Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.

Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012

After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.

We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.

Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.

I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.

Thank you very much.

Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A medical student meets Donald Berwick

By John Ballard

Dr. Berwick was the president's pick to run CMS but  too many assholes in Congress  he ran into too much political opposition to retain him following his recess appontment.
I found this snapshot of the man at Kevin MD.

While attending the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Annual Forum recently, my friend, Jared Conley, and I had the good fortune of finding ourselves standing a table away from Don Berwick in a relatively empty conference room. As MD/PhD in Health Policy students, we were interested in asking him a question about ACOs, so we approached him and introduced ourselves, hastily adding, �We know you�re busy, so we just have a quick question for you.�

�I�m not busy,� he calmly replied, and proceeded to ask us about ourselves.

He then listened to our question and gave an insightful and thorough reply, which led to a few additional minutes of conversation. We thanked him and left somewhat awestruck that we had just spent five minutes of uninterrupted time with one of the most influential leaders in healthcare.

A few hours later, I was walking by myself down a large but relatively empty hallway and passed a man looking at his smartphone as he walked. When I looked back, it was, again, Dr. Berwick.

�Dr. Berwick, this is twice in one day!� �Oh, hi,Taylor!� He remembered my name.

As he sped up to walk beside me, we discussed some additional thoughts I had about his response to our previous question. I then asked, �I feel like I�m starting to get things pieced together with what needs to happen with healthcare, and I really want to translate that to an impact in healthcare, so how can I have the greatest influence for change?�

�A couple things come to mind. First, don�t do it alone.� He then explained the importance of the group of friends he has collaborated with, and how they have all worked together to make change.

�Yeah,� I responded, �and then I guess one rises above the rest or is kind of chosen to lead and that�s why you are the one getting the attention.�

�No no, it�s all done together. The public invents that myth.�

�And the second thing is you have to do what you are expecting others to do. After you finish a care experience, you should ask the nurse, �How could I have made your job easier?� And at the end of an appointment with a patient, you could ask, �How do you think I can be a better doctor?� Even after you�ve been practicing for 20 years, you should still be asking that question.� I thanked him for his kindness and we parted ways.

I am sure Don Berwick�s concluding keynote speech given shortly thereafter has already been listened to and read by thousands, but that day his personal interactions also impacted healthcare by teaching a future doctor, in word and deed, exactly how I need to treat my patients and colleagues so I too can improve healthcare.

Taylor J. Christensen is a medical student who blogs at Clear Thinking on Health Care.

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