What Xmas Means to Me (not really) by Pat Conrad MD

Oh Christmas, many gather to celebrate the birth of a baby born a while back on the other side of the world.  In Florida, doctors and lawyers gather together to celebrate the birth of a different child.  Joining hands in a circle recalling the most hellish of W.H.O.ville’s (ironic, that), all beam inwardly at toward the center of the circle where sits…the neurologically injured newborn.

“The Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association (NICA) was created by the Florida Legislature in 1988. NICA is a statutory organization that manages the Florida Birth Related Neurological Injury Compensation Plan (“Plan”) used to pay for the care of infants born with certain neurological injuries.  By eliminating costly legal proceedings… ensures that birth-injured infants receive the care they need while reducing the financial burden on medical providers and families.”  Of course malpractice rates never dropped.  Dr. Seuss couldn’t have written it better, but even he would likely have to pony up ……the $250 every Florida physician has to pay every year..  I am not an OB, and my greatest delivery skill is to rapidly get the no-prenatal-care-contractions-all-damn-day multigravida the hell out of my ER and to some nearby L& D as rapidly as legally permissible..  To date I have never had an uncomplicated delivery (when forced to by horrid circumstances), and the only birth complications I tend to see are latent, those of being born to dull-witted progenitors (“parents” seeming a trifle generous).  The point here is that I’m shanked every year for something I have nothing to do with, and no power to improve or prevent.  You might think I’m overly complainful, but I didn’t see you in the ER earning those extra couple of Franklins.

As the old year gives way to the new, the fun is just cranking:  I practice in two different states, and when the New Year’s Eve anascope drops at midnight, my keepers in both states, along with our benevolent federal government will have plucked from my obviously guilty clutches:

Alabama medical license ($300) plus controlled substances license ($150); Florida medical license ($391); ABFM certification maintenance ($235); DEA license renewal ($731); and oh yes, the damnable NICA fund’s $250, for a festive total of $2,057.

This of course does not include required CME, required fingerprinting charges, my own administrative time, and whatever time I wasted, drink in hand, on these idiotic MOC’s)

And now yuletide reader, here is the point:  over two grand may not seem like a lot to some of you, and others of you will sniff that this is merely “the cost of doing business”, through which I should languish more stoically.  But these costs are all incurred at the demand of a society i.e. patients and their surrogates, which mandates, and then forces the target to pay for said activity.  Rent, malpractice premiums, coffee filters, the light bill…those are all proper business costs.  These charges I have listed are the price of force, negative incentives that if not satisfied, will prevent me from making a living. And believe it or not, this rant ain’t about the cash – it’s about the principle, and the functional disdain this society has for those it takes for granted.  Happy #$&^@ Holidays.

25740cookie-checkWhat Xmas Means to Me (not really) by Pat Conrad MD