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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Friday, January 21, 2011

Physician Survey Portrays Pessimism About Health Care Future

You can criticize this survey of physicians on a couple of points.  But the overall picture is pretty gloomy.

The survey was conducted through the fall of 2010.  It included 3,000 respondents, who may, or may not, be representative.  Also, the company doing the survey is a commercial outfit that provides management products to physicians.

You can get an overview of the survey from the Wall Street Journal Health blog (Jan 19), or go to the survey directly and make your own judgment of how well it was conducted.

Here are the results of a couple of the questions:

During the next five years the quality of health care in this country will:

Overall, the impact of the Health Care Reform Act of 2010 for patients:

This is pretty much what I hear in talking to doctors.  In some cases there's a lot of anger.  Surprisingly, the most common complaint I hear is about administrative requirements, new regulations, wasted time and effort, frustration with getting patients what they need.   Another gripe is falling reimbursement rates, and the rising cost of running a practice.

My opinion of the future is similar.  I think the reform law and all its new regulations (and panels, study groups, committees, task forces, etc) will just levy more reporting and forms and authorizations with no demonstrable improvement in access to care or quality.  Rising costs won't skip a beat.

As I've said before, HCR was a missed opportunity to "turn the Titanic."  Attempts at cost, quality, and access reform were pitiful.  We just increased the rate at which the whole system will sink beneath the waves.

In fact, there's little effective "reform" in the law.  It extends coverage and pays subsidies to obtain it.  That's called an "entitlement."

Doc D

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