Monday, September 24, 2007

Medicine In The Papers

Two interesting tidbits in the papers lately caught my attention. They seem to be two different facets of the same problem. First was the Letter To The Editor in the WALL STREET JOURNAL on Sept. 19th from J. David Gaines, M.D. FACP, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at Yale University. He said that 31% of the health care costs in America are for administrative salaries and advertising. In other words out of the 16% of America's GDP that goes for health care 4.96% has nothing to do with medicine.

The other article is from the DALLAS MORNING NEWS today (Sept. 24th) about Dr. Cyrus Peikari. He previously was chief of staff at Baylor Medical Center in Garland, TX but he was so caught up in the money-making process that once saw 51 patients in one 7-hour shift. Now he's the first physician in North Texas to open his own "micropractice" meaning he sees fewer patients and is able to spend more time with each one. He has only an office manager, no nurses, so if a patient needs a shot he gives it himself. In case you're worried he's going to grow poor as a result of this radical change, don't. The doctor says it looks like he's going to make about 1/3 more while working 1/3 fewer hours.

According to Dr. Peikari: "Big industries have interspersed themselves between the patient and the physician and the whole system is collapsing. By doing this I can actually know my patients as people. I can be a friend."

I'm glad to see him join about 500 doctors nationwide in this trend back to sanity in the medical profession.

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