Monday, June 15, 2009
Doctors Oppose Mandates
by Ron Spangler
What happens when private doctors have mandates placed upon them by hospitals, local, state, or federal governments?
I recently learned that one of three local orthopedic surgeons in my small town serving not only the county but surrounding counties will no longer perform surgeries in our county hospital. Instead he will only perform surgeries in another hospital 35 miles away in another county. Why, because our hospital has mandated that any doctor affiliated with them must work at the hospital on a rotating shift similar to their days as a resident. If you do not fully understand the difference between resident and fully qualified specialist in private practice check out "A Doctor's Medical Training and Experience".
The surgeon I am speaking about for obvious reasons does not wish his name to be made public. He is a well respected specialist with many years in his field but has decided he is simply too old to return to a resident status working a 24 hr shift simply to have the benefits associated with being affiliated with our county hospital. Like the other Orthopedic Surgeons, he currently has a large number of patients and can only accept new patients by referral. And yes, there is a waiting list to see him. Will the other two follow suit, only time will tell.
The reason I am telling his story is because with the Obama plan for Socialized Medicine I fear more doctors will find themselves in the same position. If a doctor believes he is too old to work the same grueling hours 24/7 that they did while in training to become a doctor, ask yourself would I really want him doing surgery on me. The answer is probably no. Most surgeons prefer to operate when they are refreshed and at the top of their game. No surgeon in his right mind would voluntarily perform a surgery after pulling a 24 hr shift at a hospital, unless it was an absolute emergency. Doctors are human and must be able to make certain decisions especially on their abilities. I don't believe this doctor is too old (early 50's) but the point is he does.
If Obama's plan to Socialize Medicine and mandate certain policies to American physicians (like they have Socialized General Motors) how many doctors at this age will say enough is enough and simply retire or close up shop?
If you are curios why the hospital came up with this new policy it is quite simple, money. The three Orthopedic Surgeons were doing most of their surgeries out of a local Same Day Surgery facility. Patients were given the option of having their surgery performed at either location, the hospital or the Same Day facility. Most surgeries that were not overly complicated were performed at the local facility. It is cheaper and the care given the patient by the staff is more of a personal one on one basis than at the local hospital. Since more patients were electing this facility over the hospital, our hospital has seen a significant drop in revenue for surgical procedures. The hospital that the surgeon will be affiliated with has no such policy. Like the Obama plan, no one knows how this new policy will play out.