Some Random Healthcare Topics Currently in the News

Health HeadlinesOur current healthcare system is frequently in the news.  But with the upcoming 2020 election, the healthcare headlines are becoming more frequent.  Here are some random healthcare topics from recent news sources:

PHYSICIAN SHORTAGES

The Association of American Medical Colleges predicted a shortfall of 122,000 physicians by 2032.[1]  Physician groups[2] are emphasizing addressing this fact as one of the first steps in reforming our “For-Profit Healthcare Insurance Model.”[3]

  1. Drive Drug Prices Down and Increase Supply.
  2. Strengthen the Safety Net for the Vulnerable.
  3. Foster Fresh Models to Pay for Medical Care.
  4. Reverse Our Physician Shortage.
  5. Make Actual Prices Transparent.

“The projected shortage includes both primary care (between 21,100 and 55,200) and specialty care (between 24,800 and 65,800). Among specialists, the data project a shortage of between 1,900 and 12,100 medical specialists, 14,300 and 23,400 surgical specialists, and 20,600 and 39,100 other specialists, such as pathologists, neurologists, radiologists, and psychiatrists.”[4]

These shortages will only increase the angst which the American public has concerning access to the doctor of their choice. Nationally voters ranked healthcare as the top issue.[5] If we break down the components of that concern, one of the issues is losing access to the doctor of your choice.  There are three distinct steps to obtaining ACCESS:

  1. Gaining entry into the healthcare system, which usually requires insurance coverage
  2. Accessing a location where “needed healthcare services are provided (geographic availability).”
  3. Finding a healthcare provider “whom the patient trusts and can communicate with (personal relationship).”[6]

Finding a healthcare provider could become the key! The United States would need an additional 95,900 doctors immediately if health care access were to match use patterns across race, insurance coverage, and geographic location.[7]  “The evidence also shows that primary care (in contrast to specialty care) is associated with a more equitable distribution of health in populations, a finding that holds in both cross-national and within-national studies.”[8]

Yet renumeration does not favor the Primary Care doc. Doctors are among the highest paid professionals in the United States, frequently beating out lawyers, software developers, and finance managers, amongst other groups of professionals. “Doctors bank about $35,000 more each year then the next top earners — lawyers.”[9] Their compensation varies based on the location and their specialty, as well as how well they (or their practice consultants) have learned to use the “For-Profit Health Insurance Model” systems.

  • ORTHOPEDICS: $443,000
  • CARDIOLOGY: $410,000
  • DERMATOLOGY: $381,000
  • GASTROENTEROLOGY: $380,000
  • RADIOLOGY: $375,000
  • UROLOGY: $367,000
  • ANESTHESIOLOGY: $360,000
  • PLASTIC SURGERY: $365,000
  • ONCOLOGY: $329,000
  • GENERAL SURGERY: $322,000
  • EMERGENCY MEDICINE: $322,000
  • OPHTHALMOLOGY: $309,000
  • CRITICAL CARE: $306,000
  • PULMONARY MEDICINE: $281,000
  • OBSTETRICS/GYNECOLOGY: $277,000
  • NEPHROLOGY: $273,000
  • PATHOLOGY: $266,000
  • NEUROLOGY: $241,000
  • RHEUMATOLOGY: $234,000
  • PSYCHIATRY: $226,000
  • INTERNAL MEDICINE: $222,000
  • ALLERGY: $222,000
  • HIV/ID: $215,000
  • FAMILY MEDICINE: $207,000
  • ENDOCRINOLOGY: $206,000
  • PEDIATRICS: $204,000

WHY?

Let us look at the data from 2019.[10]  Despite the need for more primary care doctors, graduates of U.S. medical schools are becoming less likely to choose to specialize in one of those fields. Even though a record-high number of primary care positions was offered (2019 National Resident Matching Program  known to doctors as “the Match”); the percentage of primary care positions filled by fourth-year medical students was the lowest it has ever been since records of these “matches” were kept.

“I think part of it has to do with income,” said Mona Signer, the CEO of the Match. “Primary care specialties are not the highest paying.” Ms. Singer also suggested that where a student gets a degree also influences the choice. “Many medical schools are part of academic medical centers where research and specialization is a priority.”

FOOTNOTES:

[1] “New Findings Confirm Predictions on Physician Shortage,” Press Release AAMCNEWS, 23 Apr 2019, news.aamc.org/press-releases/article/2019-workforce-projections-update/

[2] “REDUCING COST AND WASTE IN AMERICAN MEDICINE-A Physician-Led Roadmap to Patient-Centered Medical Care,” Free to Care Physician Symposium Washington, DC, 1 Apr 2019, www.physiciansforreform.org/files/5015/5406/4369/Reducing_Cost_and_Waste_in_American_Medicine.pdf

[3] Earthquake-How the Ever-shifting Healthcare Model Victimizes Americans, Copyright @ 2019 by Brian H. Casull, MD, MPA

[4] op cit “New Findings Confirm Predictions on Physician Shortage,” Press Release AAMCNEWS, 23 Apr 2019

[5] Edwards-Levy, Ariel, “Voters Say Health Care Is A Top Issue In The 2018 Election — A Good Sign For Democrats,” HuffPost Politics, 06 April 2018.

[6]  “Access to Health Services.” Healthcare-Associated Infections | Healthy People 2020, 29 Dec. 2018, www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/Access-to-Health-Services.

[7] op cit “New Findings Confirm Predictions on Physician Shortage,” Press Release AAMCNEWS, 23 Apr 2019

[8] Starfield, B, et al, “Contribution of Primary Care to Health Systems and Health,” Milbank Q. 2005 Sep; 83(3): 457–502, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2690145/

[9] Renzulli, Kerri Anne. “The Highest-Paying Jobs in 2016 | Money.” Time, Time, 9 Mar. 2016, time.com/money/4251274/highest-paying-jobs-glassdoor-2016/.

[10] Knight, Victoria, “American Medical Students Less Likely To Choose To Become Primary Care Doctors,” Kaiser Health News, 3 Jul 2019, khn.org/news/american-medical-students-less-likely-to-choose-to-become-primary-care-doctors/

By | 2019-10-22T09:51:10+00:00 October 22nd, 2019|Categories: Healthcare|0 Comments

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