs should be lower.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:04 pm |
  41. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Yes Kim,
    We are so exciting see Dr Sanjay Gupta tonight! 🙂 Expect Anderson!

    February 26, 2010 at 10:03 pm |
  42. starr santa fe

    Good evening Dr. Gupta! Good evening Team 360. TGIF

    Hello Devin, Nichole, Megan, Emily, Dodie, A. Smith, David, Isabel, Mike and all my fellow bloggers -TGIF!

    February 26, 2010 at 10:03 pm |
  43. A. Smith, Oregon

    There is so much corruption in the western medical industry, its no wonder fewer and fewer college students are choosing the medical practice as their field of future employment.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:02 pm |
  44. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Nalani.
    Yes! Agreed, 🙂

    February 26, 2010 at 10:02 pm |
  45. scott Jamieson

    Dawn graduated from my high school and her death seems even more tragic when one is living a dream. Is it any better when you die doing what you love?

    February 26, 2010 at 10:01 pm |
  46. Kim- Ohio

    Hey everyone ...Happy Friday!!! Yeah...Dr Gupta is back again.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  47. A. Smith, Oregon

    Good Evening Dr. Gupta, Poppy, Tammy, AC360, CNN Staffers and fellow bloggers.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  48. Jason

    RE: WHALE~ this reminds me of the Siegfreid & Roy iccident; its a controversial & oppionated subject. i look at it as if u have a whale weighing tons, & a human weighing barely a fraction of that, even if the whale did'nt purposely attack the trainer; its still unsafe, because the orca whales are still wild animals with their own personal opinions!

    February 26, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  49. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Helloooo Anderson, Sanjay, Poppy, Megan, Jessica, Candy, David G, Ed Henry, Emily, Gloria, Dodie, Mike, Casey, Milan, Vivan, Gabriela, Cessy, Paula, Isabel, David-Indiana, JoAnn, Monica, Kathy, Gayle, Renee, Caroline, Danie, Lori, Adelaide, BettyAnn and my friend Twitter/Facebook Bloggers!!!!
    Thank God It's Friday Night!!!!
    Couldn't wait forward this weekend!
    Thanks for coming in to join us tonight!

    February 26, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  50. Nalani

    Wild animals should stay in the wild

    February 26, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
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