The Current State of Medical Care – A Doctor’s Perspective

Dr. Shawn Tassone, Guest Writer
Waking Times

A recent study of over 1,000 family practitioners stated that close to 70% of primary care providers would be either retiring or leaving medical care within the next 5 years. While this is disturbing, what I found more disturbing is the responses to this story on Google. Most, if not all of the responses were blasting the medical professionals for being whiners and for making too much money. Is that what patients are truly upset about is that their doctor is making too much money. Obviously, people are entitled to their belief systems, but what a horrible system in which to operate.

Doctors are whiners? The real reason that I will see 44-50 patients per day is because people call my office and need to be seen; does this make the patient a whiner? I would say no, this means that the patient feels the need to see a doctor and on our end, we try to work them in so that this service can be provided.  In a socialized format, this phone call to be seen on the same day will be a thing of the past, and with lower numbers of doctors practicing medicine, there will be less appointments.

I am not starving to death and I never have complained about my income. I can tell you that I have spent 4 years in medical school, 4 years in residency, and 2 years in fellowship (all after college), to get where I am today, and yet, there seems to be a culture in this country that 10 years of postgraduate work should not be monetarily rewarded, or if one makes money then this makes them a greedy or bad person somehow. I am always fascinated how people make money in this country. I know many people that did not graduate from college that are making more than me, and I do not belabor them; I wonder how they did it.

Medical reimbursements have not increased substantially in the last 10+ years, while hard costs for running an office, employee payroll, billing, medical malpractice, and cost of equipment have increased substantially. The main cost at my office is payroll and employee benefits and this increases yearly. The reason for this increase is that we have wonderful employees and we pay them in order to keep them. My main postulate is that we take care of people. We make money as physicians and we give money back. The truth of the matter is that money seems to be how people are judged in our society, and I am not sure this is a true measure of a person’s worth.

Medical care in this country is beyond sick, it is in the throes of death and will not be recovering. Who is to blame?

* The doctors for making too much money?  If that were the case then why would more than 70% of primary care physicians be leaving medicine in the next few years. I would think that the promise of a lucrative income would keep them plugging away. The truth is that the work loads and patient dissatisfaction with their own casts is pushing physicians out of medicine. The volume of paperwork is a monster that has consumed many medical practices and this is worsening. Money is not worth the paper it is printed on….literally. Physicians don’t make too much money, they are burned out trying to get the payments from insurance and buried under mountains of paperwork.

The patients for not taking better care of themselves?  Unfortunately, one of the reasons we are one of the least healthy countries in the world is not because of our medicine, it is because of our nutrition. When drive through burgers are cheaper than fresh produce, this is a problem. When the main portion of a diet are aspartame, corn syrup, and meat byproducts (whatever those are), then this is a problem. We have expensive medical care, no doubt, but we use it too much. Patients are plagued by rising medical insurance costs and many of them have no idea what their plans even cover. Medical insurance is only good in this country if you don’t get sick.  Patients should be rewarded for being the right weight and for being healthy. Health insurance should also be there for patients when they need it.

* Frivolous lawsuits.  While lawsuits are definitely warranted in cases of gross negligence, the amount of frivilous lawsuits yearly is laughable. Similar to the woman that burned herself on coffee from McDonalds and won multiple millions of dollars (now we have warnings that our coffee is hot) for something that seemed common sense. We want to blame someone when complications happen. Unfortunately, medical care is not perfect, because the people giving the care are human. We have a robot for surgery. The robot is still run by a human being.

* Insurance companies.  You pay the premiums, they deny procedures. You drive out of the state where you reside and your coverage stays behind (ridiculous). Have you ever really sat down and read your policy?  Do you know what they pay for if you go to the emergency room? Do you know what your copay is for a visit at the doctor’s office. Did you know that copays and premiums have been skyrocketing for years and reimbursements for procedures and physician visits have not……..where is this money going? If the insurance companies would spend more time paying for legitimate healthcare that you have subsidized with your premium payments, rather than spending money on trying to find a reason for denial, it would more than likely save money.

The main point of this essay, is to point out the fact that our medical system is ready to die and I think we need to let it go. I might get raked over the coals by colleagues for this, but if Obama wants to socialize medicine, I say let it be. I am very suspicious that socialized medicine will work and I am not for paying higher taxes, but I think the current system is disgusting. If socialized medicine means that patients are happy, this in turn will truly help me sleep better at night. I think consumers should be happy with the product they receive, and while I feel that physicians are doing the best we can, the patients are not happy. Physicians let managed care take over in the 80’s and we should jump on the grenade created by the current state of affairs. Medicine is controlled by bureaucracies and socialized medicine would be the biggest bureaucracy of them all.

The question would be, once medicine is controlled by Uncle Sam, will we be a healthier nation?  Will we be able to regulate something that has been removed from the public sector.  How many jobs will be lost just in the private insurance sector?  These are questions that need to be evaluated.

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  • nubwaxer

    well i see i’ve come to some right wing extremist propaganda circle jerk. hey, i’ll bet foreign doctors would be quite happy to fill the old white doctors who are retiring because they are too old anyway.

    • nubwaxer

      whoops, my bad. i only read part of the first paragraph. i’m for single payer, medicare for all to cut out the huge (25% or more) overhead and profit that gets siphoned off by insurance companies rather than going to health care. we pay about 17% of our GDP, about the highest amount of any industrialized country, yet obtain results near the bottom of that same list of countries. by the way, the entire social security system costs about 20% of our GDP for comparison.

  • nlhurley

    Dr. Shawn Tassone has it all wrong. People resent medical doctors because they are not healers. Medical doctors are trained to use drugs to treat symptoms but do not address the cause of illness. In essence, medical doctors have been trained to be drug pushers for the pharmaceutical industry. People are losing trust in their physicians at a rapid rate as they become aware that pharmaceutical drugs do more harm than good causing the patient’s health to deteriorate in a downward spiral. Medical doctors need to educate themselves on critical subjects such as human nutrition and physiology, as well as alternative healing methods if they are to survive as a profession.

    • Rosie

      I agree, people resent contributing to the wealth of those who are supposed to restore health but who choose to follow the pharmaceutical industry’s agenda for their own gain at the expense of the pain and suffering of humanity.

      Lets face it, the pharmaceutical industry is in business to make money so it has very little incentive to heal people.

      healthy people => no need for drugs => no money

      It is that simple!

  • David V

    Excellent comments here. I had intended to rant, but everything I could rant about has already been said. I don’t fault doctors for making money. I DO fault them for peddling pills and not treating patients like people. Every time I see my Dr he has to read through my file to even remember who I am. It’s the insurance companies who are making out like bandits. I have predicted for years that the whole medical-industrial complex will collapse of its own dead weight. There will be a huge demand for natural remedies and alternative therapies.

  • Tanya

    Doctors are taking point for the sh*tstorm that is aimed at the medical system of this country. I’m perfectly happy to have a hardworking medical professional make a million a year. If a good doctor doesn’t deserve that, who does? What I am unhappy about, is the insurance company who stands between me and my doctor with its hand out, who must take from me (the customer) enough to pay the costs and the profits for his whole company, including all the upper management that make much more than my doctor!. This is the money-sucking tick that is attached to our health care system. These are the people who are making too much money. I’d rather just pay my doctor.

  • blacco

    oh how short our memories can be, as of now days your butt is still cold because it did not get a chance to warm the seat in exam room. 8 min. is not enough time to warm the chair let alonne tell them what is wrong!
    40 years ago after return to indian reservation took my 2 1/2 year old to Dr., ( THIS DOCTOR ESCAPED NEW YORK TO HELP PEOPLE) he did not look at her, put her aside and started on me, she will live, you won’t! Seems I was overexposed to low level radiation , and he figured this out with out anything but his microscope and a few questions,,,,no 8 min. apointment here. My cost after 2 months, a whole $25.00.
    Broke my back 2 times, neck 1 time, and was misdiagnosed for all 3, said i had infection?!!. Not until a real Dr. called me and said come to me & we will figure this out, and after8000.00 out of pocket did i get true answers, and he was an Osteopath. Now your best options are, GO OUT OF THE COUNTRY, MEXICO, PERU, INDIA, ANY CONTRY THAT IS SO CALLED BACWARD AND YOU WILL GET THE BEST CARE IN THE WORLD, THEY GIVE YOU TIME AND KNOW WHAT IS REALLY WRONG! TAKE A VACATION
    Doctors are controled by the insurance co. & corperate & “NON-PROFIT” hospital & not you as the patient. OBAMEE’S CARE ACT.===FREEFALL WITH BOTTOM IN SIGHT,,A,,BIG ROCKY LANDING.

