Monday, July 20, 2009

The Prime Beneficiary of Our Health Care System

Unfortunately, under the current system, it's not patients. Or doctors.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Worse than McAllen?

If anyone wants to know why we need healthcare reform yesterday, all they have to do is read this newspaper article about a patient who spent 12 hours at the Fort Walton Beach Medical Center in Florida and racked up charges totaling $211,941.50 before being transferred to a 2nd hospital where an additional $400,000 in charges were run up in 12 more hours.

Granted, this case sounds like the patient was very ill because they ended up dying. But still. These charges are ridiculous.

I mean, $354 for 2 mg of Lorazepam? You can get a 2 mg tablet of Lorazepam at Costco for 37 cents.

When Dr. Atul Gawande wrote about the high healthcare costs of McAllen, TX, who knew there were actually places even more expensive to get medical care?

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Medical Revolution

One of my patients posted this article about my practice, I am sorry to confess, back in February. I have been meaning to post a link to it, but always put it off, waiting for an opportune time to write a decent entry for this well-written article about alternative practice models, including the Ideal Medical Practice movement:
There is a revolt afoot across the land.

Doctors are rebelling against the burden of health care insurance paperwork. They are rebelling against having to deal with upward of 12,000 procedure and drug codes that add expense and time to their practices, keeping them from giving full attention to patients.

This means fewer and fewer doctors are going into general practice, opting instead for specializations, which double their income and insulate themselves, to some degree, from the burden of health insurance paperwork.

He compares and contrasts my practice vs. a traditional medical office.
Your doctor: you have to wait some time for an appointment. Your doctor spends less than 15 minutes with you before referring you to a specialist who, in turn, takes a long time to see.

My doctor: I can have an appointment the same or next day or whenever is convenient for me. My doctor will spend as much time with me as we both feel is necessary.

Your doctor: You check in with a receptionist who gives you forms to fill out. You stew in the waiting room for some period of time before being ushered into an examination room by a nurse who asks all the same questions you already provided. You wait for another interminable time (without the out-of-date medical journals and golf magazines that were outside).

My doctor: He meets me at the door since he has no nurse, receptionist or other staff, which keeps overheads -- and his charges -- low.
He has been a big supporter of my practice for years, and I appreciate his efforts in helping to spread the word about alternatives to the current dysfunctional healthcare system we have now. He is a much accomplished man, a veteran, a captain of the financial industry, a man of letters with a sharp wit, a loving husband, a doting father and grandfather, and a friend.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. And so, I say, "Well done, Mr. Sharp."


Monday, July 06, 2009

Moses Explains the US Healthcare System

Well, it's as good an explanation as any, and frankly more comprehensible than most.

From Gods Playing Poker: