Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments (1)

Who’s Feeding At The Healthcare Trough?

I went to my physical therapist yesterday for knee treatment and we talked about the fact that Blue Cross is cutting their reimbursement to the point that the cost of providing care will not even be covered. All I could do was lament with him and listen. One insurer even told him (the owner of the business) to just “make the sessions shorter and don’t give as much care.” As if that is how it works…”You get little just do a little”.

Clearly the insurance intermediaries, who never actually see a patient or deliver any care, haven’t got a clue how this whole health thing works. They are happy with mediocre doctors that cut time and care. Those doctors (and physical therapists) run mills, but the insurance companies are happy with them. Quality and quantity of time are not rewarded, and in fact are punished in the health care environment we have.

He asked me if Primary care had any problems like that. I felt like screaming “Aren’t you reading my blog?”. Or more to the point…why doesn’t the entire population know that access to a primary care physician will become as rare as swimming with dolphins. It will depend upon how much money you have to buy concierge/retainer medicine. Where you live will play a role. If your community has a large multispecialty clinic like Kaiser or Sutter Palo Alto Medical Group, you may have access.

Doctors in training are flooding away from general Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Family Medicine in droves. Only 2% of medical students plan to go into primary care. It used to be over 50%. A recent Jim Lerher report discussed the reasons. We’ve been talking, talking, talking about it for years but things have only gotten worse, not better.

The whole premise of health care reform ensures that everyone has access to good quality care. Every nation that provides good, quality access has a strong primary care base that is the foundation. Primary care is valued by the government, the payers, the population and even by the physicians.

We have it all backward. It is time to revamp the system from the bottom up. Frankly I don’t care if we get one more multimillion dollar robot to assist in a rare surgical procedure or one more new “next generation” imaging scanner until we can rationalize how we pay for care.

We have not yet begun the hard work to bring costs under control because there are too many pigs at the trough. One of my favorite teachers (you know who you are, Ed) said “you can’t clear the swamp until you get the pigs out of the way”.

We have a lot of pigs to move aside so more people can get to the water.

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

You may also like these posts

    None Found

Read comments »

One Response to “Who’s Feeding At The Healthcare Trough?”

  1. Robert says:

    I once read that “Health care used to be about healing people. Now it’s all bureaucracy and pills.”

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »

Commented - Most Popular Articles