The Doctor is Out

When was the last time you saw an independent doctor? Nowadays, they are contracted as employees of hospital organizations. It’s easier for the insurance companies to set network rates and for the hospital to order medical supplies on economy of scale.

Hospital organizations now deal with their medical staffs like professional sports management and their athletes. You can’t tell who the doctors are in any hospital group without a scorecard. The players- I mean, doctors- come and go too frequently. More than a half year ago one of the specialists my mother sees left the group. She is still waiting to meet with her replacement in another two months. Until then, if she has any issues related to that specialty, it is handled by the bullpen (keeping with the sports analogy).

This was the third of her doctors to abandon ship in the past two years- one of them a surgeon who did some mighty fine work using a new device to implant into one of the regions of her body.

Three months ago her primary care physician (what we used to call ‘family doctor’) up and quit. She gave a short advance warning but there were no replacement doctors available. Any new doctor she was to visit would be considered as a new relationship even though she had been a patient in the hospital system for more than twenty years. Luckily, after throwing a tantrum as well as begging (me, not my mother), she was able to get scheduled a replacement doctor only three months away.

My mother saw the new doctor two weeks. She was beautiful, young, fashion model-like in appearance. She wore four inch red stiletto high heels (not kidding). Even though she was not well experienced, as she talked with my mother, she knew how to use the computer system to research issues.

She set my mother up for appointments she needed to do with other doctors as well as adjusted her medicines. She told her to schedule her annual wellness visit with her three months hence.

Oh- one other thing. She mentioned that she too was leaving the practice but not for at least five months. Oh, well. And so it goes…..

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