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In a new national poll, doctors say they must now decide if they can continue practicing medicine in their patients’ best interest or bow to bureaucratically-set restrictions that take precedence over patient necessities. Another stark choice some doctors ponder is: Can I afford to quit medicine altogether? The language of respondents is stark and often angry.
The survey of 36,000 physicians by the Doctor Patient Medical Association Foundation (DPMAF), with a better than average return, revealed a most disturbing future for the health care of all Americans.
Doctors responded from 45 states. (130 didn’t identify their specific geographical location). Most (81 percent) were in small group practice. Most have been in practice for from 11 to 30 years. The survey, conducted by fax and online, was completed in June. Of those responding:
- 90 percent say the medical system is “on the wrong track.”
- 83 percent say they are “thinking about quitting.”
- 61 percent said the system “challenges their ethics.”
- 70 percent say “reducing government would be the single best fix.”
A Texas Orthopedist wrote, “I have been in practice 28 years and medicine is now the worst for doctors it has ever been.” A Wisconsin anesthesiologist wrote, “I would not consider letting my teenagers become physicians.” A Kansas sports medicine doctor wrote: “Medicine is circling the drain. Heaven help us as we age.”
“I did not go to school for 25-plus years to be a computer programmer for the federal government,” testily responded a Florida ophthalmologist.
A Missouri physician concluded, “Medicine is no longer about treating and taking care of patients. I spend more time telling patients about additional paperwork they need to fill in.”
Two out of three surveyed answered that electronic medical records (EMR) [required by ObamaCare] compromise medical privacy and confidentiality. A neurologist from Missouri writes, “Electronic medical records…should not be connected to the outside world to avoid confidentiality abuse.” A Massachusetts psychiatrist added: “EMR has no place in psychiatric practice.”
A Florida endocrinologist branded ObamaCare as “a monstrous bill designed to give government COMPLETE control over our lives.” A New Hampshire doctor practicing internal medicine wrote: “Government gets away with rationing by making doctors the scapegoats that an ACO made a profit by skimping on care.” He referred to the Accountable Care Organizations (ACO). They take up only seven pages of the massive Affordable Care Act. Yet they have become one of the most confusing provisions. This latest model for delivering services offers primary-care doctors and hospitals financial incentives to provide “quality” care (as defined by bureaucrats) to Medicare beneficiaries while clamping down on costs. It is one of the more controversial provisions of ObamaCare, among the 150 programs, agencies, and boards in the law.
One physician who separated himself as much as possible from government intrusion wrote happily: “I opted out of Medicare and Medicaid for 12 years now as an internal medicine practitioner. I have never been busier, deliver a high quality service, am financially secure, and cannot wait to go to work every day,” according to that Minnesota internist.
Doctors also scoff at declared cost-cutting tactics falsely promised by the Obama Administration. They are quite “unlikely to do so,” many said. “Only the free market will fix this mess,” wrote a Texas OB-GYN.
Two out of three physicians answering the survey say they are “just squeaking by or are losing money, and half expect that financial situation to worsen in the next five years. A Pennsylvania ophthalmologist wrote, “As a solo doc, I am being forced out of my practice by the bureaucracy…Those that suffer will be the patients.”
A Washington State family practitioner said: “I would be willing to do charity care weekly for the poor and uninsured if there was tort reform.”
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