  • G Street

    Doctor, I think it’s a case of shooting the messenger. Patients see you and not the industrialized profit machine.

    Here is an important point: Now that buying insurance is mandated by law, doesn’t the law require equality? The biggest cause of the paperwork nightmare is because insurers place people into different pools. Now, just as swimming pools were once segregated, doesn’t the force of law require that insurers not discriminate by paying one price for one person’s care and another price for another’s?

    If we got rid of insurance pools, we would have de facto single payer. It would collapse paperwork and costs, but it would still be a free market as far as choosing providers. It would make Medicare function better as it would expand coverage to younger, healthier patients. I don’t mind being told I have to have insurance if it is Medicare. I object to being required to make healthcare profiteers rich. I don’t think doctors, on the whole, are the problem.

  • Nick P

    Great article. I agree with most of what’s in it. Nutrition, reimbursement issues and frivilous lawsuits being the best points. I contend with one thing though because it’s unfair, a bit uninformed and a little aggravating: the mockery of the McDonald’s coffee case. Many people’s perception is a woman had some coffee, we know it can burn you, she’s clumsy, gets hurt, sues them and makes millions. I got the specifics in college and I can tell you that’s TOTALLY WRONG and I have her back these days. It’s more like the calculated evil of the exploding Ford Pinto’s. Here’s my summary.

    1. McDonalds originally brewed coffee at normal temperatures (those people expect). It got lukewarm so they kept having to brew more. They decided to greatly raise the temperature so squeeze extra profit out of it and please regular customers w/out constant brewing. So long as people are warned, this seems acceptable: you just have to let the coffee cool a bit before drinking it.

    2. They didn’t warn people. This is important. How many times have you or someone you know spilled their coffee on them? And it burned a little, reddening their skin right? How many of them were disfigured for life? None? Exactly.

    The McDonalds coffee was so hot it cause THIRD DEGREE BURNS in SECONDS. You couldn’t even get it off of you before your skin was mangled. So, before this practice, people knew coffee was “hot” in the sense spilling it could burn you a little. They weren’t extra careful cuz why would it ever be deadly or burn-unit hot, you know?

    3. When problems showed up, they didn’t address them. This includes taking responsibility for damage they caused and putting warnings out that their coffee was EXTREMELY hot. My next source, Morgan and Morgan, gives specifics:

    3-1. McDonalds only offered $800 for medical bills. The coffee spill required expensive skin grafts and hospitalization. $800 is just adding insult to injury.

    3-2. McDonalds had received over 700 complaints about their extra hot coffee during a 10 year process. That’s TEN YEARS of damaging people & ignoring it.

    3-3. Jury didn’t totally blame McDonalds: the woman did get about 20% blame, factoring into compensation decisions.

    So, I’d say the lawsuit was totally justified and McDonalds decision-makers should maybe even be hit with criminal charges. Doing this much damage over time without even trying to increase safety is professionally negligent & unethical. Alas, the conclusion isn’t “she won millions” that you said. Actually (per M&M)…

    1. The $2.9 million was a punishment considered b/c McDonalds made $2.7mil a day on coffee sales. Idea is punishment should be high enough to deter them. Otherwise, it’s just a cost of doing business (e.g. speeding tickets & traveling salesmen).

    2. She was initially awarded only $170,000. Latter settled with them for a number “under $600,000.”

    3. McDonalds was judged to pay $2.7 million to court punitively. It was later reduced to around $480,000.

    Oh, and let’s not forget

    4. McDonalds added a warning that their coffee could burn you and started taking the complaints a little more seriously. Something they didn’t do for 10 years and 700 complaints.

    Although imperfect, I’d say it was a success story of the legal system. That the facts of the case are so distorted shows how messed up the media is. Anyway, hope some readers’ perspective is broadened a bit on this. I know mine was when I got the facts of the case. There are definitely way too many frivilous lawsuits, but this wasn’t one of them.

