Dear Mr. and Ms. Patient,
It has come to my attention that in order for you to enjoy success as patients in the new era of health care reform, you must start working now to prevent illnesses that might befall you. Do not, under any circumstances, eat or drink too much. Fast food might as well be considered illegal. Exercise three, four, five times a day, even if it means take time off from work. It goes without saying that you should not smoke. The government has data that demonstrates how you have become fat, lazy, and a huge burden on our health care system. Your non-compliance threatens the very fiber of our economy. Even employers realize this, and are using calculators to figure your financial burden to them.
Now, in the unfortunate circumstance where you might become sick, you will need to develop symptoms that follow a few simple rules. Do not, under any circumstances, develop symptoms that fall outside federal protocols developed based on comparative effectiveness research data. If you do, your doctors will face pay cuts, litigation, limited resources due to lack of funding for cost-ineffective technologies, and the scourge of discharge planners. Does the term "leper colony" mean anything to you?
Rest assured, if you fall into one of the areas studied under the guise of comparative effectiveness research and I apply all of the 153 quality care measures deemed necessary, according to the President I will not receive a cut in pay and you will receive exemplary care. Further, my nurse coordinator will be more than happy to answer your calls, see you in the hospital, answer all your questions and service your symptoms. After all, Mr. Peter F. Orszag, an economist and Director of the Congressional Budget Office feels they are equivalent to my specialist care and will serve as "productivity enhancements," saving $110 billion. See how patriotic you'll be?
Also, do not be a surgical case that has any risk of failure. After all, "Complicated Patient" is the new scarlet letter as we work to cut even more costs. Fortunately, thanks to the new multitudes of guidelines for care that we must follow, I will be carefully interviewing you to assure that you fit into one of several pre-determined renumeration bins called "bundles." Please don't confuse me with more than one major disease since there is currently no way to handle this circumstance. I would suggest you pick the disease that bothers you most.
Unfortunately, after years of clinical practice I have observed several clever patient stunts, like failure to respond to medications, unusual unforeseen infections, having an rare disease, and the like. I strongly recommend against these shenanigans as we move forward. It is in your best interest to not require long hospital stays, dear patient, or else.
I wish you the best as we move forward in this exciting time. Please feel free to contact my automated pool of nurse coordinators if you have questions. They'll each open your message, play a little "hot potato" with each other, and then contact you as our information technology system streamlines communication.