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Montana,United States

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We have a guest post today from Felice Freyer, veteran medical writer for the Providence Journal, member of the Association of Health Care Journalists Board of Directors and chair of AHCJ's Right to Know Committee.

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Reforms unlikely to defeat obesity

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Public Citizen put together an important report in May that was mostly missed by the press (including me).

It's a comprehensive and critical investigation of The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), created by the Health Care Quality Improvement Act 19 years ago, ostensibly to protect patients from rogue doctors.

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Andrew Schneider is one of the country's most accomplished investigative journalists. His work has won not just one, but two Pulitzer Prizes, and countless other awards. I had the privilege of meeting him when both of us were finalists for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting at Harvard. My team lost. So did his.

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Initiative 1000, the so-called "Death with Dignity Act," took effect in Washington state on March 5, after being approved by voters in November. And it has put hospitals in a strange position. Hospitals are considered the place where doctors and staff do everything in their power to keep a person alive. Now hospitals are being asked to allow their patients to kill themselves.

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Public hospitals have been closing at an alarming rate. Last month, the troubled Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Center in Los Angeles announced it was preparing to reopen after years of quality concerns, but it has lived on the precipice for more than two decades.

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Sometimes, all a doctor with a checkered past wants is some peace and quiet.

Dr. Paul William Anderson had a little trouble with a medical malpractice lawsuit in Nebraska. The Medical Board of Nebraska wanted the radiologist to explain why he had failed to diagnose a tumor that ended up blinding one of his patients.

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Dr. Kelly Acton is director of the Indian Health Service Diabetes Program. She has worked in the Indian Health Service for more than 20 years. In 1981, Dr. Acton earned her M.D. degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and in 1996, her M.P.H. from the University of Washington. She is board-certified in internal medicine and a fellow of the American College of Physicians. She has worked on the Crow and Flathead Indian reservations in Montana and the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina.

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