Medicine as a Team Sport


If you haven’t noticed, the trend has been to remove power and responsibility from doctors. Why?  There are not enough of them and they are too expensive.  This is a money game.  So if you were in charge of this type of problem then what plan would you come up with?  Well, bring in less expensive workers and call it a team.  Sounds nice.  And doctors buy into crap like this.  “You mean others will do my work and I get to sit back and just check on them?”  Yup.  For a while.  But then you lose credibility.  The patients don’t see you and the people who pay you wonder how to get rid of you.  Does this all sound familiar?  Oh, you can name it teamwork or patient centered medical home or accountable care organizations or anything else.  It is a brilliant plan to separate the patients from the doctors in order to get rid of the doctors or pay them less.  Here is proof. Here is an article in the NY Post called When a nurse is your health-care provider, you’re at risk. It is a good read and on the money.  I would say that the title is inflammatory and that doesn’t help but that is what happens in turf wars.  Anyway, I am sure the NPs are going crazy over this.  Picture a red ant hill being stepped on.  Doctors, though, are to blame for this.  We gave up control, probably to make more money, and now we are all paying for it.   Anyway, back to my point. Now we are being seduced into the “team” game.  Well, we shouldn’t.  When Mike Sevilla MD, linked this article to his Facebook page, the red ants went crazy there too.  Here is one patient responding:

My child’s NP has spent ten times more time treating my children than the MD “supervising” her. His only contribution: approving the prescriptions she writes. The only risk I feel here is to his wallet, and that is one I can live with.

You want to be leader of the team?  Great.  You want to sign off on NPs or PAs all day?  Wonderful. You want to be medical director and see less patients?  Fine.  But you lose the respect of the patients and they will turn on you.  And they will turn on all of us doctors.

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  3 comments for “Medicine as a Team Sport

  1. Joe Smegma
    January 15, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    Wow! Good call my friend! The devaluing of physicians has been ongoing and relentless by the powers that be including hospital administrators, and the third party payers. It is a power grab, and if you can defeat your adversary…..US. Then you win. There is a concerted effort to separate patients from their doctors by the hospitals and third party payers. The doctor/patient relationship is counterproductive to their business plan. It simply gets in the way. Patients loyal to a particular doctor will support and follow their doctor, whom they trust. Create a “team” and now your family doctor is a relic of the past. Old Doc Graham would be rolling in his grave over the “medical home”. Devalue Doc Graham into an administrative roll and eventually put him out to pasture. I am sick writing this…….I truly loved family medicine and now it is a thing of the past.

  2. Kurt
    January 15, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Or do geriatrics where on sits there and tries to sort out complex situations with many cognitively impaired and get paid less doing it. I only hope there is someone out there as understanding as myself to take care of me if I end up in a similar frame of mind. AKS

  3. January 11, 2015 at 1:33 am

    amen, brother.
    been saying this for years.
    the more we let others undermine us, the more we are undermined.

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