HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT:
THE DETERIORATION OF MEDICINE
by John Tedeschi, MD
(Robbinsville, NJ) – It’s happening so gradually you hardly notice it at first. It’s a slow and deliberate erosion, targeting your family doctor, someone who will soon become a thing of the past.
Thanks to politics, insurance companies, special interest groups and other organizations, medicine is changing: the way it’s provided; who it’s provided to; exactly who the providers are and their qualifications; how much it costs and, literally, “who lives and who dies.” The old saying “follow the money” has never been truer than today.
On the surface, the bureaucrats are pretending to have the best interest of the patient in mind when it comes to medical coverage and healthcare. One wonders, though, when the architect of the Affordable Care Act questions the quest for life after 75.
In reality, Ezekiel Emanuel says it’s a matter of saving money – and where the money IS ultimately spent, it’s directed to special interest, profit-making organizations. Benefit to the patient is secondary.
It’s all carefully choreographed -- better than a Broadway musical.
As a result, physicians around the country are up in arms over unsafe and unethical insurance and federal regulating policies. These policies remove the trusted, precious and irreplaceable ‘doctor/patient relationship’ in favor of healthcare “rationing’ that is based on previously established Third World standards. And physicians have nowhere to turn for help. The AMA (the American Medical Association), long the advocate for the nation’s doctors, abandoned the needs of the physician years ago and has its own agenda. Today, only 14% of the nearly 400,000 licensed physicians are still members.
Doctoring just isn’t the same. The practice of medicine, its costs and medical policies, are now dictated and controlled by groups that don’t know the first thing about medicine, nor the people it serves. At one time, the practice of medicine in America was the envy of the world. Unfortunately, it has now been radically segmented.
The individual human rights and patient care needs are completely eroded and purposefully ignored. And more and more great doctors and educators, whose hands are tied, are simply giving up or leaving the country altogether.
It’s a national disgrace.
Getting a flu shot at Wal-Mart or CVS, for instance. Do these walk-in-off-the-street retail stores even know -- or care -- about the history of the patient and whether or not it’s safe to administer medicine of any kind? Flu shots are not for everyone, but they have no way of knowing. You find yourself in the hands of pharmacists who’ve just recently received a ‘crash course’ in how to immunize, a process mandated by the companies for which they work.
And even TV producers are realizing it’s a joke. In a recent episode of one sitcom, a son asks his father, “Hey, where have you been?” The father replies, “I got a flu shot at the pharmacy, because who better to administer medical care than the guy who puts price tags on flip-flops?”
Did I already use the words “national disgrace?”
Then, there are the rapidly emerging, drive-thru urgent care centers. Do you see a real doctor, or are you treated by a nurse practitioner or physician assistant who ‘looks and acts’ like a doctor? Plus, it’s an uncontrolled data collection center of your personal information.
Regardless of issue, doctors are now told how much time we can spend with each patient;
what tests we can and cannot request. We are now forced to re-certify more frequently and answer questions, in many cases, unethically, just to serve their financial needs.
We are told what kind of treatment can be provided to older patients, a type of “too old to treat” approach because of the life expectancy of the patient and the cost to the federal government. Even prescription medications that will effectively help the patient are routinely rejected by insurance companies and Medicare in favor of less expensive, ‘generic’ drugs that are archaic and simply don’t do the job. And we are aware, of course, of the conflict of interest of insurance companies having stock in the drugs that they do approve. It’s really sad.
The entire emphasis is not just based on saving money, but also ‘making money’ at the expense of human life and quality care.
We saw what happened to the VA under government control. Now the government wants to administer and control all of healthcare, nationwide?
The Affordable Care Act, neither ‘affordable’ nor ‘caring.’ Not a political statement; a fact. Ask any ‘real’ doctor.
The so-called “watchdogs” are not watching. The government agencies established to “protect American citizens” from these abuses are not doing their job. Where are our protectors? Where is today’s Paul Revere who can set out to “warn us.”
Why does society accept this? Are we ignorant, naïve, apathetic? Probably. One thing’s for sure: We’re on our own.
Think about that. But not for too long; you’ll give yourself a headache.”
Doctor John Tedeschi is a primary care-family doctor in Robbinsville, New Jersey, who has been practicing medicine for more than 30 years. He lives in Morrisville, Pennsylvania.