IBJOpinion

Fix what's broken first

December 12, 2009
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IBJ Letters To The Editor

As a physician, I owe it to my patients to help get health care reform right. From the front line, physicians can offer changes that could result in more cost-effective, efficient and accessible health care. That’s why I joined the Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights, along with 10,000 other doctors. Coalition members have shared ideas with Congress, but many of our elected officials have turned a deaf ear.

Restricting physician ownership of hospitals and other facilities is just one example, as noted in your [Dec. 7] story. Physician ownership consistently provides care less expensively than “non-profit” or larger corporate entities. When physicians have ownership, they pay taxes and help support local communities, unlike “non-profits” which make substantial profits but pay no taxes.

Other examples:

• The federal government already has two major health care programs that are dysfunctional and rapidly running out of money. Fix Medicare and Medicaid before giving government control of even more health care decisions.

• Allow primary-care doctors to enter into private contracts outside of Medicare without having to drop out of the program altogether. This would incentivize doctors to go into primary care and do what they do best: manage the overall care of patients. They can’t get paid for that now.

• Streamline the bureaucracy that over-regulates and stifles care and innovation, including the morass in Medicare billing codes—rivaling cumbersome Internal Revenue Service tax codes. Doctors are beset by onerous regulations and conflicting edicts, and then subjected to criminal penalties and damages. Even Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act statutes apply because of “organized” groups that manage office practices and billing. With threats of government audits, physicians spend more time and money fulfilling coding requirements and less with patients.

Congress must reduce over-regulation by the Federal Drug Administration to reduce costs. A more realistic risk-benefit ratio for FDA regulation of prescription drugs and devices must be developed.

• Tort reform is essential. Malpractice costs are only the tip of the iceberg. Product liability dramatically increases the cost of drugs and devices here compared to the rest of the world. Fix the legal system so, like [in] other countries, reckless lawsuits are not allowed.

Clearly, more must be done to curb rising health care costs and provide affordable coverage for uninsured Americans. But Congress must take the time to preserve what works and fix only what’s gone wrong.

__________

Dr. Francis Price Jr.
Price Vision Group

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  1. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

  2. These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

  3. Maybe they shouldn't be throwing money at the IRL or whatever they call it now. Probably should save that money for actual operations.

  4. For you central Indiana folks that don't know what a good pizza is, Aurelio's will take care of that. There are some good pizza places in central Indiana but nothing like this!!!

  5. I am troubled with this whole string of comments as I am not sure anyone pointed out that many of the "high paying" positions have been eliminated identified by asterisks as of fiscal year 2012. That indicates to me that the hospitals are making responsible yet difficult decisions and eliminating heavy paying positions. To make this more problematic, we have created a society of "entitlement" where individuals believe they should receive free services at no cost to them. I have yet to get a house repair done at no cost nor have I taken my car that is out of warranty for repair for free repair expecting the government to pay for it even though it is the second largest investment one makes in their life besides purchasing a home. Yet, we continue to hear verbal and aggressive abuse from the consumer who expects free services and have to reward them as a result of HCAHPS surveys which we have no influence over as it is 3rd party required by CMS. Peel the onion and get to the root of the problem...you will find that society has created the problem and our current political landscape and not the people who were fortunate to lead healthcare in the right direction before becoming distorted. As a side note, I had a friend sit in an ED in Canada for nearly two days prior to being evaluated and then finally...3 months later got a CT of the head. You pay for what you get...

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