Thursday, March 24, 2011

How to Spin a Doctor Shortage

In rural Oshkosh, Wisconsin, they just call it "collaboration" between health care giants:
But that doesn't mean there's no place for collaboration among competing entities. ThedaCare and the other two healthcare biggies in Oshkosh – Affinity and Aurora – have found several ways to join forces to strengthen everybody's bottom line.

Whether it's Aurora and Affinity combining their cardiology departments to ensure top level care for patients of both hospitals, or ThedaCare, Affinity, Aurora and others working together at the Living Healthy Community Clinic at 510 Doctors Court in Oshkosh to provide medical care for the poor, these collaborations make sense.

'We just realized both our organizations expect to take good care of people. We'd identified gaps in services. That's how the cardiology cooperation came about between Mercy and Aurora," said Bill Calhoun, president of Mercy Medical Center.

"We questioned why do we compete when cardiologists are hard to find? We decided to do this on behalf of patients. At the end of the day it makes sense," Calhoun said.
It will be interesting to see how long these cardiologists continue to "collaborate" before either limiting their practice or burning out and moving to new pastures.

Despite what the corporate spin might be, "gaps in service" still need people to provide quality service. Spread 'em too thin and you'll still have "gaps in service."



Dennis said...

I think America long ago reached the best level of Doctor to Patient ratio and has been steadily declining for a plethora of reasons.
Docs are not necessarily affected other than the decision to take on more or less patients but we, the great herd of medical billing sheep are going to suffer the gap as time marches on. I left one EP practice because I was a sheep in an ever enlarging flock and it did not take long to realize I was only a number and that the final bill was the great motivator. My new EP seemed like a godsend but I have noticed that their are telltale signs of a more crowded waiting room.... Sigh

At nearly 72, more only consolation is that the sands run faster each year.

jimbino said...

In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith warned,

"People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."

We want more competition and less collusion among price-fixing docs and insurance companies!

Anonymous said...

Jimbino you are part correct. I'd say the majority of this stuff started when big health care hospital corporations everywhere launched a version of The Crusades, as well as the attempts of rebel MD groups to become big enough on the outside to grab some power back. It all started when many MDs went over to The Dark Side and gave up their own practices. They got all sorts of attention and benefits but it was a ruse. Now they've realized what they've done to themselves becoming Walmart employees. Add the insurance lobby into the mix, and it just isn't smart to go into healthcare anymore as an MD or RN.