Pat Conrad MD

Pat Conrad is a full-time rural ER doc on the Florida Gulf Coast. After serving as a carrier naval flight officer, he graduated from the University of Florida College of Medicine, and the Tallahassee Family Medicine residency program. His commentary has appeared in Medical Economics and at AuthenticMedicine.com . Conrad’s work stresses individual freedom and autonomy as the crucial foundation for medical excellence, is wary of all collective solutions, and recognizes that the vast majority of poisonous snakebites are concurrent with alcohol consumption.

Those Who Can’t, Lobby

The more medicine is immersed in the daily passions of politics, the less serious it becomes.  And it seems like a battle long since lost, as health care is injected into every political fight and agenda dominating the entire media spectrum.  And wherever there is a flight from seriousness, we may be sure that the AMA…

It’s Good to be a Non-Profit CEO

One of the worst aspects of our society, really of human nature, is the impulse for most people to go around counting each other’s money.  It reflects greed, insecurity, and is downright rude.  In fact the entire tax code is the embodiment of widespread covetousness, as is the ongoing fight over U.S. health care.  So before we get…

It’s All About the Packaging…

We see daily updates that the national budget is cartoonishly exploding, and a huge part of that are Medicare expenditures.  In failed efforts to rein in spending, we have seen DRG’s, coding updates in apparent perpetuity, “quality” measures, pay-for-performance shell games, delayed payments, audits, a “free-drugs-for-retiree-votes” program, and the ever-present threat of administrative fines and criminal…

Maine Doesn’t Need Doctors

This is NOT a piece about abortion.  I’ve been writing op-eds for 16 years and have thus far avoided that topic.  I know what I think about it, and I’m sure you do too.  Our views are probably pretty similar.  And if they’re not, for purposes of this column, I don’t care.  So before this gets hijacked off into…

Do You Feel in Charge?

Does your hospital run out of your preferred broad-spectrum antibiotic?  Does your clinic run out of fiberglass splint materials, lab testing kits, or on-the-spot IT wizards to fix your damnable EHR?  There is one thing you probably haven’t run out of (yet):  “But one resource that seems endless — and free — is the professional ethic of medical staff members.” Danielle…

Direct Primary BBQ

Which is your favorite barbeque?  The wondrous Carolina pulled pork, robust southwestern brisket, St. Louis ribs, or incredible Kansas City burnt ends?  At present my favorite is Texas-based Rudy’s BBQ and Mighty Fine Burgers, and I’ve never even eaten at one of their restaurants.  Why?  Because the restaurant chain is dumping Blue Cross in favor of a Direct Primary…

We’ll Get to You When We Can…

The word is that more patients are tired of waiting in increasingly crowded ER lobbies, and are leaving Against Medical Advice (AMA) in greater numbers.  Kaiser Health News is reporting a 57% increase in patients leaving AMA in the past 7 years from California ER’s.  One physician observed, “Most patients are sick but not critically ill,”…

The Burnout Trap

Every two years when I have to renew my state medical license, I get some standard questions, including whether I drink too much, use dirty needles, suffer from depression or anxiety, visit unlicensed brothels, run with scissors, or have any other condition or behavior that may impair my ability to safely treat patients. Recent studies…

Incompetency Bias

Like we don’t have enough to worry about, and like California already hasn’t won “Dumbest State of the Year” so many times it will hold the title through 2030 at least. The LA Times tells us that there is a new push on the in the not-so-Golden State for further training to stamp out bias…

Both Sides of the “Crisis”

One of the fashionably bipartisan Washington topics for chest beating is the opioid cris-, sorry, “THE OPIOID CRISIS!!!”  I’m one of the apparently few physicians who thinks that there should be no federal role in the provision of daily health care, based on several decades of observation: everything in health care that Uncle Sam touches gets worse.…