High Notes In Family Medicine 2013

The AAFP published a year-end summary that’s definitely worth checking out. Here’s a list of things they’re celebrating (excerpted from aafp.com):

  • A survey showed that median first-year guaranteed compensation for FPs not doing obstetrics rose from $163,000 in 2011 to $170,000 in 2012.
  • In September, a Merritt Hawkins survey showed that family physicians topped the list of the most highly recruited physicians for the seventh straight year.
  • New survey results released on Dec. 18 revealed that Americans want physicians handling their healthcare:
    • 72 percent of American adults surveyed said they preferred physicians to non-physicians, such as nurse practitioners, when it came to their healthcare.
    • 90 percent of adults would choose a physician to lead their “ideal medical team” when given the choice.
    • By greater than a two-to-one margin, adults viewed physicians and family physicians as more knowledgeable, experienced, trusted and up-to-date on medical advances than non-physicians.

It’s apparent that our work in direct care is paying off. Back in May, the AAFP created its first DPC policy. And because so many people are interested in our work, they developed a document to answer family physicians’ questions. Although, even in family physicians’ successes, there’s something bittersweet – the fact that patients have to choose between liking a physician and a non-physician is exemplary of our aberrant healthcare system, one that’s heavily regulated, and preposterously inefficient. One thing that Atlas MD and direct care can promise is that you’re always going to see a doctor when you come in. That’s what you’re paying for, and what you’re getting. In the other places, it’s what someone’s paying for, and you MIGHT be getting, in varying degrees.

AAFP Embraces DPC, Creates New Policy Guidelines

Wait, is this the same Association of American Family Practitioners who’s been used by dated critics to turn direct care into another Red Scare? They once warned, according to the LA Times, that direct primary care could lead to further shortage of doctors down the line. We, of course, knew better and said, No, unhappy doctors who refuse to practice altogether should be the real concern. We’ve been charging ahead, day-by-day, doing what we believe in, and the media is paying attention. Meanwhile, the AFFP maintained a strictly neutral opinion, to our awareness. But now it appears they’ve leapt off the fence and into our court, with a new article highlighting three direct care practices, including Atlas MD.

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Insurance Companies Are Not Fighting Fair

Check out this May 8 article by The New York Times. They present government data suggesting that hospitals are charging upwards of 400% of actual costs for non-optional procedures.

It’s a complex issue but the worrisome fact is that competing hospitals are charging wildly different rates for similar procedures based on whether a patient is using Medicare, private insurance or isn’t insured. The worst news is that hospitals might be charging the highest rates to uninsured people to cover their bottom line.

Here’s where hospitals are taking a hit:

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