The Doctor Will See You… Uh… Doctor…? Doctor…? [UPDATED]

Physician, heal thyself:

The United States will require at least 52,000 more family doctors in the year 2025 to keep up with the growing and increasingly older U.S. population, a new study found.

The predictions also reflect the passage of the Affordable Care Act — a change that will expand health insurance coverage to an additional 38 million Americans.

“The health care consumer that values the relationship with a personal physician, particularly in areas already struggling with access to primary care physicians should be aware of potential access challenges that they may face in the future if the production of primary care physicians does not increase,” said Dr. Andrew Bazemore, director of the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Primary Care and co-author of the study published Monday in the Annals of Family Medicine.

Stephen Petterson, senior health policy researcher at the Robert Graham Center, said the government should take steps — and quickly — to address the problem before it gets out of hand.

“There needs to be more primary care incentive programs that give a bonus to physicians who treat Medicaid patients in effort to reduce the compensation gap between specialists and primary care physicians,” said Petterson, who co-authored the study with Bazemore.

That’s right, the answer to government interference is more government interference. Isn’t it obvious? Just ask us:

These problems loom even larger considering the aim of the Affordable Care Act to provide all Americans with health insurance — and with it, more regular contact with a primary care doctor.

Perhaps the best known example of this approach has been Massachusetts, which since 2006 has mandated that every resident obtain health insurance and those that are below the federal poverty level gain free access to health care. But although the state has the second-highest ratio of primary care physicians to population of any state, they are struggling with access to primary care physicians.

Dr. Randy Wexler of The John Glenn Institute of Public Service and Policy said he has concerns that this trend could be reflected nationwide.

“Who is going to care for these people?” he said. “We are going to have problems just like Massachusetts. [They] are struggling with access problems; it takes one year to get into a primary care physician. Coverage does not equal access.”

But we feel so much better about ourselves! Beat that, wingnuts!

Most experts encourage consumers to challenge the current system, hold political leaders accountable, insist that government officials demand change in health care system design, policy, and reimbursement, along with medical school admissions and residency position allocations.

I tried holding Harvard Medical School accountable, but I got escorted off the premises.

So I tried holding a political leader accountable—but he’s been in the hospital for almost a month:

Mayor Thomas M. Menino suffered another setback and will remain hospitalized indefinitely as doctors try to determine what caused a fresh surge of pain in his ailing back.

Speaking Tuesday at a press conference, two of Menino’s physicians said they could not give any estimate when the mayor might be released from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he was admitted almost three weeks ago.

Menino, 69, was initially diagnosed with a viral infection and a blood clot. While hospitalized, he sustained a compression fracture in one of the vertebra of his spine.

Who breaks their back lying in bed? This fat goof, that’s who. And who stays in a hospital for weeks on end for an infection? See above.

Meanwhile, the rest of us will have to wait a year just to get into a PCP’s practice. Welcome to Massachusetts, everybody. You’ll get used to it if you drink enough.

UPDATE
Welcome to Quebec, the Massachusetts of the Great White North:

he Montreal Gazette reports on how this works out in a country where everyone has insurance courtesy of the government:

Surgery wait times for deadly ovarian, cervical and breast cancers in Quebec are three times longer than government benchmarks, leading some desperate patients to shop around for an operating room.

But that’s a waste of time, doctors say, since the problem is spread across Quebec hospitals. And doctors are refusing to accept new patients quickly because they can’t treat them, health advocates say.

A leading Montreal gynecologist said that these days, she cannot look her patients in the eye because the wait times are so shocking. Lack of resources, including nursing staff and budget compressions, are driving a backlog of surgeries while operating rooms stand empty. The latest figures from the provincial government show that over a span of nearly 11 months, 7,780 patients in the Montreal area waited six months or longer for day surgeries, while another 2,957 waited for six months or longer for operations that required hospitalization.

The worst cases are gynecological cancers, experts say, because usually such a cancer has already spread by the time it is detected. Instead of four weeks from diagnosis to surgery, patients are waiting as long as three months to have cancerous growths removed.

This War on Women is turning into a rout! They’re all dying off! We take no prisoners, women!

PS: Don’t you just love the phrase “government benchmarks”? I think that’s going to be my epitaph.

Here lies BTL, victim of a government benchmark.

1 Comment »

  1. Bloodthirsty Liberal said,

    November 14, 2012 @ 10:31 am

    The Menino thing is interesting, because I know an 86 year old woman who had a pulmonary embolism and pneumonia and was only in the hospital for a day. She is also very overweight, diabetic, high blood pressure, etc. But she is not a politician.

    - Aggie

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