You, Doctor, Are The Problem by Pat Conrad MD

Like a lot of you, I’m feeling a little tired after the last two months of winter.  Along with a bigger than average flu pandemic, and the annual cold weather circus of COPD flares and mothers needing back-to-school notes for pink-eyed urchins, I packed in a few extra hours.  No that’s not a complaint, just a recognition that filling the 24/7 schedules for small town and rural ER’s can be challenging.  The doctor shortage you may have heard about is real, and a lot of the regulars on whom our ER’s depend are themselves full-time local primary care docs who moonlight on evenings and weekends.  For many of them, it’s a combination of wanting to support their local hospital and community, and also needing to supplement their shriveling private practice profit margins.
Which is why I thought this story was an absolute laugh riot.  Seems the author Matthew Yglesias has pinpointed the trouble with high health care costs:  doctors make too much.  He specifically wants more patients on Medicare as a way to pay doctors less.  Leaving aside questions regarding the proper compensation for moronic pseudo-journalists, Mr. Y both admits that Medicare’s “uncapped commitment …is a big challenge”, and declares that expanding the program is the only way to control costs.  Of course the shortfalls in physician numbers that would result from a general lowering of physician incomes would be offset by – TAAADAAAHHH – more NP’s and PA’s aka LELT’s.
Ordinarily I get pretty angry over an ignoramus third-party making value judgements regarding my worth.  But it’s late and I’ll save the philosophical counter-attack for another day.  I’m of more practical bent tonight:  it is already routinely tough to staff small, ER’s with competent physicians who are willing to do the work at odd hours.  So to all the do-gooder journalists and compassion merchants I say, “bring it on.”  Let’s see what happens when the average doc no longer finds it worthwhile to put in those extra hours.

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] 

  1 comment for “You, Doctor, Are The Problem by Pat Conrad MD

  1. Sir Allyagottadois:
    March 1, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    I would like to offer them the query, ” How much SHOULD an individual be paid who got into college, was top of their college class to get to medical school. For four grueling year ( or more ). Dedicated many hours, at a calculated below minimum wage,started their career 12 or more years behind their high school buddies, works 60 hours a weeks. Make like-saving and life-preserving decisions on a daily basis?” What is that worth? They are clueless.

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