Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Friday, December 15, 2006

With Friends Like These...

Here is a fascinating take on how things got this bad despite the alleged advocacy of the AMA and American Academy of Family Physicians (from the AAFP Practice Management bulletin board; with permission from Dr. KS):
I know [organized medicine is] well intentioned ... but I am afraid that in the final analysis they have hurt us far more than helped us.

The reason is because they fostered the illusion that we can work with the Government and Insurance Companies for the benefit of all. They have encouraged us to be patient and just learn how to work with this new small inconvenience because it could have been much worse. The result is the free market has been totally removed from health care and we are now fully controlled by entities who will slowly squeeze us until we have nothing more to give up.

I believe that if the AMA/AAFP had not been there encouraging us to be good little boys and girls and just be patient, physicians would have risen up long ago and rejected what they have done to us.
This message was in response to an invitation to next year's AMA meeting in Chicago to "voice your concerns." For many years now I have felt that the emperor's wardrobe was getting a little ragged, but of course who listens to one little old dinosaur off in a solo office somewhere. Other posts in response to the message above pointed out that all the dues we've paid over all these years has supported the mailings and publications and lobbying, plus keeping all of the administrators and employees in the style to which they have become accustomed, without demonstrably affecting the day-to-day problems with government intrusion, ever-changing insurance company demands and constantly declining reimbursements.

No wonder it feels like my pockets are being picked on all sides.


At Sat Dec 16, 03:32:00 AM, Blogger Dex said...

"Healthcare" as a political issue, and "doctors" in particular, are political landmines. High energy/low yield. It is more expedient and politically rewarding to ignore the elephant in the living room, because it is such a gigantic f*@#$er.

When politicos do engage the issues, it results in empty platitudes--"44 million Americans without health insurance..." AND? Plan? or the political equivalent of a slasher movie--
: Spitzer versus the volcano.

Fact is, Medicaid consumes 44% of the NYS budget. Spitzer's enactment of the Berger commission's reforms are long overdue. Opposing the reforms are Local 1199/Seiu (I am a happy member--they won a $10,000 increase in my salary), and the Greater NY Hospital Ass'n.

One of the things that struck me the most, and that endeared me the most, to NYC when I moved here was the ubiquity of social services. For example, NYC is the only city in the U.S. where housing is guaranteed.

The Berger Commission Report, yet to be ratified by the NYS Senate (to the tune of 1.5 billion federal dollars if they do), will effect the closing of several smaller hospitals and nursing homes in the metropolitan NYC area. What will this mean? Disruption of services, denial of benefits, and further burden upon the remaining ERs and NHs.

You'll notice that doctor's associations are not mentioned in articles concerning hospital closings or the Berger commissions. That's becuase we don't organize or represent ourselves well. To hospitals, we are independent contractors, necessary but replaceable. To patients, we are bearers of bad tidings and greedy vampires. To insurance companies, we represent costs that must be contained. To pharmaceutical companies, we are consumers that must be sold on their product. In all of these cases, we are the linchpin of healthcare delivery and money. Yet our voice is the quietest of them all. Why is that?

At Sat Dec 16, 05:51:00 AM, Blogger Big Lebowski Store said...

Tell you what: a heck of a lot more folks are paying attention to solo docs via the blogosphere and loose networks like it, than are listening to our so-called professional organizations. I'll keep paying dues, but I don't expect the AMA and the AAP to represent me.



At Sat Dec 16, 07:54:00 AM, Blogger MedStudentGod (MSG) said...

I've decided to not re-up my AMA membership when the time comes. I've not been impressed with them thus far and won't support an organization financially whose motives are suspect.

At Sun Dec 17, 08:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I recall correctly, a few years ago the maintenance staff at AMA headquarters held a media event to protest that the AMA didn't provide them with decent health insurance. They presented a heart carved out of ice to the powers that be.

AMA, heal thyself!


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