Friday, June 29, 2012

The Morning After

“I made you coffee.”

“Thanks, dear.”

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, why?”

“I just wondered, is all.”

Not much new today, really. Coffee tasted pretty good. We might even get some rain, finally.

As far as that health care law decision yesterday? Yeah, I was surprised – maybe “stunned” is a better word. Then I put in a pacemaker.

Funny, like everything else with this law, I felt like most doctors I spoke with were similarly surprised, then shrugged their shoulders and went about their business.

Que sera, sera.

Perhaps these other doctors were being polite. Perhaps they didn’t care or felt too absorbed in the other changes that have already taken place as a result of the law. Perhaps they were wondering what new initiatives or data entry fields will come our way in the name of staying “competitive” in these “challenging times,” or perhaps they’ve already started weighing their other options – I’m not sure.

But most of us are putting our heads down and doing our jobs. We still have to worry about our patients, certifications and re-certifications, families, malpractice premiums, education expenses, unending charts/results/e-mails and even our health.  We simply can't afford the luxury of political banter.  Medicine is still interesting, rewarding, troubling, lucrative, but it’s becoming increasingly unrelenting, too.

Thirty-million more people added to our national health care roster will certainly keep us busy. Even now, we’re learning new business ways to function. We are using scribes, mid-levels and lower-levels, too.  Our smartphones have officially become more important than our stethoscopes as speed of care trumps thoroughness of care as far as business matters are concerned.   After all, information and how it's used is everything now in medicine - touch, not so much.

But I still wonder how we’ll continue to pay for all of our new top-down health care bureaucracy when our health care bill (even with the newly anointed “Obamacare tax”) costs continue to exceed inflation year after year after year.  Our new law may be Constitutional, but it still just a big experiment.

But that’s not something a doctor should care about.  I should just stop worrying.  After all, the Big Boys of health care will handle it, remember?  And now everyone has insurance!

It'll be fine.  Really. 




Anonymous said...

"Thirty-million more people added to our national health care roster will certainly keep us busy" - Do you really believe this? Yes 30 million more insured, but do you think men, especially young men are going to go to their doctor more often? I am 60 and work with many 45-60+ year old men, all of us have had health insurance for 25+ years, and none of us go to the doctor unless we are forced to by our spouses. Women maybe, especially pregnant women, but won't that be a good thing? Will more people have a GP? Hopefully, and hopefully it will reduce ER visits to true emergency cases. I think you will find that things will not change that much for an EP. Am I naïve? Probably. But was the old system working that great? Not. Your rants about spending face time with patients and DRG payments decreases started long before Obamacare. EMR was happening with or without it. Last, 10,000 babyboomers a day are already entering the existing National Healthcare system, Medicare, regardless. It is these 65+ year olds that are going to keep you busy. Just sayin.

Anonymous said...

Doc, They must need great doctors somewhere where you would be comfortable. Make these years count for you. I hate to see you so unhappy. It's painful to listen to you struggle so.

nmailer said...

Cutting out the straw men, your article is probably best summarised "oh, if only we could enforce eugenics to stop me from being troubled by those not worthy of my care".

Steve Parker, M.D. said...

I'm reminded of my favorite quote from WhiteCoat's Call Room:

"Health care insurance doesn’t mean access to medical care any more than car insurance means you have access to a car."


Pluripotent said...

Complacency is a large part of why health care is the mess that it is, and why doctors have been pushed out of the doctor/patient relationship.