Whenever I go to medical conferences and talk with “conventional doctors” they seem to have nothing but complaints. So when I saw the results of one recent survey which showed that 60% of physicians surveyed have considered leaving medical practice, I was not surprised.
What exactly are physicians complaining about? They complain about forms needing filled out – workers comp, disability, SSI, long-term-care insurance, FMLA. Forms for nebulizers, commodes, handrails, oxygen, home health nurses, adult diapers, wheelchairs, physical therapy, or the dreaded power wheelchair/scooter doctoral dissertation. Forms to attest that someone can enter a nursing home, play soccer, work out at a gym, be in an assisted-living facility, do chair exercise at the senior center, or that he or she is , free from a communicable disease.
They complain about writing a prescription for Winner med only to find out it is not on the patient’s pharmacy plan. So they phone in SecondBest instead, but the formulary gods will only approve RunnerUp, but they fight for SecondBest and win. Until the patient calls because SecondBest is still a second-tier drug with a $50 co-pay. So the patient wants the doctor to prescribe something cheaper.
They complain about their malpractice rates increasing from $2500 to $25,000 in the last 10 years. Or they complain about the HMO’s telling them what they can and can not do in caring for their patients. They complain of lower reimbursements even though their overhead is rising. Or they complain about how they need to see patients every 10 minutes because financially they can’t survive otherwise. And they complain of that patients do not do what they are to asked to do.
I was fortunate when I started my practice that I avoided signing up under any HMO’s or PPO’s or Medicare. Although patients have to pay cash for my services they know that they are getting the best personalized care that I can provide. Plus I am fortunate that those patients who come to me want to take an active part in their healing. I enjoy what I do and can not imagine doing anything else for the next 15 or 20 years.
Terry Pfau, DO, HMD