We all know and admit there are a lot of problems in U.S. Healthcare. It may not always be clear what they actually are, or better said, what the actual root causes are. It’s clear to many that when you call to see your doctor, you can’t get in quickly; when you look for a new PCP taking patients, you wait 6 months for your new visit; when you want to see the doctor you signed up for, you see a PA instead; when you want to talk to your physician, an RN or MA gets on the phone instead.
But why is that? What has happened to the era of house calls, general practitioners who cared for your whole family and swung by when the kids were home with Scarlet Fever? Why don’t doctors take care of you like they used to?
Often the blame gets pointed right at us. Doctors are greedy. They get paid too much. They go to school too long. They don’t listen long enough. They make us feel rushed. We hear these complaints coming from frustrated patients switching to Direct Doctors all the time. But, it’s important - and perhaps shocking - to realize that it isn’t expensive growth of a greedy group of doctors that is fueling the inadequate and inefficient system we’ve all come to dislike and distrust. It is the growth of administrators. Or at least...that is one of the reasons.
In 1970, the number of physicians was about equivalent to the number of administrative helpers. By 2009, the number of administrators per physician was about 16 to every 1 doctor. If you want to see this in a staggering visual image, check this out. At Direct Doctors, we have no staff. Are you with me? None. While some staff are heavily relied upon and fully cherished by physicians, the administration involved in insurance-based oversight of doctors’ decision-making has just added costs, red tape, and denials of what doctors believe their patients need.
Bureaucracy has its place but it was never intended to be part of medicine. When medicine became a business, it became corporatized and every middle man on the block has gotten his or herself wedged in between the patient-doctor relationship. We believe you need a doctor and you need insurance for unexpected catastrophes. Everything in between can be worked through via a strong patient-doctor relationship.
Policies, protocols, and authorizations require non-medical administrators. Medical care requires medical doctors, patients, and health-related staff. If you’re ready to leave a lot of the red tape behind and want to see or talk to your doctor - every time you need them...come check us out and see the Direct Doctors’ Difference.
Lauren Hedde, DO and Mark Turshen, MD are Family Physicians and Founders of Direct Doctors, Inc. a Direct Primary Care Practice.