    • leo

      And exactly what does this long winded verbiage has to do with the price of tea in China? I believe that we are talking about the medical profession, not McDonalds and the legal system. Get with the program pal!

  • SN

    Kinda hard to have a “medical practice” if the patients
    don’t keep coming back. Sadly, there are thousands of
    real cures but you will never get them from a “medical
    professional”. How many cures for cancer are forbidden
    for example ?

  • Mr. Jonz

    Nowadays GPs are just gatekeepers to drugs and other “specialists.” All they do is prescribe and refer. If a person could buy the drugs they need over the counter and make appointments directly without a referral, there would be almost no need for anyone to ever go to a GP. GPs should either start practicing medicine or get out of the way. They’re just unnecessary overhead like the insurance companies.

  • The medical system is SO CORRUPT, it’s NOT about HEALING, it’s about making you sick and VULNERABLE.
    so they can TAKE EVERYTHING you worked your WHOLE life for, which is happening to me!! Because they claim there are NO CURES FOR ANYTHING!! This SCAM will only get worse with Obama Care, since most TREATMENTS, WILL not be treatments, BUT profit for Big Pharma, insurance companies and ALL the other VULTURES out there! Holistic medicine will be OUTLAWED if they get there way!! And on top of that it’s going to be IMPOSSIBLE TO BE HEALTHY IN AMERICA!! ISN’T THAT CALLED RACKETEERING????

  • Greg Charles

    People have been indoctrinated to rush to the doctor for the slightest thing, and that indoctrination has largely come from the pharma industry. So personal responsibility enters into the equation of a better health care system – stay healthy, don’t abuse yourself and don’t call the doctor every time you have a headache. But making a profit from sick people is just plain wrong, and conflicts with the Hippocratic Oath of doing no harm – that “harm” extends to financial harm. Every other civilized nation has nationalized health care except the U.S. The question then is, when do we become civilized?

  • Dr. Tassone is right on the money. Medical students make a huge investment in time, effort, money, and liability becoming doctors. They are under assault currently because doctors traditionally have been conservative and had discretionary incomes to use politically. So they are being smeared in the media campaign to reduce their wages and destroy their autonomy. If people think medicine has been expensive, wait until they see the costs of “free” medicine in Obamacare! Those costs will literally kill you. The system of “Big Pharma” with medical schools, the FDA and licensing boards, tie our doctors’ hands and shut their mouths, making good medicine illegal and unknown to protect $. Government healthcare defends big business, not you or good medicine!

  • I do not have any problem with the amount of money a doctor makes. What I do have a problem with is the fact that most times doctors have no idea what they are doing. They prescribe very deadly pharmaceuticals with little if any knowledge of how bad they are. They more they prescribe, the more kickbacks they get from big Pharma to participate in well paying “seminars”. I’ve seen doctors prescribe “medicines” that are in direct dangerous conflict with other medications. If I wasn’t vigilant I’d have even more dead relatives because of malpractice by ignorant doctors.

    Doctors rarely cure. They simply prescribe drugs to mask the symptoms. They get people roped into this cycle of “time to see the doctor and have my blood tested”. That’s when the trouble starts and before you know it the patient is on statin drugs that literally destroy valuable cholesterol in the brain. Then it’s high blood pressure medication. Then it’s Prozac. Before you know it, your on Coumadin aka rat poison!

    The TRUTH be known, if people would consume a nutrient rich diet of the ninety essential vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other good things, get plenty of daily exercise, and stop eating this dangerous poison laden “food” supply, the need for doctors would nearly VANISH.

    In closing I will say that I simply do not trust doctors. Their “practice” is not much better than voodoo or witchcraft. I have excellent medical coverage but I’ll take my chances with good nutrition and exercise, the doctors be damned.

  • Larry

    Turn medicine into a right, instead of a privilege. Revoke all the licensing laws. Let anyone get into the profession. Make it a crime to interfere with anyone wanting to practice it as a right (an inalienable right under the Constitution), rather than a privilege. Tell the AMA that their monopoly on medicine is over. They can run their own schools, but they cannot stop others from putting up their own schools and hospitals. Let the free market operate. Let people know that, every time they step into a hospital, they must take responsibility for their own decisions, and not rely on state interference. Watch the price of medical care come down, the quality go up, and a lot of unemployed people end up with great jobs! When you turn a right into a privilege, only the privileged will be able to afford it! Larry

  • The current health care system is all about managing symptoms, and poorly at that. Health was understood decades ago…Food Is Medicine. Nutrition is so much of our health, why is there so much disease and obesity??? Just look at the average American diet. Start putting good things in your body and you’ll be surprised at what happens.

