Welcome to ObamaCare. Making really bad health care affordable and mandatory. If you have any complaints, please see the Obama Voter on your right and collect your mandatory six-thousand dollar birth control at the exit.
In recent years, a growing number of doctors have begun holding group appointments — seeing up to a dozen patients with similar medical concerns all at once. Advocates of the approach say such visits allow doctors to treat more patients, spend more time with them (even if not one-on-one), increase appointment availability and improve health outcomes.
You see this is good news. It allows doctors to spend more time with large numbers of patients with outwardly similar medical problems. This way a doctor can see a dozen patients with stomachaches while trying to guess which one might have cancer. (If he guesses wrong, you die.)
Now there will be more appointments to see doctors as part of large groups. And once the groups hit a 100, there will be even more appointments available. You may even be able to see your doctor in under three months.
Some see group appointments as a way to ease looming physician shortages. According to a study published in December, meeting the country’s health-care needs will require nearly 52,000 additional primary-care physicians by 2025. More than 8,000 of that total will be needed for the more than 27 million people newly insured under the Affordable Care Act.
“With Obamacare, we’re going to get a lot of previously uninsured people coming into the system, and the question will be ‘How are we going to service these people well?’ ” says Edward Noffsinger, who has developed group-visit models and consults with providers on their implementation. With that approach, “doctors can be more efficient and patients can have more time with their doctors.”
Doctors can be more efficient at providing bad medical care while patients can have hardly any time with their doctors, because they’re actually standing in line to get medical exams with 11 strangers in a room while talking over each other about their medical problems.
Suddenly Cuban medicine is looking surprisingly good.
Some of the most successful shared appointments bring together patients with the same chronic condition, such as diabetes or heart disease. For example, in a diabetes group visit, a doctor might ask everyone to remove their shoes so he can examine their feet for sores or signs of infection, among other things.
This is how doctors handled medical problems when visiting Third World countries or distant army bases. But we can now enjoy the same quality of medicine as Sub-Saharan Africa.
Insurance typically covers a group appointment just as it would an individual appointment; there is no change in the co-pay amount. Insurers generally focus on the level of care provided rather than where it’s provided or how many people are in the room, Noffsinger says.
Isn’t that great. So doctors can make more money not treating patients. And patients can co-pay the same amount to not great treated. Its’ perfect.
Patients sign an agreement promising not to disclose what they discuss at the meeting. Although some patients are initially hesitant about the approach, doctors say their shyness generally evaporates quickly.
“We tell people, ‘You don’t have to say anything,’ ” says Edward Shahady, medical director of the Diabetes Master Clinician Program at the Florida Academy of Family Physicians Foundation in Jacksonville. Shahady trains medical residents and physicians to conduct group visits with diabetes patients. “But give them 10 minutes, and they’re talking about their sex lives.”
Isn’t it great how cheerful and upbeat everyone in this article is. Reminds me of those North Korea propaganda flicks where everyone is just thrilled to be eating bark from a tree. “It’s bark and it’s good for you. And it frees up vital resources for fighting capitalism.”
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, 12.7 percent of family physicians conducted group visits in 2010, up from 5.7 percent in 2005.
Doctors say patients may learn more from each other than they do from physicians. “Patients really want to hear what others patients are experiencing, ” Shahady says.
Oddly something has recently been invented that can help with that. It’s called the internet. People can easily find forums dealing with their medical problems.
When patients go to a doctor, they’ll looking for answers from a medical authority, not a group therapy session. But this is the new reality. It’s ObamaCare. And it tastes great! And it frees up resources for fighting capitalism.