Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fighting for Good Health

While it seems that doctors are making buckets of money, lawyers have found a way to change this in concert with the political movers and shakers who are following suit. Many veteran physicians are encouraging young students to stay away from medicine for fear of endless paperwork, insurance battles and lawsuits. The face of medicine is changing.

Medicine Is A Business

What once used to be a profession geared towards healing the disabled and sick has now become a battle for safeguarding ones career. Often referred to as "CYA" (cover your a__) medicine, doctors are ordering more tests so not to miss pathology and treating minor ailments in vain. They put forth great efforts to serve their patients, but must protect their practice from suing patients, money-hunting lawyers and non-paying insurers. Some discussion with physicians about the subject often brings up ideas for reform with what sounds like logical plans to solve the issues at hand. In some markets doctors are paid almost 50% for their services as a result of under-insured patients or insurers who just won't foot the bill claiming there were non-qualified expenses. Since when can people utilize a service provider, demand services and pay nothing? When I go to the supermarket looking for home goods, they are certainly going to laugh when I ask them to put it on my tab.

In some places the "fee-for-service" model has done well. Patients want their health care provided and pay the provider an agreed upon fee. Both parties are satisfied and treatment is given. There is talk of requiring all citizens to have health insurance. I am still trying to understand why this would be a bad thing. I choose to drive a car; I get insured. I choose to receive health care; I get insured. Seems simple. Research has shown that people value things more when they have to "pay" a nominal fee for it. Even if there was a required co-pay, at least it would show sincerity of the purchaser to the provider that they have a significant concern needing to be addressed. It becomes taxing on the medical systems to provide free or discounted care more often than not. Perhaps that is why one third of hospital emergency departments have closed across the country in the last few years. Uncompensated services cannot last forever.

Whether paying in cash, through an insurer, Medicaid or Medicare, it seems fair to be offering remuneration to physicians for their hard work rather than trying to scheme ways to leave them empty handed. While each insurance organization has various offerings to their clients, some may come up incomplete, requiring users to seek for additive options. Medigap insurance plans for example, offer to fill in the gaps that Medicare Part A and B do not cover. It brings peace of mind to patients that experience a wider coverage of care and allows providers to give comprehensive services.

As I move into medical practice it is hard to know what medicine will be in the future. Policies are being written into law and health care reform is happening at the national level. Medicine as it is known today may be inside out and backwards years from now. Hopefully, parties on both sides of the fence find will be able to latch onto something positive so the face of medicine is tainted no more than it already has been.

Question of the Week
What are the issues, past and present including the proposed efforts of health care reform?

Answer & Explanation

3 comments:

  1. So is the bigger issue that patients will quickly and easily sue their doctors more than ever before? Or it is also the newer health care legislation from Congress?

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  2. Quite possibly both. We don't know how health care reform will affect the medical environment yet. If practicing good medicine there should be no worry of patients seeking legal action, but doctors shouldn't have to be practicing defensive medicine to see that a job gets done. It just becomes a burden to medical personnel and resources.

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  3. Nice article. very interesting, thanks for sharing.

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