A Visit with the Doctor

I recently went for my annual physical exam, an occasion that allows me to solicit my doctor for his opinions on the state of the American health care system.  To understate things considerably, he is not sanguine.

For the first time in my experience, my doctor brought a laptop computer into the exam room, a very snazzy MacBook Air. He spoke highly of the hardware (as who would not), but not of the software and what he was required to do with it. “I think they meant well,” he said wistfully, referring to the mandates of ObamaCare and its electronic record keeping, “but it’s all [CoC]ed up.”

Far from making things “paperless,” he said, the paperwork has actually increased—an increase of no value to patient care. Also, the databases are incompatible, and he doubted that the system’s many flaws would be corrected before he retires, an event he hoped to put off for at least five years but which may arrive sooner due to the frustrations being daily heaped upon him with the dawn of ObamaCare. Many of his contemporaries in the profession, he said, are reaching the same conclusion.

“How anyone thought all of this could be administered from Washington, D.C., is a mystery,” he said.

As it happened, I spoke later the same day with an old and dear friend, also a doctor, a man of some renown within his medical specialty. He is now in semi-retirement, but until recently he was the chairman of his department at an elite medical school. “What we are witnessing,” he told me, “is the dismantling of what will be remembered as the finest medical system in the world. It still is for now, but it won’t be for long.”

But in his great wisdom, the president knows better.

  1. James Gawron

    Jack,

    This is exactly the case.  When we come down out of the socialist fantasy clouds and hit the reality of medical care the whole ACA is insane.

    If it helps any the fantasy of the paperless office started in the late 1970s with advent of the mini-computer (only $250,000 not $1.5M for a mainframe).  Needless to say to this day we don’t have paperless offices.  Everyone with real experience in information tech knows this. 

    I have a new term LIP.  Stands for Low Information Politician.  Al Gore is the #1 LIP for his Global Warming lunacy.  Biden is the multiple threat LIP leader.

    The stupidity would be funny except for one thing.  

    The ACA disruption of the American Health Care System will KILL people.

    Regards,

    Jim

  2. HeartofAmerica

    I’ve had two doctors retire in the last two years. Although it wasn’t stated, I’m sure it was related to Obamacare. Most of the medical groups in our area have joined forces and created larger groups related to local hospitals.

    I will see my personal physician today, a one-woman office. I can’t imagine that she will be able to continue giving care given what is occurring with Obamacare. She’s been my primary care physician for over 15 years. I am not eager to start the process over again.

    Another bit of surprise occurred yesterday. My employer informed us that the good news is that our group plan (self-insured) meets all the Obamacare requirements. Therefore, we will not dumped into the insurance abyss. The bad news: Obamacare requires an implementation fee (tax?) to the employer…$5.25 per enrolled employee and dependent per month! My employer has generously decided to cover my $5.25 fee but I will be responsible for the cost of my dependents fee. This will cost me an additional $126 per year. It doesn’t sound like much but it’s an unnecessary cost.

  3. Tran Quil

    Our daughter recently graduated from medical school (in CA) on an AF scholarship and is doing her residency.  I think she would have made an excellent family practice doc or internist, but doing the rotations in med school, she saw that the paperwork was a nightmare.  She spent way more time on the computer than actually seeing patients.  Plus, there are lots of folks that 1. don’t do what the doc suggests and 2.  expect a pill to fix everything.  Sad day!  So she opted for a specialty where she won’t see patients directly and will probably stay in the AF, as they already have their electronic record keeping in place.

  4. Ed Hasell

    Sad, isn’t it? If I didn’t have kids I would just pop open a beer and shake my head, but heck, elections have consequences and the people spoke loud and clear – twice. We all get to benefit from the great wisdom of the President.

  5. Merina Smith

    Be patient, all, and not the medical kind. This dog don’t hunt, medically or politically.  It won’t last.  When it collapses, we can get on with making smart medical reforms.  

  6. KC Mulville

    I spent most of the last two days dealing with a slice of the healthcare system.

    Now, although I haven’t changed jobs, my employer has changed medical plans – and as of this moment, I don’t have the proper medical or dental cards to speed up the process. That meant that we had to rely on information we could retrieve from my plans’ websites.

