Healthcare is a complex field, but sometimes it seems one change could make a big difference. One GI physicians shares what he wishes he could change for the better of healthcare and the gastroenterology field.
Ask a Gastroenterologist is a weekly series of questions posed to GI physicians around the country on business and clinical issues affecting the field of gastroenterology. We invite all gastroenterologists to submit responses.
Next week's question: What do you think will be the biggest challenge for gastroenterologists in 2016?
Please submit responses to Carrie Pallardy at firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday, October 22, at 5 p.m. CST.
Maxwell Chait MD FACP, FACG, AGAF, FASGE, ColumbiaDoctors Medical Group (Hartsdale, N.Y.): If I could change one thing to improve healthcare and the GI field it would be to reduce the business impact that managed care has forced upon the GI physician and the way it has eroded the physician patient relationship into more of a provider-client relationship. The major consequence of the changes we have experienced is the loss of a degree of control that physicians once possessed. GI physicians fight many battles for their patients. F
or example, the payment reform affecting reimbursement for colon cancer screening colonoscopy is but one of the many battles that we fight for our patients. There is less of the passion once felt by many who were drawn to the medical profession for mostly the right reasons. External pressures from managed care organizations and the government under the cloak of quality improvement and better patient care are no more than business tools to gather information and reduce costs. GI physicians are frustrated and working harder than ever to adapt to changes and pressures and to continue to deliver high quality medical care despite the obstacles placed in their path.
Patients are also frustrated and working harder than ever to learn how to cope with changing rules and dealing with the physicians who must be on their plans to be covered. The physician-patient relationship has been present for centuries and is still recognizable whenever circumstances bring together the physician and patient no matter the setting. Despite the evolving torrent of cost saving, information gathering stumbling blocks eroding this cornerstone of medicine, I believe the physician-patient relationship must and will survive the ever increasing intrusions of the evolving business models of current day medicine that GI physician must cope with.