Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Sign of the Times

Aaron Blackledge, MD, of CarePractice in San Francisco has a message that he would like to share with the public about the current state of the healthcare system.

Being a primary care doctor these days is becoming more and more discouraging with the current payment system and insurance hassles, so much so that doctors are working less hours as noted in this Washington Post article:

Average hours dropped from about 55 to 51 hours per week from 1996 to 2008, according to the analysis, appearing in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association.
That's the equivalent of losing 36,000 doctors in a decade, according to the researchers. And it raises policy questions amid a looming primary care doctor shortage and Congress considering an expansion of health insurance coverage that would mean more patients.
It's not hard to figure out why.
The overall decrease in hours coincided with a 25 percent decline in pay for doctors' services, adjusted for inflation. And when the researchers looked closely at U.S. cities with the lowest and highest doctor fees, they found doctors working shorter hours in the low-fee cities and longer hours in the high-fee cities.
Unless there is meaningful healthcare reform soon, things will probably get worse before they get better.