Doctors are …
Start by entering those two words into the search line of Google and look at the list of the top ten searches. What words come to mind next? This is the list from my search:
Doctors are stupid, arrogant, evil, dangerous, idiots, overpaid, useless, underpaid, rich, greedy.
This list is disappointing. Is this representative of public opinion of what doctors are? As one chiropractor, I realize there is not much I can do to improve perceptions of health care providers. All I can do is do my best to take good care of patients.
I deal with many different doctors professionally every month through my chiropractic practice, as well as on a more personal level with my patient's health concerns. The list I come up with is quite different.
Doctors are terrified, stuck, retiring, trying, not valued, struggling, worried, angry, human.
Personally, I too have felt disillusioned as a health care provider in today’s healthcare climate. This was compounded by the decision that the Supreme Court made regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Obamacare). I want to continue to move forward, adapt, and be able to provide quality care for my community. In speaking with other doctors, I realized that I am not alone in my fears of the future, and that I have colleagues who also want to be the best doctors that they can be. When I began practicing, the totality of my day consisted of the management of my patients' needs. Now, in addition to taking care of my increasing volume of patients at reimbursement levels which haven't changed in decades, my day includes dealing with the ever-expanding role of outside influences in the business of healthcare. Maintaining the business in a manner that allows for salaries to be paid and the ever-increasing overhead costs to be covered requires creativity and business management skills which no doctor was taught in medical or chiropractic school. The free market left healthcare long before the ACA came on the scene, and the ACA will not make life easier.
I have heard that the Chinese symbol for crisis also represents opportunity. I and my friends in the Greenville healthcare community will continue to confront the challenges, network with our peers, and learn about the newest acronyms of modern healthcare and what they will mean to the future of our country's journey into the unknowns of the Affordable Care Act. ACOs (Accountable Care Organizations) and IPAs (Independent Physician Associations) are but a few of the new structures which dot the healthcare horizon as we move forward. We must continue to learn and adapt.
This is a challenging time. This is an opportunity. If you are a healthcare consumer, your opportunity is to remain vigilant and learn all that you can about maintaining your health. The longer that you can stay in the realm of wellness and away from the clutches of sickness and disease, the better you will be served by not having to be subjected to political healthcare structures.