Monday, December 15, 2008

DB’s Medical Rants » but patients cannot find a doctor

This blogger writes about medicare in United States. There is some similarities in the language. There are problems in some areas here on the old continent as well. Smaller cities with health care units have difficulties to attract doctors. I learned about Dr. Robert M. Centor through Twitter - a microblogging service: "Any attempt to make health care more accessible will fail without improving primary care "
db is the nickname for Dr. Robert M. Centor. db stand both for Dr. Bob and da boss. Thus, my golfing buddies nicknamed me db (for Dr. Bob) and my colleagues also nicknamed me db (for da boss).

I am an academic general internist at the University of Alabama School of Medicine. I serve as the Division Director of General Internal Medicine in Birmingham and as the Associate Dean for the Huntsville Regional Medical Campus of UASOM. I also serve as a frequent ward attending at the Birmingham VA Hospital.

This blog represents my thoughts and in no way represents any of my employers.

DB’s Medical Rants » but patients cannot find a doctor: "Where Have All the Doctors Gone? The primary care crisis raises questions not just about future access but about current morale.

“There was a tremendous amount of disenchantment, frustration, all bordering around one thing,” Tim Norbeck, the executive director of the Physicians’ Foundation, said of the survey. 'Doctors feel they can’t spend enough time with their patients because of the paperwork and red tape hassles.”

Mr. Norbeck added: “Physicians went into medicine to spend more time with their patients, and that time has just been eroding. There’s serious reason to believe that there won’t be enough doctors to cover people sooner than we thought.”

Regular readers of this blog will recall how often I emphasize time. As a physician our only currency is time. Whenever we are not seeing patients, we are not making money.

We have the confluence of many undesirable problems. Unfortunately, we can trace many problems back to the creation of a government bureaucracy - Medicare.

Please follow my argument before you start your commentary. Medicare provides a wonderful benefit to patients. Health care is expensive. The price of health care has increased much faster than income. (Please note that I chose the word price her than cost.)

Because prices are increasing, Medicare has tried classic bureaucratic techniques to minimize expenses. Our billing system requires extensive documentation. If we do not document well, then we are not paid appropriately. "

Here is the Twitter source focusing on Big Government Health:
Let's get back to DB's blog. Dr. Robert M. Centor writes about his blog that has been around for quite some time. Since 2002. It would be interesting to know how many blogging doctors we have in the Nordic Countries. I know that a few do it UK, Germany, all around Europe but the numbers aren't big. Medicare is an information intensive activity or industry. It would be nice to know more medical bloggers.

On May 19th, 2002 I started this blog. I had become fascinated with the concept of blogging. Prior to starting this blog, I played with a non-medical blog.

One day I stumbled upon Medpundit, and immediately thought that I would enjoy creating my own medical blog - hence db’s Medical Rants.

The tenor of the blog has changed over time. Originally, I did much more linking and less philosophizing. Over the years I seem to enjoy writing short essays.

My opinions are my own. I hope that I make readers think. Many readers write comments either when they agree or disagree. I find that interaction healthy.

Thanks for visiting my personal place to rant and pontificate.

Listen to db's thoughts in a brief podcast about his blog by going to the hyperlinked page.

Here is a short quote from a CNN web page.

A U.S. shortage of 35,000 to 40,000 primary care physicians by 2025 was predicted at last week's American Medical Association annual meeting.

In the survey, the foundation sent questionnaires to more than 270,000 primary care doctors and more than 50,000 specialists nationwide.

Of the 12,000 respondents, 49 percent said they'd consider leaving medicine. Many said they are overwhelmed with their practices, not because they have too many patients, but because there's too much red tape generated from insurance companies and government agencies.

And if that many physicians stopped practicing, that could be devastating to the health care industry. Video Dr. Gupta: Watch more on the looming doctor dearth »

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