your life your health

James Holly, M.D.

As my favorite day of the year approaches, I am aware of how easily we could over look Thanksgiving this year. What do we have to be thankful for today?  Many express their discontent and dissatisfaction with everything from our history to their hysteria. Many, around the world, want to blow up everything and to kill people they do not know in order to protest their dissatisfaction with the way the world is going. Many want to express love for their “God” by hurting, killing or attacking those who have done nothing worse then being different.  

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James Holly, M.D.

Sept. 23, 2017, I wrote CVS CEO Larry Merlo, expressing my concerns about CVS’ use of its Pharmacy Management Benefits (PBM) program to further intrude into healthcare. The letter also summarized SETMA’s extensive clinical tools for supporting the appropriate and safe prescribing of opioid medications including the electronic prescribing of controlled substances.

Sept. 28, 2017, I received a response from CVS Health’s Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. Here is that response and my observations.

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Saturday, Nov. 4, marked my 74th birthday. One of my problems is that I still think of myself as being 17, which my wife often observes is older than my behavior. Many relatives have passed away including parents, all aunts and uncles and several of my first cousins. In that we are in the 53rd year of our marriage, Carolyn’s family is also mine. Except for my mother-in-law and one aunt by marriage, all of the family I inherited from Carolyn is also gone. As in all families, out of time and order, we have also lost nieces and nephews.

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control of medication falls under the lens in this week's Your Life, Your Health

Part 2 of our examination of CVS Health’s use of its PBM to limit the dispensing of opioids begins with one of two transmittal letters used to send this material to over 500 healthcare leaders and to 105 pharmacies in the Southeast Texas area.

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Dr. James L. Holly is CEO of Southeast Texas Medical Associates, LLP (SETMA) in

As we move deeper into the 21st century, we do so knowing that the technological advances we face are astounding. Our grandchildren’s generation will experience healthcare methods and possibilities that seem like science fiction to us today. Yet that technology risks decreasing the value of our lives if we do not, in the midst of technology, retain our humanity.

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Here is a difficult question: “Can a healthcare provider help a patient develop virtue?” Without doubt, it is hard, but it is possible. Virtue is more than the development of habits, but virtue’s presence or absence will result in habits being formed. The healthcare provider can help a patient develop positive habits with accountability and reinforcement of positive conduct. The healthcare provider can promote virtue in the life of the patient by celebrating success, however small, and by cheering the patient on to success.

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James  Holly, M.D.

April 19, 2016, Dr. Michael Oszczakiewicz asked if due to his surgery schedule, I could fill in for him and speak to the Lamar University Pre-Med Club, similar to the American Medical Student Association (AMSA). I agreed. It was great fun.

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James  Holly, M.D.

Join a team

In his remarkable book “The Fifth Discipline,” Dr. Peter Senge, addressed the value and the power of a team. He said:

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Without question, the ability to prescribe controlled substances electronically is a major step forward in healthcare quality and safety. Yet, only 5 percent of physicians in the United States currently can perform this function; all can do it legally but only 5 percent are taking advantage of the ability.

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In the first week of January, as we reviewed the details of what we expected in December 2014 to accomplish in 2015, we were reminded of other years in which we had specific, stated goals. 

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