Office Visit: Physician, Patient Disconnect

By Hupfeld, Stanley | THE JOURNAL RECORD, May 3, 2016 | Go to article overview

Office Visit: Physician, Patient Disconnect


Hupfeld, Stanley, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Do you like your doctor? Do you really like your doctor? Fortunately, as it turns out, most of us do.

In my 40 years of health administration it's been my privilege to know thousands of physicians. They are as a group uniformly smart, and as a group committed to their practice. But some surveys tell us there is a growing disconnect between many of us and our physicians. There are a number of reasons for this but I suspect the main one is time. Physicians simply are running out of time. Let me explain.

Medicare pays the average physician 60 percent of cost. Medicaid somewhat less. In many states Medicaid physician fees fall woefully short of what it costs the average physician to simply open their door, turn on the lights, and pay the staff. That is why many physicians have simply stopped taking Medicaid patients. They refuse to subsidize the state government with their hard work.

As a result of the declining reimbursement and ever increasing regulatory pressures, a typical physician's pathway to economic success depends on throughput. Since they are making less money for each patient visit, they need to cram more patient visits into each day.

If you feel particularly rushed by your doctor, if you feel they don't listen as much as you would like, then we must understand their practice economics are driving this behavior. …

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