Saturday, February 21, 2015
Congress Is About to Impose Another Unfunded Mandate on Doctors
Congress has a habit of passing laws that cost physicians a great deal of money. During the past ten or more years congress has mandated expensive electronic health records, formation of expensive organizations (accountable care organizations), affordable care act, and less well known regulations ostensibly designed and marketed as cost saving methods. All the while these changes actually increase the cost of physicians to deliver the same care while increasing the volume of patients in order to compensate for this increase in overhead. The predicted improvement in efficiency has actually led to an average increase of one or mo re hours per day in the clinic. The length of each patient encounter has increased several minutes, and at the end of the day sometimes one hour to complete records. Physicians have been turned into clerks. In order to receive reimbursement physicians must bill electronically, and submit to a strict set of rules for meaningful use. The term meaningful use is a misnomer applying to data that can be analyzed by third parties to be analyzed. But that is another story.
During the past several years a constant barrage of mandates, EHRs, Meaningful use, and others have increased work load for physicians and staff alike. Hospitals are also involved in the changeover. These demands have convinced many physicians to join groups, sell to a hospital, or retire. Overall, earlier retirement, or changing to part-time work is reducing the number of physician work hours, seeing patients.
"Doctors in their day-to-day practice already face a mound of federal regulations.