  • Anonymous

    yet there are more diseases than ever

  • rollsthepaul

    Doctor’s have been on a pedestal, that they learned to like and truly become full of pride. This did no one any good, including the doctors. I have gone to my present doctor for over two years and he is yet to lay a hand on me. General Practitioners are about pills and referrals, for the most part. I like my doctor because I can see him within two weeks of requesting an appointment. I take quite a bit of responsibility for my own health and experiment using internet advice and my own judgement as well as that of my GP. People will die or be severely hurt, if they depend on their GP, to take any interest in their lifestyle decision details. I believe we should be our own doctor and the medical industry, should be viewed as assisting in a consulting roll. My wife and I have been involved in situations that would curl your hair. We have learned to carry our salt shaker when listening to any physician. Certainly we experiment with drugs, both natural and synthesized and we help each other figure out what causes what and what interferes with what. On the wall at my doctor’s office “We can seldom cure, we can often treat, we can always comfort”. Such mindsets of humility in the medical community, are rare and appreciated.

  • abinico warez

    A patient’s perspective: modern medical system typically cures nothing, and is pretty much nothing more than a middle man for the pharma industry. Arthritis (including rheumatoid) is easily cured by diet/supplements (low dose antibiotics for rheumatoid) – almost always given the necessary ingredients, joint cartilage can regenerate. High blood pressure – yup, food and supplements can cure that also. Insomnia – ditto. Acid reflux – ditto again. Depression – undone. All of these cures are well known and understood in the medical science of naturopathy. In closing, realize that if you suffer depression, it’s not because your body isn’t getting enough Zoloft. Get it? Such is the current state of our medical – you are a billing opportunity and nothing more, and if they can hook you as a repeat customer, so much the better.

    • Chris

      Too true! The following is my experience on my last visit to the Doctors. 8.30am Call to try to make an appointment, receptionist says no! 9.00am arrive Doctors office, 10.15am Doctors call my name, 10.16am sit down, 10.19am enter pharmacy with prescription (literally 3 doors down the street)10.20am walk out of pharmacy without drugs vowing never to go back to Doctor unless dying! The system is screwed!

  • We don’t need “socialized medicine”. We need Single Payer healthcare. No matter how much the MSM says differently, these two things are NOT the same.

    Single Payer would rid you (and me) of the insurance scams (denial, droppages when leaving a state, monopolies, etc).

    Also, if the maniacs that had you spent all that time in school would actually teach you something other than carrying Big Pharma’s water and focused on real healing methods, instead of sick-care and making as much money from sick people, the world would begin to heal.

    My own Dr (at least, WAS my Dr) recently told me that she “doesn’t do preventative medicine”. That visit was my last.

    If Dr’s focused on Holistic medicine instead of the scam chemical treatment method, which causes even MORE sickness, you would have less to complain about.

    • I ditched my doctor that I’d had for years when I was seeking help for depression. He prescribed me 3 different types of psychotropic drugs to ‘try out’ so that we could find the one that I would then take forever from that point. I asked him if he thought a better diet or more exercise would help and he said ‘no, that won’t help, but you should walk more if you feel like it.” I never went back. -Admin

    • Al Pike

      Single payer system? Ha. You assume the system will pay what the treatment is worth. You are very mistaken that a “communistic committee” will know what the service is worth. You had best look at outcomes in socialized medicine for various treatments. The more serious the condition the more likely you will die for lack of care. No Free Lunches. The original writer of this article appears to be a shill, and my belief in that is strengthened by a couple of basic writing mistakes that tell me this person is not a doctor. Don’t be conned by a PR snow job. Just look up outcome comparisons for socialized medical countries v. the u.s. outcomes.

      • Anonymous

        This guy is a doctor.
        Everything he has written is correct.
        I am a physician and this rings of truth.

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