Eighteen physicians are members of the 114th Congress. Here are a few things the medical community should remind them of.
I am writing to you as a member of your district and a fellow physician concerned about the future of how we care for patients. As you well know from your experience as a practitioner and lawmaker, we are facing big challenges that are taking a toll on not just patients and doctors, but our nation as well. I encourage you to keep the following in mind during this legislative session:
1. Private practice is under siege and declining each year.
2. We need to address threatening Medicare and Medicaid budget shortfalls that are the main source of our exploding national debt.
3. Onerous, non-value producing, health IT regulations and mandates, including the ill-advised expansion of dysfunctional, non-interoperable electronic medical records are strangling us in data that does not substantively contribute to patient care. The ICD-10 implementation that went into effect this month are another example of unfunded mandates that increase costs and threaten cash flow to practitioners. Who do you think will eventually pay for these?
4. Third-party intermediary administriva is causing disenchantment and burnout and removing the joy of medicine.
5. Medical school student debt continues to expand. While applications to medical schools are at record levels, we could soon be seeing the bubble break, particularly with the GME funding bottleneck.
6. The increasing corporatization of medicine and consolidation of hospital systems and payers further constrains the ability of independent practitioners to survive, let alone thrive. Out-of-pocket costs continue to escalate.
7. Physician entrepreneurship continues to evolve and barriers to biomedical and health innovation should be removed. For example, there are several pieces of legislation that would create rules and regulations accelerating the adoption and penetration of telemedicine and remote sensing that should be passed.
8. The doctor-patient relationship is under siege.
9. Implement VA reforms and consider privatizing or outsourcing services that can be delivered better and cheaper outside of the agency. Funding the most expensive 184-bed hospital in the world does not inspire confidence in your ability to stand up to waste, fraud, and abuse.
10. Be a more vocal advocate for your medical colleagues in the trenches and be more forthright in educating your constituencies when it comes to the "facts" about the US healthcare system and the medical-industrial complex.
Thank you for your consideration.
For a list of the physicians in the 114th Congress, click here.