Friday, May 11, 2007

Misdiagnosis And Cure For Florida Doctor Shortages

There's this joke about the researcher who taught a flea to jump when he said "Jump." He proceeded to remove the flea's legs one by one and ordered it to jump. The flea did so every time till all six legs were removed and then it did not jump. So the researcher concluded that when a flea loses all its legs it goes deaf.

Now relate this to a chain email that I received a couple of days back:

"A recent Physician Census by the Palm Beach County Medical Society confirms that the patient access to care crisis in Florida will worsen as the shortage of physicians reaches dangerous levels. In Florida, like many states across the country, patients can't get the care they need when they need it. Medical lawsuit abuse is forcing good doctors to flee the state, cut back on vital services, or leave medicine altogether. This update to the study shows that the shortage of neurosurgeons is even worse than indicated in the original Physician Census.
Palm Beach County currently has serious shortages of neurosurgeons, general surgeons, and family physicians. The Physician Census confirms that the patient access to care crisis will only get worse and that by 2011:

  • Only 70 general surgeons will service an estimated population of over 1.4 million—a number that falls far short of the 208 needed for adequate patient care;
  • Just 194 general and family physicians—not even close to the 373 needed—will be active in the county;
  • Only seven neurosurgeons will treat emergency patients while 20 will be needed to meet demand;
  • Physician shortages of 33% or more will exist among seven essential specialties, including obstetrics and gynecology, thoracic surgery and radiation oncology.


Dr. Jose Arrascue, President of the Palm Beach County Medical Society, cites medical lawsuit abuse as the reason for the bleak outlook for Palm Beach County patients. He says, “too many good doctors view this as a hostile market, with high malpractice premiums [and] no protection from lawsuits.” Most simply decide to practice elsewhere.
With forty-two states now considered to be "in crisis," "verging on crisis," or "experiencing serious problems," Florida patients aren’t alone. And there’s no time to waste. We must work together to fix our nation’s broken medical liability system. Please take a moment to

pass this information along to your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues and ask them to stand with us to protect each and every patient’s access to quality medical care and stop medical lawsuit abuse once and for all.


Thank you for your continued support.


Doctors for Medical Liability Reform317 Massachusetts Ave., N.E.Suite 100Washington, DC 20002
Phone: 1-877-9REFORM dmlr@ProtectPatientsNow.org "

Ironically, this email itself mentions the fact that "Florida is not alone" but "one of the forty two states" that faces doctor shortages. In other words, the root of the problem is a NATIONAL shortage of doctors who therefore have the luxury of picking the place where they want to work. The genesis of this is the artificially constrained pipeline and supply of doctors that I've mentioned in my blog yesterday. Malpractice caps and other tort reforms are certainly necessary but they at most shift the doctor scarcity from one place to another without solving the underlying problem.

Now consider the fact that excellent and highly experienced foreign doctors would swarm into Florida with or without malpractice reforms if only they are allowed to practice here without the bottleneck start-at-the-bottom residency requirement. Fear of importing incompetent or undertrained doctors or those with degrees from dubious institutions? How about allowing in medical graduates only from world class and reputed foreign institutions AND requiring them to pass a rigorous set of Board exams before being licensed?

Such a measure will truly "Protect Patients Now" (the website name of the body behind the email campaign) but expect the physician lobbies to vehemently oppose this. Not surprisingly, they instead push the wrong conclusion, like in the flea joke. Meanwhile, Florida has already enacted some tort reforms. For those still interested at this point here's an article that provides some details in a balanced perspective while questioning the assertions of widespread doctor flight from Florida:

http://www.floridatrend.com/print_article.asp?aID=46144

4 comments:

david mcmahon said...

Hi Sandip,

Nice lead-in to a very serious issue. I didn't know you have a national shortage of doctors in the US.

Cheers

David

Sandip Madan said...

Thanks, David. The US has 2.4 doctors per 1000 people compared to the OECD (first world) median of 3.3 doctors. To my knowledge it is also the only major country where incoming medical school applicants are typically required to be college graduates - even if they have majored in a totally unrelated subject like philosophy.

Anonymous said...

Good day !.
might , perhaps curious to know how one can collect a huge starting capital .
There is no need to invest much at first. You may begin to get income with as small sum of money as 20-100 dollars.

AimTrust is what you need
The firm incorporates an offshore structure with advanced asset management technologies in production and delivery of pipes for oil and gas.

It is based in Panama with affiliates around the world.
Do you want to become an affluent person?
That`s your choice That`s what you really need!

I`m happy and lucky, I started to take up real money with the help of this company,
and I invite you to do the same. It`s all about how to choose a correct companion who uses your savings in a right way - that`s the AimTrust!.
I earn US$2,000 per day, and what I started with was a funny sum of 500 bucks!
It`s easy to start , just click this link http://hinizihazu.lookseekpages.com/kolaci.html
and go! Let`s take this option together to get rid of nastiness of the life

Anonymous said...

Good day !.
might , perhaps very interested to know how one can manage to receive high yields .
There is no need to invest much at first. You may begin to receive yields with as small sum of money as 20-100 dollars.

AimTrust is what you haven`t ever dreamt of such a chance to become rich
The firm incorporates an offshore structure with advanced asset management technologies in production and delivery of pipes for oil and gas.

Its head office is in Panama with offices everywhere: In USA, Canada, Cyprus.
Do you want to become a happy investor?
That`s your choice That`s what you wish in the long run!

I`m happy and lucky, I started to take up income with the help of this company,
and I invite you to do the same. It`s all about how to select a correct partner utilizes your savings in a right way - that`s the AimTrust!.
I make 2G daily, and my first deposit was 1 grand only!
It`s easy to start , just click this link http://yvyzuzas.digitalzones.com/arotek.html
and go! Let`s take this option together to become rich