CEO of health system, "Not every patient needs a primary care physician." A response from patients, the population.
by Rose Rohloff
The June 29, 2018 BECKER'S Hospital Review article shares the viewpoint "Froedtert CEO Cathy Jacobson: Not every patient needs a primary care physician" (PCP). The article is the perspective from the viewpoint of a health system CEO. The following is a perspective, counterview from patients, the individuals in the population.
In speaking with individuals across the country, spanning several major health systems and states, 100% of the comments and feelings are that health systems are large, top-heavy and more inefficiently run because of their size.
Many people have expressed utter frustration from lack of a good Primary Care Doctor, warranting unnecessary ER visits because a doctor will not call back; the lack of one doctor in charge who would simply LISTEN to them, who knows them - not as personal friends, but with an in-depth professional relationship.
I have been asked several times in various states, "Do you know of any good Primary Care Doctors? I cannot find one." Universally, I am hearing: a gross lack of comprehensive assessments from doctors; clinicians not taking the time to get to know and listen to what is going on, causing the passing through of patients to specialists versus a primary care doctor creating a plan of care and focused tests for getting an actual diagnosis; lack of avoidance for hospital visits with increasing costs that could and should be avoided because conditions allowed to worsen; and doctors simply writing prescriptions for symptoms.
Health systems are relying on data analysis, defining as population health, as Froedtert is quoted, "As we start stratifying our patients into distinct populations based on their health needs." The issue with this premise is that the data is not always clean, and it will never tell the story, the whole story, of the realities going on with the patients. (See I Wish I Had Known stories.)
Her quote continues, "... insight further into consumer driven wants, we are finding that a substantial sector of the population does not want or need a primary care physician relationship. People need primary care but not necessarily a physician relationship." The issue is the primary care physician practices have been acquired by the hospital-health systems, with the biggest complaint from people in the population not being able to find a PCP; and those now under health systems, the doctor only giving 10-15 minutes of time, before passing off to specialists with no plan of care, and/or simply writing another prescription. Many in the public just find it faster, or are being told to just go to the ER. From the perspective of health system CEOs, it would appear primary care is not wanted or needed, which drives up the hospital ER and inpatient business. When actually speaking with individuals across the country, it is the opposite, people complain lack of care coordination, and "the doctor doesn't know me and is not taking the time to listen to me - I want them to actually figure out a diagnosis of what is wrong."
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