    A couple of times, the dental assistant who was taking my insurance information categorically informed me that my son was (1) not covered at all; (2) had no coverage for this particular procedure; (3) needed to see a different specialist before he could see this dental surgeon, etc. All of these “decisions” were because the website didn’t give the expected information in a format that made sense to the assistant. We eventually had to go through “consumer-wrestling” to get things straightened out.

    Who knows what kind of training the assistant had, or what the website was designed to display?

    It occurred to me that although my auto insurance is easy to manage through the web, it’ll be a long time before I have the same ease/confidence with my medical insurance.

  7. Southern Pessimist
    Merina Smith: Be patient, all, and not the medical kind. This dog don’t hunt, medically or politically.  It won’t last.  When it collapses, we can get on with making smart medical reforms.   · 4 hours ago

    I wish I could think like an optimist but I can’t. The only part of this debacle that might lead to a better system is that as everyone’s copay and deductible rise, there will be incentives for people to become well informed consumers. There will need to be a massive end run around the politicians by entrepreneurs because I have no hope for a political solution. Barkha’s suggestion on another thread for floating hospitals like floating casinos makes sense to me.

  8. Hank Rhody

    While not meaning to detract from the main point, it amuses me endlessly that, if you use the hard C and pronounce the acronym as one word, “[CoC]ed up” is a homonym for the britishism meaning much the same thing. Guess that’s an oblique way of making the point, but I don’t want to mess with the code myself.

  9. Merina Smith

    That’s what I mean, SP.  Hit people in their pocketbooks and they pay attention.  Also, it is the middle class that will be hit and they  really pay attention.  

    Southern Pessimist

    Merina Smith: Be patient, all, and not the medical kind. This dog don’t hunt, medically or politically.  It won’t last.  When it collapses, we can get on with making smart medical reforms.   · 4 hours ago

    I wish I could think like an optimist but I can’t. The only part of this debacle that might lead to a better system is that as everyone’s copay and deductible rise, there will be incentives for people to become well informed consumers. There will need to be a massive end run around the politicians by entrepreneurs because I have no hope for a political solution. Barkha’s suggestion on another thread for floating hospitals like floating casinos makes sense to me. · 57 minutes ago

  10. Fred Williams

    My doc brought a lap top into the exam room for the first time last visit, too.  Same story.  He has also started charging a concierge fee to high maintenance patients. 

  11. Nick Stuart

    Saw my doc this week. Had to wait 45 minutes (usual wait time <10). Remarked we’d look back on these as the good old days. Also remarked O’Care is a cluster-**** of epic proportions.

    Just went to work for a giant company which I expect will stand the pressure to dump its employees on the exchanges as long as possible. So probably the crocodile will eat me last. A little comfort to having lucked into a really good deal that won’t last real long, but a little while maybe.

  12. Nick Stuart
    O’ give me a cot and some meals that are hot and a bottle of Vicodin pills I’ll peacefully expire On the single-payer pyre And forget all Obamacare’s ills You can’t keep your plan You’ll take what you get and be quiet But please rest assured The elites have secured Special treatment for them and their kit
  13. Mothership_Greg

    EHR is a clownshow.

  14. Jude

    Best use of CoC I’ve seen yet. 

    And the doctor/patient discussion have become even more interesting since it seems his bp is as likely to go up as mine in talking about the [CoC]ed up system. One of the things I’ve seen happening is that some medical personnel are on the side of their patients and try to work around the fed’s nosy reporting requirements to give their patients a modicum of privacy.

  15. CandE
    KC Mulville: 

    It occurred to me that although my auto insurance is easy to manage through the web, it’ll be a long time before I have the same ease/confidence with my medical insurance. · 2 hours ago

    It probably helps that your car insurance doesn’t cover tire rotations, oil changes, or inspection stickers.  If it did, then it would probably also be unworkable on the internets.

    -E

  16. KC Mulville
    CandE

    It probably helps that your car insurance doesn’t cover tire rotations, oil changes, or inspection stickers.  If it did, then it would probably also be unworkable on the internets.

    Agreed.

    There must be some equation that displays the relationship between complexity of information and the usefulness of websites to manage the program.

  17. Pilli

    It is interesting to me that we hear about all these MDs that are quitting or complaining and yet they are almost all members of the AMA…a group that has supported Obama and O-care.