Almost ten years ago, I wrote “Time to Talk, the Healthcare Providers’ Responsibility, to the Community, and the Healthcare Debate”. I was concerned by what I saw as a practicing primary care physician over the disparity of delivery and the cost of the providing medical care. And I felt helpless, and unable to remedy the problem. I never submitted it for review, but provide it now abbreviated as the basis for beginning Physician Forum. I believe it is still current and relevant.
It is noteworthy that as some of the best-trained problem-solvers America’s health- care providers for the most part, have not substantively participated, collaborated, nor for the most part been consulted for their opinions as it relates to the issues of our health care delivery system. Logically, it makes sense for our input, since we are at the center of that complex system.
It is important to remember that medical providers still make most of the clinical decisions involved in health care delivery in this country. Health care providers still possess much control of everyday care. However, our ability to assist in constructive change has been limited by the absence of responsible organizations committed to representing our views, an inability to substantively communicate with each other, and our mostly apolitical nature. Unfortunately, this has left many providers feeling as if they have lost much of their control and autonomy to practice. Additionally, providers feel ever more burden by the increased demand to “see more patients” to increase revenue.
This is unfortunate because in addition to having a moral responsibility to our patients and each other, we have a moral responsibility to our community. Practitioners may often underappreciate this sense of the common good when dealing with individual patients, and because we practice in a dysfunctional medical care system. To make matters even worse the current allocation of revenue coupled with the commercialization of medicine has allowed profit to ascend to its current position of supremacy.
This is certainly a unique time of much change in medicine. But, as history often shows us times of uncertainly often provide opportunity for change. And it would be detrimental to not take advantage of the opportunity.
As healthcare providers, we have a unique perspective and responsibility to help shape our medical land scape.
Historically, the ability to influence change comes to groups that unify for a common cause. We have been entrusted with a unique responsibility which includes providing medical care to all who need it and the preservation of the common good of all. We have taken an oath to these ends.
All health care providers need to unite now. It is “time to talk” to our patients, ourselves, and our community. It is part of our “responsibility”. We practitioners are the most qualified group to accomplish this task. Large interest groups are determining how we practice and operate in our own offices, and we are letting them. With reason and for the common good we need to respectfully push back. Now is the time for health care providers to take responsibility for constructive change and, for the baby boomers, like me, this may be one of the most important issues we need to get involved in.
Initially, there will be two topics selected by Physician Forum. The first will focus on revenue/ healthcare cost. The second will provide the opportunity for all of us to create a “need, want and wish list” [those areas that need improvement]. These topics will be presented concurrently.
We must make the system work better for everyone.
More to come….