I have been in medical practice for over 12 years. Over the past several months I have written extensively about both the intended and the unintended consequences of healthcare reform from a physician’s perspective. My motive was simple, as a physician I have unique knowledge about how the healthcare system works. I have seen the breakdown and particularly the erosion of the doctor patient relationship which is the fundamental foundation of medicine. As a patient advocate, I felt compelled to educate and inform people about what to expect over the coming months and years regarding their health care choices.
I started my journey as an idealistic optimist who believed that my voice could be heard. That belief took me to Washington to meet with my Congressmen. It was a hard lesson to learn that the political status quo and the power of special interests were more important than doing what was best for patients. It has been equally frustrating to listen to pundits who know absolutely nothing about what it takes to keep a practice open and to provide excellent care to patients. It remains a mystery to me how the opinions of those who have no idea what its like to make payroll or pay for malpractice insurance while fighting increasingly more losing battles with insurance companies and the government for the chance to treat his or her patient as they were trained have been allowed to dictate the conversation about healthcare reform.
I have come full circle. I decided that I can either complain about the problem or do something to be part of the solution. This is something we each can decide to do. Instead of complaining about how we are losing jobs to other countries, why don’t we just pay a little more to buy from those who make things here in the USA? Instead of complaining about illegal immigration, why don’t we make the choice to hire companies who can document that they follow the rule of law and hire documented workers? We get what we pay for. It is now time to make a choice.
My choice is to take back my power as a physician for myself and for my patients. In my opinion, it is the middle man that has led to the explosion in healthcare costs and has insinuated itself between me and my patient. I can no longer sit back and hope that the Government will help me (The passing of the healthcare reform bill made that plainly obvious that wasn’t going to happen). You only need to look to the fact that the stocks for the pharmaceutical industry and the medical insurance industry went up after the bill passed.
My solution is the creation of Best Price MD (www.bestpricemd.com). It is simply a consortium of healthcare providers – from physicians, specialists, surgeons, and dentists to integrative providers such as chiropractors and acupuncturists. All of our providers have one thing in common, that is their willingness to provide a discount on their services to those without insurance and those who do have insurance, but have high deductibles. The patients have pricing transparency with no hidden fees and the ability to compare and shop for the best price from the provider of their choice. Providers get to remove the bureaucracy and paperwork which provides a barrier that keeps costs high for the patient and operating costs high because of administrative costs such as billing and collection departments. It is simply old fashioned market driven interaction. The patient pays for what he or she wants or needs in consultation with the provider. No more paying outrageous premiums for the privilege of paying more when you actually need to access medical care. It provides patients the means to save their money and access truly affordable medical care when they need it. It is also a way to go back to initial purpose of medical insurance. i.e., the use of insurance for the treatment of catastrophic conditions.
Best Price MD provides the opportunity for the doctor and the patient to rebuild their relationship while removing cost and the treatment restrictions placed on them by both the insurance industry and the government. This is one solution that will allow medicine to become doctor and patient centered once again.