Monday, May 23, 2005

Support for the "Endangered Primary Care MD"

An op-ed piece in the Boston Globe by Ellen Lutch Bender, the Director of Health Care Strategies for the law firm Brown Rudnick, entitled "The Endangered Primary Care MD," speaks to the adverse consequences of the dominance of health care by ever larger organizations.
Lutch Bender extolled the virtues of primary care doctors whose ideal is "providing care within a patient-physician relationship based on understanding, honesty, and trust." Furthermore, she suggested that the decline in primary care relates to "consolidation [which] has created a concentration of giant market participants whose dominance has decreased competition." As a result, primary care doctors "spend so much time on paperwork that their ability to care for patients is strained. They work at a frenetic pace from dawn to duskc, seing more patients, faster, to meet productivity benchmarks. They operate in a resource-constrained environment that has skyrocketed the cost of managing their practice and racheted down their incomes." Sound familiar?
She concluded that "this trend has serious ramifications, not only to cost and quality of care but also in the potential loss of the heart and soul of the medical profession."
It seems like more and more people are noticing the issues that Health Care Renewal has been bringing up.
...if only they had some solutions to these problems. Unfortunately, Lutch Bender's suggested approach was pretty opaque, "there is enormous opportunity for physicians to think differently and seek innovative alliances with other providers in a way that will spur competition for those courageous and committed enough to protect the relationship between physicians and their patients." Hopefully, she will come up with something more concrete in the future.

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