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‘Give Us A Break’, Physicians Want More Autonomy

If you could make a statement to the public and policy makers about the state of the medical profession today and how health care delivery can be improved, what would you say?

In Part Three of the Physicians Foundation’s 2020 Survey of America’s Physicians: COVID-19 and the Future of the Health Care System, many physicians reported feeling that changes need to be made to assuage the burden on physicians, which was already growing even before the pandemic.

Why? Many physicians discussed administrative and reimbursement burdens, wanting to focus health care delivery back to the physician-patient relationship, their patients’ barriers to care, and simplifying or streamlining health care delivery and the complexity of insurance plans. In short: they want more control.

It’s no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges to our physicians and their practices. With the added strain of working through the pandemic, physicians are asking for more flexibility.

Read the direct quotes from physicians about telehealth:

“Reduce bureaucracy/administrators. Discuss medical futility and improve patient’s health literacy and ability to make informed decisions about their care.”

“Give us a break, stop changes to physician reimbursement changes for 2021 that are planned. Some of us are just making it and if it gets much worse there will be far fewer physicians to care for patients. The pandemic is already stressing the system. Hold a moratorium on changes until the pandemic quiets down and we can get back to some semblance of ‘normal.’”

“Health care delivery and reimbursement now are needlessly complicated and expensive, and I believe that streamlining it would increase access and decrease cost. The most important care we can provide is not as technically difficult and needs to be widespread preventative and public health care, and that is where we are utterly failing.”

“The medical profession is under siege from multiple fronts and I think that morale is at an all-time low. If we are to improve health care delivery, we have to give patients the tools to access health care and medical professionals and the autonomy to provide care without the crushing weight of the added responsibility of over documentation, lack of resources (due to bad insurance and unethical insurance and pharmaceutical practices), and multiple layers of bureaucracy (that suck the life out of you, daily).”

“Eliminate prior authorizations which obstruct care and impair the doctor patient relationship.”

“We need to refocus the health care system on the delivery of health care, and away from a for-profit business model where every player is trying to get a piece of the pie and the patient becomes a cog in a machine; the physician-patient relationship is pushed to the purpose of running that machine rather than the personal delivery of care through the long-term doctor-patient relationship.”

“Due to pandemic and huge cost to health care systems, health care systems are having trouble paying physician salaries. When we are working during a pandemic and exposed to COVID daily, risking our lives and our families, it is heartbreaking to have our salaries decrease 62.5%.”

“The medical profession is overwhelmed today, working against an expensive system with costs in large part due to complex administrative overhead that has not demonstrated its worth in improving the quality-of-care Americans receive. Each state cannot stand alone when it comes to health care, but Medicare is the model to emulate. Rather, a robust, national system built on Medicaid expansion and proven quality improvement initiatives that would apply to all states would increase access and allow for streamlined administration with better quality and lower cost.”

“Much of expenses and risk of burnout by physicians and other health care providers is linked to management of logistical barriers to patients receiving health care, whether due to cost or access to social support systems that are outside of the realm of traditional medicine but play a fundamental part in patient health. We need to have a system that holistically examines, supports and coordinates health for individuals and communities and invest in programs and personnel that can provide these services in a cost effective and valuable way.”

“We need to return medicine to where it belongs, between the patient and a physician.”

“The system is too complex; we need more transparency. I think universal coverage for highly valuable low-cost preventive services is important, but I think insurance companies should be more market driven. I think government subsidies and government regulations of insurance companies are a short-term fix and should not be continued.”

“Health care delivery and insurance is way too complicated. Simplify it all.”

“Clinicians want to deliver the best possible care and not be restrained / limited by unnecessary rules and regulations.”

“Health care is a right, not a luxury. Policy should reflect this.”

“Stop pressuring the physicians to see high volumes of patients and spend more time treating the patients properly.”

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