I quit practicing medicine in 2003 at the age of 43. Burned out. Like most doctors I went into medicine with a lot of idealism. The first half of my medical career was in the Army (they paid for my medical education). The second half was in private practice.-Monte Ladner, M.D., responding to a blog post by Paul Krugman.
In the Army system, a single payer system, I was free to focus my attention on patient care, as were my colleagues. Conversations between doctors revolved around the latest medical research on how to best care for our patients. I never thought about how much money a particular treatment option for a patient would earn for me - I was paid a salary and it was the same no matter what treatment options I chose. I never had to deal with getting an insurance company to pay me for my medical services after I had already given them. I never had to argue with an insurance company after they denied my treatment plan for a patient as "medically unnecessary."
In private practice I was horrified to see how money was the driving force behind everything doctors did (do).
...Worst of all, I saw patients routinely suffer from unnecessary, expensive, and often harmful treatment interventions that were clearly chosen because they earned the most money for the doctor and the hospital.
I even had the bizarre experience of having an insurance company try to convince me to pursue a series of invasive surgical procedures in a particular patient instead of the much less expensive exercise program I had recommended because the series of surgical procedures was in their algorithm for treating the diagnostic code I had assigned the patient and exercise wasn’t.
...I agree with Dr. Krugman - there is no place for “free market ideas” in medicine - at least not if you want your doctor to actually take care of you.
28 July 2009
Something's Gotta Give
Quote of the Day:
Posted by Wayne at 7/28/2009