Somewhere along the line, there has to be an overriding person to control the system, he said, speaking on his own behalf and not as a spokesperson for the AAO-HNS/F. There is too much waste.
Explore This IssueNovember 2008
In terms of a financial practice that physicians could employ to help with health care reform, Dr. Kane encouraged physicians to set aside a part of their practice to treat patients who have no insurance or are on Medicaid. Most of these patients are now concentrated in public academic health centers and a lot of community health centers are bearing the brunt, she said, adding that that creates a huge shortage of specialists, such as otolaryngologists, for these populations.
Dr. Denneny, who still sees all these patients and feels it is part of his professional obligation, sees a drastic change in the culture of medicine that may be making it more difficult for younger physicians to take on these populations.
-Nancy M. Kane, DBA
Citing work laws that have restricted working hours for residents, generational differences in work ethics and expectations, as well as reduced fees for services while overhead increases, he said it is hard to get doctors to actually pay money out of their own pocket to take care of these people on a regular basis.
Dr. Denneny does think, however, that the whole profession needs to get involved and come up with a plan. We all need to take some responsibility, he said. I feel that the only group that cares about the patient other than the patient is us.
For Dr. Kane, one primary way that physicians could show their concern for their patients is to speak to their public officials in support of the health care reforms. However, what she hears from physicians most often is concern over their incomes.
It would be nice to hear [physicians] speak about bigger things that we face as a society and to play a leadership role in educating both public officials and their own members about some of these problems, she said. Everyone can do something to make this better, and that includes [the physicians].