Becoming a doctor used to be tops on the career totem pole. If you were a physician you were part of a distinguished profession, inherent with the respect and dignity the lengthy education and responsibility deserved. That was then, this is now. Now a doctor is the ‘bad guy’ bringing in six figures, while the rest of us wait for months for an appointment. The perception being doctors high salaries are a major factor why our healthcare costs are skyrocketing. I disagree. I understand ‘perception is reality’, but to that I would counter, ‘don’t believe everything you hear’.
Doctors are Changing
If you are a regular reader, I’ve addressed the reasons I think healthcare costs are rising. It’s a vicious cycle – some might say of greed, however I prefer to think of it more as a fragmented, if not dysfunctional, system. A system in which doctors are becoming increasing less significant.
It used to be a physician’s primary focus was to administer to their patients. Today there is increasingly less autonomy as doctors are forced to deal with the bureaucratic demands of insurance company restrictions and prior approvals. All of which only increase the overhead costs of a practice. In reality, the higher practice costs compounded with rising malpractice and lower insurance reimbursements doesn’t actually add up in the end to big bucks for most doctors.
Be Your Own Health Advocate
So what does this mean to you to make sure you are not ‘paying more for less’. There are things you can do to facilitate your doctor visits. I can’t stress this enough, be your own health advocate. To do that effectively, know the intricacies of your insurance policy. Be familiar with what is and isn’t covered by your policy and alert the staff to any necessary prior approvals you are aware of. You are one of many in a busy practice; whatever you can do to help can only save you time and aggravation.
To be a doctor now, I don’t know. The pay isn’t what it used to be and they don’t appear to be getting the respect they deserve and that’s unfortunate. I do know this however– it doesn’t hurt to give your doctor and staff a break. They’ll appreciate it.
Thanks for reading!