Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Medical Care

Its a long story, but I am an accidental physician. It wasn't my burning ambition since I was a tot. However, I do love it, and my job is to help people, which is an awesome joy, as well as an awesome responsibility. My policy, even as a member of a large group, has been to see anyone who comes, insurance, no insurance, good insurance, barter for goats, whatever. In the past few years, our malpractice insurance rates have tripled, and the reimbursment for public aid patients(those who are poor or sick and get insurance from the state, as opposed to medicare, which is federal and for people over 65) averages 7%. In otherwords, if the bill is for $100, we get $7. So, doctors in my speciality all over this great state are refusing to see patients with public aid. And, those of us who are willing to see patients with this insurance, see more and more, as there are less and less doctors serving the population. At our last partners meeting, it was proposed that we limit the number of patients seen with this public aid insurance. Not that we will refuse, but limit the number per day seen, so that more patients with good insurance can be seen. We calculated that if we reach a certain percentage of public aid patients, we would not even be able to cover the office expenses and the malpractice, to say nothing of taking somthing home. Now, for those cynics and liberals out there(and btw, I am one of the only democrats in the group), please dont send me the "rich doctor" comments. I am not pleading poverty, and thank God that is not an issue. However, I know personally at least 5 doctors who have relocated or stopped practicing, because it wasn't worth it to them. What is worse, we are getting a two tier system of healthcare, and people who care(hopefully I am one of those), get squeezed in the middle. More later

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