Posts by Troy Ahlstrom

How Convenient

It’s an epiphany.  I had a striking, “ah-HA!” moment this week.  I’d liken it to my ever so brief understanding of the importance of hydrogen bonding for life to exist on earth, but I can’t remember the details well enough to fully understand it anymore.  Not so this time.  This one I’ll remember. (more…)

Wisdom or Folly? Others or ME?

The scary things we do could teach us a thing or two. It’s been a tough week… month… quarter.  Well, it hasn’t been easy lately.  I’ve seen people and families shaken to their core, but that’s common at work. No big deal.  I can handle it… until I find myself shaken, scared, broken, crying, and finally praying about the terrible things that are happening all around me.  Why does it take us so long to admit how frail we really are?  How much do we have to go through to admit that we are fallible, that we seek the easy lie rather than the hard truth? (more…)

The Productivity Trap

Are your hospitalists so busy that they’re hurting the bottom line? It’s been a crazy summer!  Our census has nearly doubled over the past six months, but we’ve sustained that growth with no increase in personnel. I’ve faced days with twenty patients to start the day and much more to do before.  But my perspective is decidedly different than it was a mere five years ago.  I used to see the high census as a long day ahead, but one that would ultimately benefit the hospital and hospitalist alike.  Sure, I was happy to make the extra money! Things have changed... (more…)

Debt Crisis for Dummies (a.k.a. The Media)

It’s not about the numbers… yet. (Part One) I have a hard time with this.  The numbers surrounding the US debt, deficit, government spending, and Federal revenue are all easily obtained.  This is about the math.  Right? Well, no, apparently it’s not.  I’ve discovered that it’s really about the “full faith and credit” of the United States Government. Full faith and credit. Federal and municipal governments can promise repayment of debt securities they issue because they can raise money through taxes, borrowing, and other sources of revenue. That power is described as full faith and credit.  (Dictionary of Financial Terms. Copyright © 2008 Lightbulb Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved.) The US Budget Deficit and Federal Reserve policy is NOT a mathematical problem.  It’s a perception issue! (more…)

A Walkthrough – Part Three: The 2011 SHM-MGMA Compensation and Productivity Survey

Only seven days left to submit the survey by March 11th. Finally, we come to the Hospital Medicine Questionnaire.  I’ll assume you completed the Management Matrix in a fashion similar to the Productivity Matrix. We should now be on page 9 of the survey.  Here’s the trick for the last few pages…  STAY ALERT and think about the questions.  In my review of the survey data from last year, it seems that respondents might be getting tired at the end, especially on the last two questions.  But this is where the hospitalist specific data comes together.  SHM and MGMA are the only ones collecting this kind of information, and we need to make sure it’s the best quality we can provide.  Let’s press on! (more…)