The voices are getting louder

The individual voices of physician discontent are becoming louder.

The easy response is no response.  There are plenty of capable students who are turned away from medical schools on an annual basis that would be more than happy to receive a spot in the class of 2012.  Don’t like your job? Find something else…

But that argument is simplistic and elementary.  There is obviously something very wrong with the environment that many physicians are currently operating in.  And that should concern all of us.

A very wise health care administrator once told me, “There are two types of people in a hospital: those who care for patients and those who don’t.  If you’re a person that doesn’t care for a patient, you damn well better be working hard to make the jobs easier for those who do.”

What’s going wrong?

It’s a combination of many issues.  Reimbursement rates are constantly pushed downward.  Risk of malpractice lawsuits is rising.  Scopes of practice are under fire.  The days are long.  The list could go on.

This essay in The New York Times highlights the real reason for physician frustration: “There are serious consequences to this discontent, the most worrisome of which is that it is difficult for doctors who are so unhappy to provide good care.”

It need not be like this.

By no means am I advocating that administrators bow down to every physician command.  The physician’s frame of mind versus the administrator’s frame of mind is what keeps health care organizations open.  But it is time that a concerted effort be made to make the practice conditions for physicians favorable once again.

Conditions that allow providers to do what they do best: care for patients.

(links courtesy of Kevin M.D.)

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