I have noticed several changes over the last few years in the practice of medicine. I am convinced these changes reflect the deterioration of the US medical system. Government intervention, medical-legal liability, advertisement, and a globally worsening economy probably trigger these changes.
Did you Know?
- Viagra used to cost $10 a pill, a patient recently reported a price tag of $750 dollars for 10 pills??
- 5 years ago 6% of my practice was cash payment, now 26%. (Less insured, not more since Obama-care??)
- 85% of the conditions I treat are related to either nutrition or stress
- Many medical conditions previously, routinely, treated in hospital settings, now get treated as an outpatient.
- Insurance carriers and government payers are now indirectly practicing medicine by dictating to patients and physicians what they WILL and WON’T pay for.
- The ER has now become the “catch all” for after-hours care, even minor colds and injuries.
- Physicians rarely take call anymore, instead many simple leave a message stating, “If sick after hours, go to the ER.”
- Many medical practices are being sold to large medical carriers or hospital systems
- Patient’s believe doctors have a “Pill for everything”
- Patients believe genetics play the biggest role in health
- Average copay = $3o, more than half the typical charge for a primary care visit
- As Insurance companies buy medical practices in my community, my colleagues are now working for the same people paying for patient care….hmmm
- Preventative Care = Ordering routine tests, NOT talking about nutrition, stress, or lifestyle issues.
- Many of my colleagues warn me they will close their practices when Obama-care is fully implemented
- Patients frequently express anger over impersonal treatment in hospitals, ER’s and specialty offices
- Many beneficial treatments (ie. Physical Therapy, psychotherapy, acupuncture, nutritional counseling and massage) are NOT covered by insurance or have huge copay’s to discourage usage.
- Patients express greater trust in their friends and online resources than health care professionals for health care advice
Do I have an answer for the above comments, a grand plan? No.
However, I do believe we as a community must look inward and rediscover our own innate understandings of health and actually use those resources.
I believe truly preventing disease requires doctors to address real issues like encouraging lifestyle choices that reverse epidemics like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
We should challenge food industries and question what we consume.
We should individually explore why we’re too busy for light routine physical activity.
Individuals should learn how frenetic lifestyles affect our hormones, leading to illness and disease. For my physician colleagues, continuing down the same path will render us irrelevant to patient’s as “standard” treatments simply treat symptoms and not the cause. Worse yet, our cures are often worse than the disease.
Change is often a good thing. Change isn’t always comfortable. These observations from my daily walk in private practice simply reflect change. The change is coming because our current care model is neither effective or efficient.
The current healthcare model focuses on SICK CARE and not WELL CARE.
My message to everyone? Embrace small lifestyle changes, re-claim your own ability to improve your health.
Health doesn’t come in a bottle.