Whether you are an anesthesiologist, radiologist, pathologist or emergency medicine physician, picture a meeting of your national specialty association. Chances are great that you’d hear voluminous hallway chatter bemoaning more work and lower collections, what I call an increasing Workload-Reimbursement Gap™.
Chances are also great that you would hear next to nothing in the symposium presentations of any practical value in terms of bettering your economic circumstances.
There are two tragedies at play here, both of which scream the need for, at least on a metaphorical level if not actually, some type of group therapy:
First, the situation is symptomatic of incredibly low self-esteem: “They are doing it to us and we have no power to change.”
Second, the complaining is a self reinforcing loop: everyone is complaining to everyone else who then complains to everyone else. Everyone being equally miserable means that it must be all right that we ourselves are miserable.
It would be far healthier and more profitable to question the basis of the system itself: Why are physicians working much harder for less money? Why is it proper that there are so many regulatory burdens interfering with physicians’ abilities to own and refer to facilities? Why is it improper to benefit from the provision of care (e.g., self referral) but not from the denial of care (e.g., leading to insurance company profits)?
Why, simply because you are in a so-called personal service business do you believe that service — actually, the expropriation of your services — takes precedence over your business? Why should the fact that you practice at a not-for-profit hospital mean that you are required to provide charity care? I’m not saying that you can’t choose to donate your services, but we’re talking about being required to make the “donation.”
Take back control of your destiny. It starts with adopting a different mindset.
Comment or contact me if you’d like to discuss this post.
Mark F. Weiss