The doctors’ fees have to drop. Medicare has made the first step in this deal, cutting the pay for specialists. The pay scale has been determined for years by specialists to the detriment of our GP’s and family physicians. Yes, there are more years of study and practice to be a surgeon. But, not enough to merit the thrice compensation they receive. Yes, good people will get paid more — that’s a fact that needs to be encouraged. But, not when an anesthesiologist can make four times the salary of an internist — that’s a heck of a multiple for waking up early. Just like corporate America has balked at the fees lawyers have been siphoning from the till — and finally winning — we need to do the same for doctors.
We will have more visits with nurse practitioners (NP). These highly qualified individuals are as good as physicians in diagnosis and management. At 1/3 the cost! Don’t believe me? There are plenty of studies. The newest one is in this month’s (OK, December’s) Journal of Advanced Nursing. Sure, this study is from Canada, where one may wait months to see an orthopedic surgeon (orthopod). (But, before you knee jerk your answer, consider this: how long have you waited to see a specialist in America? My friend just waited four months to see a specialist, and she has great insurance. So, it happens everywhere. Back to the facts.) The NP provided the same diagnosis as the orthopod in 100% of the 177 patients assessed. Moreover, 74% were happy to see the NP instead of the orthopod, and 96% were satisfied with the treatment modality and assessment. I could go on — 91% understood the NP’s assessment more clearly than when the orthopod explained the issues. The fact of the matter is that this is one of the proper ways to treat more people with quicker care at lower costs.
Join THAT bandwagon, please.