Can the AMA be More Clueless on Burnout?

I just love it when the same organizations who agreed to everything that has caused burnout now pretend they want to fix it. Did you know the AMA is now the “expert” in this crap? Me either. Here is their most recent article on it. Let me skip down to this point to explain something they miss:

Why don’t physicians seek help? 

While many doctors are not publicly reaching out for help, several have in secret. The survey found that 7 percent of physicians admitted to receiving mental health care but kept it quiet. Twelve percent said they would consider reaching out for help in secret.  

To keep this secret, some doctors drove an hour away from their home town and did not use insurance. Others even used a different name.  

When physicians were asked why they have not gotten help, half said their symptoms were not severe enough. Nearly half (47 percent) stated that they could “deal with this without help from a professional,” while 39 percent of physicians were “too busy” and 20 percent did not want to risk disclosure. 

Physicians encourage their patients to share concerns about depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions. However, doctors are less likely to seek help themselves due to stigma. This is often because physicians are concerned that having a history of mental illness could make it harder for them to obtain and retain licensure.

To improve physician access to mental health care, the AMA recently adopted  policy  to, “Encourage state licensing boards to require disclosure of physical or mental health conditions only when a physician is suffering from any condition that currently impairs his or her judgment or that would otherwise adversely affect his or her ability to practice medicine in a competent, ethical and professional manner, or when the physician presents a public health danger.” 

Committed to making physician burnout a thing of the past, the AMA has studied, and is currently addressing issues causing and fueling physician burnout—including time constraints, technology and regulations—to better understand and reduce the challenges physicians face. By focusing on factors causing burnout at the system-level, the AMA assesses an organization’s well-being and offers guidance and targeted solutions to support physician well-being and satisfaction.  

The AMA Ed Hub™—your center for personalized learning from sources you trust—offers CME on a broad range of topics including preventing physician burnout using the STEPS Forward™ open-access platform that offers innovative strategies that allow physicians and their staff to thrive in the new health care environment. These toolkits can help you prevent physician burnout, create the organizational foundation for joy in medicine, create a strong team culture and improve practice efficiency. 

Did you read that like I did? “To keep this secret, some doctors drove an hour away from their home town and did not use insurance. Others even used a different name.” That is how bad it is! And I recommend EVERY DOCTOR do the same thing. Why? Look at that lame AMA policy. No state licensing board gives two sh#ts what AMA says. Even if they did adopt this policy it would be bastardized so much you wouldn’t recognize it. Each state licensing board has a quota to punish a certain number of doctors. They are NOT your friend. Burned out or impaired docs are easy pickings. Don’t fall for this trick. Ever.

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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] 

  5 comments for “Can the AMA be More Clueless on Burnout?

  1. Bridget Reidy
    March 19, 2019 at 11:13 pm

    Burn out is not a mental illness by any definition of the word yet is constantly conflated with it. It is a lack of passion and drive, variable to begin with, and a normal part of aging sped up by moral injury/abuse. The powers that be worry about it why? – because decreased productivity is one of the defining symptoms. Who can get their adrenaline up life long for no reward? Without it we have pretty good productivity, just not good enough for them, especially since they don’t think caring for patients has anything to do with productivity and only care about what they measure.

  2. Pat
    March 13, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    The vast majority of doctors and hospitals are part of the collective (DPC excepted), and no patient or doctor-patient should be forthcoming. Anything you disclose can be used to harm you. State medical boards are the enemy. The AMA is the enemy. We should all keep our heads down, plaster on a smile, and if anyone asks, then , “Yep, it’s a great day, everything is swell!”

    And keep working toward early retirement.

  3. bbneo
    March 13, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    The AMA has long since weaned itself from needing the revenue stream of membership dues…
    It has become self-aware.

  4. James Tinsley
    March 13, 2019 at 8:12 am

    The AMA is like an arms dealer selling to both sides of the war. Stop physician burnout by stop giving the AMA money and support. They are not our friends.

    • K T MD
      March 13, 2019 at 9:15 am

      Strangely, 85-90% of docs do NOT support the AMA monetarily…yet they still go around saying they “represent” us.

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