Originally published May 16 2014
Doctor declares independence from government-run health fiasco
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Increasingly, healthcare providers, and especially physicians, are feeling as though they are under attack by their own government and are increasingly choosing to opt out of "the system" as much as possible, in order to save their practices and better serve their patients.
As onerous as Obamacare is for the health careindustry, it has been under regulatory assault for years. In fact, healthcare has long been one of the most heavily regulated industries in the country, which is one reason why it is so expensive. But reams of regulations that came from the Affordable Care Act are really the last straw for thousands of providers who are changing practices in order to get out from under the over-burdensome mandates that are crushing their practices.
One such physician, Dr. Daniel F. Craviotto, an orthopedic surgeon in Santa Barbara, Calif., and a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, wrote recently in The Wall Street Journal that, after more than two decades of practice, he is fed up and calling for those in his profession to fight back.
In my 23 years as a practicing physician, I've learned that the only thing that matters is the doctor-patient relationship. How we interact and treat our patients is the practice of medicine. I acknowledge that there is a problem with the rising cost of health care, but there is also a problem when the individual physician in the trenches does not have a voice in the debate and is being told what to do and how to do it.
Why do doctors have government and insurers telling them what they can charge?
He says that nearly all of the 880,000 licensed doctors in the United States are honorable, well-intentioned people who try to do their best under the conditions to which they are forced to operation.
"The demands are great, and many of our families pay a huge price for our not being around. We do the things we do because it is right and our patients expect us to," he wrote in his April 28 piece. "So when do we say damn the mandates and requirements from bureaucrats who are not in the healing profession? When do we stand up and say we are not going to take it any more?"
For example, he writes, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as part of Obamacare, mandates the use of the EHR -- Electronic Health Record -- lest the physicians who don't comply be penalized with lower reimbursement rates in the future. These systems are expensive and can cost upwards of $100,000 to implement, according to some estimates. But they are part of the "meaningful use" criteria that the Centers tell physicians they must use "or we will not be subsidized the cost of converting to the electronic system and we will be penalized by lower reimbursements."
For Craviotto and many other doctors, besides being costly, it's a requirement that takes them away from patient care.
"Across the country, doctors waste precious time filling in unnecessary electronic-record fields just to satisfy a regulatory measure. I personally spend two hours a day dictating and documenting electronic health records just so I can be paid and not face a government audit. Is that the best use of time for a highly trained surgical specialist?" he says.
Mandates, board recertification, regulations - and little help from doctor associations
Continuing, Craviotto noted:
This is not a unique complaint. A study commissioned by the American Medical Association last year and conducted by the RAND Corp. found that "Poor EHR usability, time-consuming data entry, interference with face-to-face patient care, inefficient and less fulfilling work content, inability to exchange health information between EHR products, and degradation of clinical documentation were prominent sources of professional dissatisfaction."
And patient complaints. And increased misdiagnoses and medical mistakes made by physicians who must hurry through exams or procedures so they can get to their next patient. And they need to see more patients in order to make up for the revenue lost by so much over-regulation, like mandated use of EHRs.
"In addition to the burden of mandated electronic-record entry, doctors also face board recertification in the various medical specialties that has become time-consuming, expensive, imposing and a convenient method for our specialty societies and boards to make money," he wrote.
See the rest of Dr. Craviotto's open letter here.
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