Saturday, September 29, 2012

What Physicians Want to Avoid Collapse of U.S. Health System
You see, of course, if you’re not a dunce,
How it went to pieces all at once –
All at once, and nothing first-
Just as bubbles do when they burst.
O.W, Holmes, MD, (1809-1894), The Deacon’s Masterpiece
 I believe that the key statistics, quoted directly from the report below, clearly show that the U.S. healthcare system, which has become increasingly out of control year after year for decades, is in real danger of collapse, and that the Affordable Care Act is more the last straw than culprit.
James Doulgeris, “New Survey Validates That U.S. Physicians Are Ailing”, Physicians Practice, September 27, 2012. Doulgeris is referring to the Physicians Foundation Survey.
September 29, 2012 – I do not like what I see may be coming – the collapse of the U.S. health system as the physician shortage intensifies and escalates and as the business community begins to withdraw coverage.
My evidence for this dommsday scenario is personal, and it is skimpy.   In the last 11 days, as I have posted these 7 reports on this blog, 4 of them related to  the Physicians Foundation survey of 630,000 U.S. physicians and 3 of them to the collapse of confidence in the health system, the number of readers of my blog has doubled then tripled.
·         September 17, Crisis of Confidence in Health System

·         September 22, Revenge of the EHR Nerds

·         September 24, Physician Foundation Survey of 630,000 Physicians

·         September 27, Obamacare and Innovation

·         September 27, Physician Morale at All Time Low

·         September 28, Obamacare, Business, and the Law of Unintended Consequences

·         September 28, New Study Validates That U.S. Physicians are Ailing
The common denominator of these posts is that the physician and business communities, with mounting evidence of uncontrolled costs and the dampening effects of federal regulations, have lost faith in the health law to provide affordable access to care to more Americans.  
As a result, physicians are pulling out of private practice, the physician shortage is intensifying, businesses are dropping coverage, and higher costs are shifting to health consumers.
So how does one turn around the Health System Titanic?  What do American physicians, who care for all Americans, and American businessmen, who cover 160 million Americans, want?

I do not presume to talk for American business, but I believe I know what American physicians want.
Physicians want:
·         To be treated as medical professionals, rather than serfs and wards of the federal government.

·         To be trusted to do the right thing at the right time for the right reasons – for patients,  rather than for their own self-interest.

·         To practice medicine, rather to serve as data entry clerks.

·         To have regulations reduced, so that they have do not have to hire a staff of 4 or 5  to comply with documentation demands. 

·         To have services paid for on the basis of skill and time spent with patients, rather than by a labyrinthic coding system with 7500 codes created the AMA and CMS.

·         To have a liability system, with rational and just awards for medical injuries, rather than the present open-ended casino system which forces them to practice defensive medicine.
·         To be able to maintain a private practice rather than a system that forces them to become employees of large institutions to fulfill administrative functions. 

·         To practice in a system with administrative simplicity and transparency that is clear to doctors and patients. 

·         To be paid reasonable fees by alternative means – phone, email, online consultation, and Skype or by covering a defined population – rather than to always have the physical  presence of the patients.
·         To have the freedom and latitude without endless second-guessing  to do what is right for the patients rather than what feeds the bottom line of government and health plans.

·         To have the public realize that health costs do not stem from doctors alone and that government and health plans, not physicians,  set most  physician fees and generate many of the costs.

·         To permit physicians and patients to agree to have contracts outside of Medicare if the physicians and patients so agree.
·         To make the medical profession attractive again, so that it attracts the best and brightest among us.

Tweet:  If surveys and actions of physicians and the business community are any indication, the U.S. health system may be on the verge of collapse.


BobbyG said...

I do not like what I see coming either.

Long-term, the "collapse" of the health care system will just be a footnote, given our entrenched willful denial the much more serious larger picture.

BobbyG said...


My Bad