Bye Bye Family Doctor?
It was rather alarming to hear a Garland based pediatrician state that “The family doctor is going the way of the corner grocer”. It has become increasingly less feasible to function in a given medical practice, she continued. In the recent past the trend has been towards combining practices and functioning as a medical group. That too is becoming difficult to maintain, as large corporations are now challenging traditional medical practices.
Our conversation continued as she expressed concern for a lack of doctor-patient relationships that is evolving. Her pediatric practice involves family units. Children are not capable of attending to follow-ups that include medications and special care instructions. Many times her practice has involved caring for multiple generations in a single family. The current trend towards retail medical care on a conveyor belt basis eliminates that type of relationship.
As Walmart has replaced the small grocer who knew your name and gave you a level of personal service that has never been replaced so goes healthcare, according to this Garland pediatrician. The “Affordable Care Act” has been proven unaffordable,: Most of her patients are on Medicaid, which are Federal and State funded. A claim must be filled with the government for each patient visit. There are penalties for errors in these fillings. Office staff is required in order to handle the paperwork. Medicaid pays this pediatrician 35 dollars a visit per patient. With overhead that includes those extremely high insurance premiums medical practices require, she is not able to see enough patients in one day to make ends meet. Our dedicated pediatrician has no intention of abandoning her medical career. She is in it for the long haul, and will continue to care for her patients, no matter the cost.
It is understandable that many former doctors have chosen other careers. If our healthcare system remains on this path it will be the PA (physician assistant) who will be seeing patients in the future, as doctors are phased out in order to enhance corporate bottom lines. Following our interview with this healthcare provider, we initiated discussions with other friends and associates to get their views. Those covered by private insurance plans pay astronomical monthly premiums with $5,000 deductibles. Those who can afford those premiums have opted to pay a penalty and seek medical and dental care outside the boundaries of the United States. The hospital business is not faring well in this climate either. Our Garland hospital closed down giving way to financial pressures, leaving Garland citizens without a hospital within the city limits. The hospital will reopen sometime in the near future as a VA (Veteran’s Administration) hospital.
While the powers that be work to improve our current healthcare system, other industries are profiting. More attention is now being given to prevention. The sale of vitamin supplements, exercise equipment, and health foods are at an all time high and climbing. Chiropractic medicine is enjoying an increase in popularity and health clubs are popping up everywhere. As we work on our overall health we hope to limit the need for health care.