As a Primary Care Internist practicing in North Raleigh I read with interest the Oct. 16 news article “What can be done for those without coverage?” This discussed not only the problem with Medicaid coverage, but also the underinsured and uninsured. Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg of what is the current crisis in health care.
While there certainly is a need for local, state and national government to address the problem of access to health care to those who cannot afford it, it is my opinion that it is just these same entities that have created the crisis.
There was a time when health care was more affordable. The patient and their physician worked out a plan of care that was best for them without outside interference. This was specific for the patient and not necessarily the most costly. Fast forward to today, and we have become plagued with an obsessive amount of insurance and governmental interference with the obligatory bureaucratic red tape.
While the number pf physicians over the last 20 to 30 years has grown by two to three times, the number of non-physician administers of health care including third-party payers has grown by almost 3,000 percent. This is causing an exponential rise in health care costs.
The subsequent mandates and controls placed on physicians by these non-physician entities has forced the physician to take time out of the office visit, complete labor intensive data gathering and being forced to tailor the care of the patient to the economic bottom line of the third-party payers.
We are seeing an increasing number of well-qualified physicians retiring early just when there is a projected physician deficit. By and large physicians went into medicine to help their patients. Bureaucratic red tape no longer allows them to do that in the most efficient, cost effective and medically sound manner. But we are seeing a movement across the country by physicians to take back the control of health care, get back to the patient-physician relationship, cutting the administrative costs and again allowing affordable health care to just about anyone. Health care that is of better quality to everyone.
The Direct Primary Care in this country is doing just that. This is not high-cost exclusive concierge medicine. DPC shares the same common themes of smaller patient panels allowing more time with their patients, timely access and personal relationship that harkens back to a time when the physician was responsible to the patient and no one else.
DPC just does it in a much more affordable manner that caters to the underinsured and uninsured, as well as those with insurance. While initially a primary care medicine movement, specialists are also seeing the advantages of forming a much more personal relationship with the patient and shutting the exam room door on the administrators and third-party payers that have created the health care crisis.
Inaam J. Schneider
Schneider Medical Group, PA
The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response to the news article.