Physician Heal Thyself- Why Concierge Medicine Will Improve Things for Everyone1
January 24, 2015 by JImbo
Even doctors need help once in awhile. I’ve seen this often working with doctors, nurses and patients through work. Disgruntlement and anger at the situation of being sick or administrative paperwork and hassles is often taken out on the face they see… patients’ local care provider.
It’s no fair, but we’re human. We all do it. From Wal Mart to the Car Dealership or Teachers, we need to be heard. Those are the ones we can reach, not a Board of Directors in Chicago or political bureaucrats in Washington.
However, as the “health care system” is getting ever more complicated, political with every more layers of “control” by others, it becomes harder and harder for the patient to be heard. So, they yell louder. At the doctor or nurse.
Yet like an American overseas, yelling at someone doesn’t make them understand or change bad news. Yes health care professionals need to be just that…professional. However, we too should be considerate of them.
They are only human just like us. Demanding more they can’t give is pointless. Accusing them of “profiting on pain” or “not caring” is unfair. I know we’re often hurting and scared when we lash out, but more and more it’s bigger than that.
When the President famously accused doctors of unnecessarily “taking off a leg for a buck” he was only playing the populist. He was just playing on common accusations doctors hear all the time.
I was even watching an old John Wayne movie the other day (“Horse Soldiers”) and he kept referring to the doctor as “Croaker.” The lead character (John Wayne) accused all doctors of killing his wife. He unfairly yet understandably associated pain and death with doctors.
Recently the big issue around here has been that more and more doctors are refusing to take any more Medicaid patients. Patients are in an uproar about how they’re “just getting too greedy” or “don’t care about us poor folks.”
The Federal Government (thanks to Obamacare) have slashed Medicaid payments to doctors for providing services. Meanwhile, costs are still rising for payroll and medicine.
Several doctors locally have told me they only run a 2% profit margin after they pay their staff, rent, utilities, medical supplies and equipment, malpractice insurance, and a host of “network fees” and hospital usage fees. (Did you know doctors pay the hospital for the operating room to perform an operation? It’s not “free” in most places.)
The new Obamacare rules increase the paperwork up to double for filing Medicaid claims too. Why do twice the work for less money?
So, it’s simple. They can take a FEW Medicaid cases to be nice. However, that percentage of “negative income” patients is limited. Otherwise they go out of business.
That is the other option. Quite a few older doctors are simply leaving the practice rather than update to the new system and follow all the new rules. Can you blame them?
My point is that we are heading for a doctor shortage. Already nurses are being substituted for doctors in more and more appointments. It is now rare to see the actual doctor at the “doctor’s office.” Even then it’s often an intern or you see the “real” doctor for perhaps 5 minutes.
What’s the answer? Well I’ve talked about that before. I still say eliminating all the extra regulation and whole departments would be much easier. Many doctors ARE opting out into “Concierge” medicine where they don’t take insurance.
Instead, you pay a “retainer fee” like a lawyer to have your “personal” doctor on call. This monthly or yearly fee is about the same as you pay for insurance, but instead of going into an insurance company it goes into a savings account at the doctor’s office. Then, if you get sick or need a checkup you go to the doctor and use the money you’ve built up in that account.
On top of that the office has a “high deductible, low cost” plan for radically expensive things. So, it may have a $5,000 deductible, but you don’t pay much for it so you only use the “big” insurance (again.. through the doctor’s office) if you need a major operation.
The whole operation is local, cheap and very effective. The doctor knows exactly what is available, what if costs, and you have money on file. In addition there is very little paperwork. Instead of three receptionists, the doctor can have one receptionist and another doctor on staff. That means you get in to see a doctor quicker and care is even CHEAPER.
The system seems to work quite well where it’s been applied. However, most of these don’t qualify as “traditional insurance” under Obamacare so the government will still charge you for being in them.
In addition, folks are SO used to the current corrupt system that they don’t know any better. Much like the tactics used when we tried to leave the union at work, it is fear-mongering and scare tactics that keep folks in the “traditional” health care system.
I still say concierge medicine with a simple government grant (say… $3,000 a year deposited in your account from the US Treasury?) would give EVERYONE health care…WITHOUT having to have traditional “insurance.”
We could eliminate whole departments. There would be no need for Medicare, Medicaid, or even the V.A. Everyone would have local health care accounts and access to a doctor PERSONALLY. Without going through Federal, State and County health departments (and THEN insurance companies!) for every charge, we could cut the cost of health care by at least a THIRD in this country.
It’s much cheaper, local, effective and personal to the patient.
I see more and more doctors wanting to go this route. I can’t blame them. Why do all that paperwork and get paid peanuts in order to give worse service? Getting the government OUT of health care is the best thing we can do.
I try to stay away from the business side of my profession but it’s hard to ignore the blatant fallacies in a crumbling system that’s meant to keep the general populace alive on a regular basis