Friday, January 16, 2004

For 'boutique' doctor, first year has been healthy

Health watch

By Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A year ago, Dr. Doug Magenheim made headlines when he launched a solo practice that charges patients a $1,500 annual membership fee.

The venture - announced in January and opened March 1 - made him Greater Cincinnati's first "boutique" doctor.

Magenheim won't say exactly how many patients have joined his Norwood-based practice. But he says the venture has met his first-year expectations.

"We're signing up new patients almost every day," Magenheim said.

Despite the fee, patients still must pay whatever co-payments their health plan requires. The extra fee buys access to a doctor who promises to spend more time with patients, develops detailed disease management plans, and is willing to make house calls.

So far, Magenheim has not reached a self-set limit of 800 patients that he announced last year. And so far, no other Greater Cincinnati doctor has announced plans to mimic his venture.

A LAUGHING MATTER? Here's one of the more unusual books ever sent to a health reporter: a pop-up book . . . for menopause.

While 5,000 women a day nationwide begin to cope with the hot flashes and mood swings of menopause, the authors of MenOpop urge women to take a more light-hearted attitude about reaching that stage in life.

The book - with pages marked by an egg carton steadily running out of eggs - offers several features to generate snickers from women who've been there.

There's a "3-D uterus" with a sign saying "Womb for Rent." There's "MenOLand - The Board Game." There's even a Menopause Fairy.

The book was written by four people: three 30-somethings and "one incredibly menopausal woman."

After consulting with several women in the newsroom, the consensus was: Cute, but make sure you give this only to a pretty close friend.

To find the $24.95 book, check your local bookstore or the Website

POLITICS AND HEALTH: According to the American Public Health Association, nuclear war and how the nation combats terrorism are matters of public health.

Of 27 policy positions announced this week by the 50,000-member trade group, several are potentially controversial. For example, the group supports relaxing rules for using emergency contraception, stiffer gun control laws and banning junk food advertising on children's television shows.

But the association also urges the United States to forgo nuclear weapons testing. And in a criticism of the Bush administration's strike-first policy on terrorism, this group favors "internationally sanctioned approaches to resolving conflicts versus pre-emptive war."


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