Tuesday, August 18, 2009

4 Out Of 5 Doctors

I don't know that 4 out of 5 doctors agree with the sentiments expressed in the video. There are some who do.
CHICAGO—The American College of Surgeons is deeply disturbed over the uninformed public comments President Obama continues to make about the high-quality care provided by surgeons in the United States. When the President makes statements that are incorrect or not based in fact, we think he does a disservice to the American people at a time when they want clear, understandable facts about health care reform. We want to set the record straight.

Yesterday during a town hall meeting, President Obama got his facts completely wrong. He stated that a surgeon gets paid $50,000 for a leg amputation when, in fact, Medicare pays a surgeon between $740 and $1,140 for a leg amputation. This payment also includes the evaluation of the patient on the day of the operation plus patient follow-up care that is provided for 90 days after the operation. Private insurers pay some variation of the Medicare reimbursement for this service.

Three weeks ago, the President suggested that a surgeon’s decision to remove a child’s tonsils is based on the desire to make a lot of money. That remark was ill-informed and dangerous, and we were dismayed by this characterization of the work surgeons do. Surgeons make decisions about recommending operations based on what’s right for the patient.

We agree with the President that the best thing for patients with diabetes is to manage the disease proactively to avoid the bad consequences that can occur, including blindness, stroke, and amputation. But as is the case for a person who has been treated for cancer and still needs to have a tumor removed, or a person who is in a terrible car crash and needs access to a trauma surgeon, there are times when even a perfectly managed diabetic patient needs a surgeon. The President’s remarks are truly alarming and run the risk of damaging the all-important trust between surgeons and their patients.
For the most part Americans like their doctors. To cast aspersions on them as merely mercenaries has got to rub the people those doctors help the wrong way.

And how about those Canadian doctors? They warn of a melt down in the Canadian health care system.
SASKATOON — The incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association says this country's health-care system is sick and doctors need to develop a plan to cure it.

Dr. Anne Doig says patients are getting less than optimal care and she adds that physicians from across the country - who will gather in Saskatoon on Sunday for their annual meeting - recognize that changes must be made.

"We all agree that the system is imploding, we all agree that things are more precarious than perhaps Canadians realize," Doing said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"We know that there must be change," she said. "We're all running flat out, we're all just trying to stay ahead of the immediate day-to-day demands."

The pitch for change at the conference is to start with a presentation from Dr. Robert Ouellet, the current president of the CMA, who has said there's a critical need to make Canada's health-care system patient-centred.
Now isn't that special. A health care system that is not very interested in the care the patients of the system receive. But the costs are contained. More or less.

And what does the doctor say about the cure for ills of the Canadian System?
Ouellet has been saying since his return that "a health-care revolution has passed us by," that it's possible to make wait lists disappear while maintaining universal coverage and "that competition should be welcomed, not feared."

In other words, Ouellet believes there could be a role for private health-care delivery within the public system.

He has also said the Canadian system could be restructured to focus on patients if hospitals and other health-care institutions received funding based on the patients they treat, instead of an annual, lump-sum budget. This "activity-based funding" would be an incentive to provide more efficient care, he has said.
If the problem in America is inadequate resources there are only two ways to fix the problem. Provide more resources - thus raising the total expenditures or cut services to those already in the system. I think it is the prospective cut in services that has those already insured coming out to the town halls.

And those end of life decisions? Families want to make those kinds of decisions. They do not want to hand them over to an accountant in Washington. They certainly don't want President Obama deciding if you get the heart pacemaker or just the red pill.

1 comment:

RavingDave said...

I was at a "Town Hall" meeting on health care last week which featured for Members of our State Legislature. When the topic of the Canadian Health care system was brought up, one of the Democrat legislatures mentioned that he has two Canadian doctors attending his church every Sunday. About ten minutes later he corrected himself. He said that Actually, the number is 3 Canadian doctors attending his church. He forgot one of the Doctors was married to a Doctor, so it was a Wife/Husband doctor couple.
I was a little amazed. If *3* Canadian doctors had left Canada and were attending a (I think he said Methodist) church in a town of 100,000, then the exodus of Canadian doctors (by extrapolation) must be HUGE !

All they have to do to solve that problem is have the State order them to stay put and be a good little slave. Of course their enthusiasm for medicine might suffer a bit. :)