entry level health insurance to
provide a higher level of service.
As a result, the U.S. is creating a system
of access similar to what has been
common for years in countries that
have socialized healthcare. The U.S. is
catching up to the rest of the world by
creating a two-tier healthcare system.
Despite the advent of Obamacare,
patients are discovering that the
most accessible care is reserved for
those willing to pay extra for it.
What has developed is nothing like the
days depicted in the 1970s television
medical drama “Marcus Welby, M.D.”
While the fictional Dr. Welby never
discussed payment with his patients,
neither did the show depict insurance
companies or the federal government,
via Medicare and Medicaid, dictating
what he would earn. Doctors are being
asked to see more patients in less time,
and their pay has not kept pace.
In the current evolving medical care
system, a patient being seen by a
medical school graduate when he
or she visits a doctor’s office is no
longer guaranteed. In many busy
practices, patients are more likely to
be attended to by a nurse practitioner
or physician assistant than they are to
see a doctor. These ancillary providers,
referred to collectively as “physician
extenders,” are typically paid less
than physicians, which helps make
running a practice more economical.
Even in emergency rooms across the
country, patients with only the most
acute needs are ever seen by resident
physicians, while most everyone
else must wait, often for hours, to
see one of the ancillary providers. In
most cases, only patients who have
arrangements with a private concierge
physician get immediate access.
There no doubt will always be critics
who say that the concierge or private
physician model is just one more perk
reserved only for the wealthy. That is not
necessarily true. The cost for access to
these services is not cheap, but neither is
it prohibitive. The reality is simple: those
who find value in such services will
pay to avail themselves of them. Others
may choose less costly insurance that
provides fewer benefits and longer wait
times to see a healthcare professional.
Is such a system ideal or even fair?
Perhaps not, but it is the new reality
in American healthcare, and it is
here to stay. J
Dr. L. Scott Grant operates Birmingham Medical,
a family practice in Birmingham, Michigan, and
created his Executive Practice in 2011. He holds a
medical degree from the Wayne State University
School of Medicine and is certified as an Aviation
Medical Examiner. His practice includes hair
restoration surgery, and he has served as a
production physician for more than 40 movies
filmed in Michigan. Grant has received multiple
AMA Physician Recognition Awards and Patients'
Choice Awards. He can be reached at 248-645-1000.
WHOLE LOTTA BUSINESS GOIN' ON!
2016 TMA SOUTHEAST REGIONAL
CONFERENCE AND CAPITAL MALL
JUNE 1-3, 2016 | GAYLORD OPRYLAND RESORT | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
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