The Business of Healthcare Depends on the Exploitation of Doctors and Nurses

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Do you wonder why healthcare costs so much, and where does the money go?

According to a recent New York Times article there are now 10 administrators for every doctor working in hospitals in America. The number of administrators has increased over 3000% between 1975 and 2010.  Please read that again! Do you wonder why healthcare costs so much and where does the money go? Think about what the increase in administrative and support staff has added to the cost of any procedure or hospital stay.

With increases in administration come increases in unpaid mandates for physicians and nurses. Meetings that must be attended and committees that have to function for the structural operation of the hospital are required activities for the medical staff. Many of the doctors are not paid by the hospital for their participation on these committees or for their compliance time for learning to operate the different EMR systems of the hospitals. Doctors are paid for their medical intervention with patients. Their income derives from direct patient care, not from hospital management. Your bill covers all of that, hospital maintenance and staffing as well as medical care. What portion of your cost of treatment do you think goes to the physician or nurse who provides the care directly to you? How much of the cost goes to the hospital and or insurance administrative system and how much to the person who does the work directly on or for your health care?

This week we are speaking about an article published in the New York Times on June 8th of this year. It was written by Dr. Danielle Ofri and her primary contention is that there is a burgeoning burn out issue among physicians and nurses that can be directly attributed to the increasing burden of administrative practice and required paperwork that take away from actual medical care of patients and add hours to the working day of the medical professional without regard to its impact on their stress levels or exhaustion. Dr. Ofri also contends that there is an imbalance in pay when the actual medically qualified interventionist (the Nurse or the Doctor) receives little or no pay for their administrative time spent rather than for their medical care of patients AND for the imbalance between what the providers get paid compared to the bean counters and administrators who run the system!

The author contends that if Doctors and Nurses clocked out when their shift ended like administrative staff are allowed to do that it would result in a calamity in terms of health care for the patients and that the system would crash. Many doctors are not paid by the hospital, they tender their bills directly to the patient and have to help the patient process this with their insurance if they have insurance, which is also a free time commitment by the physician and takes time that they do not then have for the practice of medicine. Nurses are required to stay until their paperwork is completed and updated no matter when their actual shift ended. Many administrators work banker’s hours and their staff work set clock hours.

The question begging to be asked is: what will the accumulated impact of all this stress and these demands on the time of the health care practitioners when they burn out?  Increasing numbers of physicians are retiring because the stress of the system and their frustration with it are making them not want to continue swimming against the tide as they try to improve the health of patients while fighting off increasing demands on their time by the administrative and bureaucratic requirements regulating the practice of medicine.

Listen to Dr. Maupin share her own experiences with this system and her thoughts about how to correct the problems that she sees with it.

This Health cast was written and presented by Dr. Kathy Maupin, M.D., Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Expert and Author, with Brett Newcomb, MA., LPC., Family Counselor, Presenter and Author.


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