Thursday, March 18, 2010

Data Scrubbed: Media Matters vs. NEJM (updated)

Media Matters, the mindless mouthpiece of the radical left, is having difficulty accepting the fact that ObamaCare is threatening to drive doctors away from medicine. So Media Matters has attacked the validity of data featured on a New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) website:

Right-wing media have seized on a dubious, three-month old email "survey" that purports to show that physicians are concerned about health care reform and that 46 percent of the primary care doctors surveyed "indicated that they would leave medicine - or try to leave medicine - as a result of health reform."

Many media figures have falsely attributed this survey to the New England Journal of Medicine. For example, on Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade said: "The New England Journal of Medicine has published a report and did a survey, and they said the impact of reform on primary care physicians, 46 percent, they say, feel reform will force them out or make them want to leave medicine."

This is false.

Media Matters for America contacted the New England Journal of Medicine, which confirmed it neither conducted nor published the "survey."

False? Interesting conclusion. Here's what I found:

(From page 1, click image to enlarge)

(From page 3, click image to enlarge)

You can click on the link above for a PDF file (while supplies last).* The PDF file is all that is available at the moment. I suspect the PDF file will eventually become inaccessible because the original NEJM web page that featured the same controversial data has been scrubbed.* The cached page (provided by Google) was scrubbed while I was writing this post, just moments before I decided to try to get a screen shot.

The document sports the NEJM seal; it is clearly marked as a product of Massachusetts Medical Society, and it clearly features the information that was later repudiated:

46.3% of primary care physicians (family medicine and internal medicine) feel that the passing of health reform will either force them out of medicine or make them want to leave medicine.


Source: “Physician Survey: Health Reform’s Impact on Physician Supply and Quality of Medical Care,” The Medicus Firm,

There is nothing in the document (and nothing on the scrubbed web page) to suggest that the information had not been approved and endorsed by the NEJM.

Here's a note with which the progressive folks at the NEJM attempted to cover their tracks after controversy began to swirl:

On December 17, 2009 The Medicus Firm, a national physician search firm based in Dallas and Atlanta, published the results of a survey they conducted with 1,000 physicians regarding their attitudes toward health reform. To read their survey results at The Medicus Firm website, click here.

The opinions expressed in the article linked to above represent those of The Medicus Firm only. That article does not represent the opinions of the New England Journal of Medicine or the Massachusetts Medical Society.

If you didn't know better, you might think that the NEJM was just innocently minding its own business when it was mugged by vicious right-wing yahoos from Medicus wielding dubious data. But you do know better (or you soon will). Here are the relevant relationships...

The Massachusetts Medical Society publishes the New England Journal of Medicine (, NEJM CareerCenter ( and Recruiting Physicians Today.

Recruiting Physicians Today (RPT) is a newsletter available at NEJM CareerCenter and is the publication that featured the data that caused Media Matters to go into conniptions. The link to the March/April issue of RPT at NEJM CareerCenter is currently missing, but the URL is here.

Here's the deal: The polling numbers published on the NEJM Career Center website are entirely consistent with what we've seen elsewhere (i.e. the IBD/TIPP poll).

The data published in RPT (by left-leaning organization with no clear incentive to have published fabricated right-wing talking points) are also consistent with common sense. The Mayo clinic pulled out of Medicare earlier in the year and this week we learned that Walgreens is pulling out of Medicaid. Also, consider what's happening with physician shortages resulting from RomneyCare in Massachusetts. Isn't it fair to say that a pattern is beginning to emerge? Isn't that pattern consistent with the Medicus data?

If Media Matters and the NEJM find it inconvenient to acknowledge the fact that doctors are serious about leaving their profession if ObamaCare passes, just wait. If their ObamaCare wishes come true, they will get a bitter dose of reality soon.

*Update: I was correct. Massachusetts Medical Society discovered this post today (3.30.10) and the link to the incriminating PDF file now takes you to this: "The NEJM CareerCenter was recently redesigned and the page's address may have changed. We apologize for any inconvenience. "

This content post has been changed to reflect the latest MMS scrubbing.

Here is the publication that contains the data of which the MMS is apparently very ashamed.


Lexcen said...

There is nothing to fear. While the American doctors will move on to greener pastures, there will be an influx of Indian,African and Asian doctors as happened in Australia.

RightKlik said...

Lexcen: Residency training programs already consist of about 50% foreign medical graduates in this country. But I doubt that will be sustainable. It's a very green pasture now, but when the U.S. health care system falls apart, Australia, Canada, Great Britain, etc. will find it much easier to compete with the U.S. for Indian and African trained doctors.

I don't think the U.S. will continue to see the influx.

RightKlik said...

I see you guys at Massachusetts Medical Society have finally noticed my post. Thanks for the traffic.

I see you've made some changes over at your website. I'll update my post accordingly.

Again, thanks for visiting RightKlik! Come again soon.