Why Physicians Won't Unite to 'Rescue' Medicine

Leigh Page


September 04, 2014

In This Article

Dissatisfaction With the Medical Profession

Plenty of physicians are feeling pretty miserable these days, and "it has a lot to do with loss of control," said Jordan Grumet, MD, an internist at Park Avenue Associates in Highland Park, Illinois.

In online physician discussion groups and comments in which doctors have expressed frustration and anger about how healthcare has disregarded physicians, an oft-heard comment is, "We let them do this to us; we gave away our power. If we want to change medicine in a different way, we have to work together to take it back."

But can -- or will -- that ever happen?

According to a 2013 poll[1] by Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, majorities of physicians worry about an erosion of clinical autonomy and income. Dr. Grumet said he would add to that list all the paperwork physicians are required to fill out.

Addressing these daunting problems confronting physicians would require physicians to come together and work closely with policy-makers, but the profession hasn't had much luck with that lately. From drafting the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 to the failure to repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula in late March, "we regularly get eaten for dinner," Dr. Grumet said.

Similar setbacks, he added, are taking place in the states over such issues as expanded scope of practice for nonphysicians. The problem is that "we have not been able to come together to help ourselves," Dr. Grumet said.

What is stopping physicians from coming together? Quite a lot. Major impediments make it very difficult -- perhaps impossible -- for physicians to unite to save medicine. The following is a list of some of those barriers, and what might be done to bring physicians together, despite all the rifts.


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