Sunday, June 20, 2010

HEALTH REFORM #5 - Thursday 17th June 2010

Health Reform # 5 is working out how to get doctors to charge less for their services. Some of the fees, particularly for specialists are just rapacious.

This is a highly protected, greedy, elitist profession. The greater the level of protection the higher their fees.

I went to the dermatologist the other day for a skin complaint. She picked it immediately as psoriasis which I'd inherited from my mother. She wrote out a script for some waxy stuff that calmed down in 3 days what my doctor couldn't treat for over a year. The fee, $175 for 15 minutes. A drover's dog could have done what she did - with a bit of practice. That's not bad dough it is? Just add it up, per day, per week, per month, per year. It's definitely an income that's not commensurate with the service delivered.

(Just don't get me started oln what my dentist charged to pull a tooth the other day. $560 for 40 minutes in the chair. Add that up.)

Changing the definition of primary health care and opening up primary health care treatment to other professional groups is probably the best way to bring about a reduction in medical costs. Nurses, fitness practitioners, pharmacists and naturopaths are obvious choices.

The second way to do it is to let medical graduates loose into surgeries after 5 years of study. If they don't know how to diagnose or treat a particular illness they can send their customer to someone more experienced. As likely as not they will send them to a fitness practitioner, pharmacist, nurse or naturopath.

Maybe doctors should do their first couple of years of practice in a surgery with someone a bit more experienced than themselves. Different practitioners will have different specialities. They'll be able to spread the work amongst themselves.

You don't need 10 years of study to fix a crook back, or write out a certificate because someone has a cold.

Support for fitness practitioners, nurses and naturopaths in private practice will deprive a lot of doctors of the work they've been doing, much of it ineptly. Goodness knows what they learn in medical school these days.

They'll have to smarten themselves up and lower their prices to maintain the payments on the Mercs.

On the track
No track.

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and don't work so hard on the weekend that you have trouble raising a sweat for the rest of the week.

John Miller

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