nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Another Doctor Says If ObamaCare Is In, I'm Out

Dermatologist in Arizona says "punitive measures" in ObamaCare "making the practice of medicine repugnant."  He will retire if implemented.

Another doctor comes out of the closet and tells patients that he will retire prior to 2014.  See the notice posted on his office door:

Although Joseph Scherzer will be reaching retirement age soon, he says that it was not in his plan until the passage of health care reform made it not worth continuing.  The new law raises the max fine for improperly filing a claim to $50,000.00.  Dr Scherzer says he's never been fined, but the rules are so complex, you never know if you complied properly.

On a personal note, in the last three weeks, three of our personal physicians have said they will no longer be able to accept my spouse and me.  We are part of a government insurance program that reimburses at rates below cost.  Being a doctor doesn't get me special consideration.  And before you ask, I don't seek professional courtesy (ie, "no pay"--it would be just the co-pay anyway).

Talking to other doctors and patients, I'm hearing some real anger and fear out in the community.  It will be interesting to see whether this is just posturing or something that has legs.

From my perspective, after 35 years as a physician, things were really simple in the beginning.  There was some paperwork, and I was careful to document my care prudently, but when I walked into an examining room there was nothing else on my mind but focusing on the patient's needs.

In the last 20 years, the documentation requirement has grown (approaching 20% of a doctor's time), the stuff I have to write down to ensure that I don't get sued and to make sure the government won't deny my payment has also skyrocketed.  I don't mind writing what's necessary to describe an individual patient, but it's galling to have to always include stuff that the regulatory agencies think is required--no matter what the patient needs.  The electronic medical record system software at the clinic where I last practiced family medicine used to spit out several pages of worthless negative history and physical info for a sore throat--all of which was required by the government.*

The danger with all this is that the more doctors and hospitals have to comply with documentation and treatment oversight, it competes with "focusing on just the patient."

*PS:  If you think digital storage makes all this irrelevant, guess what was required in order to ensure that the digital record is properly backed up.  You guessed it:  hard copy.

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