There was an interesting article written at the AmateurEconomist.com about “Why Doctors Are Not Good Businessmen.”
Hat tip to Kevin, M.D. who commented on this story and said,
“This is why the private practice model of medicine is dying. More practices are being bought by hospitals where the physicians are salaried. This relieves the burden of administrative tasks and supervising ancillary staff, so that the doctor can focus on medicine.”
Rob at VSP says that “[private practice doctors] provide the best care.” Well, if I’ve got the weight of a business on my shoulders, doesn’t that detract from patient care? Additionally, in our field where the private practice doctors sell what they prescribe, can you totally rule out any conflicts of interest which potentially detract from patient care?
Again, independent doctors of optometry in a Wal-Mart setting don’t have the conflict of interest and their administrative duties are much less than private practice.
What’s funny to me is that every CE event I’ve been to always has some talk about why optometrists should start the “medical model” in their practice and watch the money role in. Well, how is adding more third party payers going to help you make more money? Primary care medicine is dying according to Kevin M.D., and yet the roboconsultants are telling us to join more insurance panels. I think getting rid of insurance companies in your practice is the way of the future.
The roboconsultant woos you buy saying that for one case of dry eye you can milk an insurance company for $500-$800 in office visits and procedures. Well, do you do that for every dry eye patient, even the poor self pay patient or the patient with insurance but poor benefits? I would think that doing it just for those with good insurance would be unethical as well as probably insurance fraud.
I think the more your appointment book is filled up, the more you should be able to charge for your services. It’s the old supply and demand of free economics. I think a better system would be for patients to have to front the money to pay the doctor for office visits at the time of service. The patient would have to get reimbursed what they can from their insurance company. Maybe then insurance companies would be forced to have a faster turn around time on processing claims for their patients and be watched more closely for just rubber stamping a denial based on some frivolous billing exercise (or at the least the patient has to worry about it instead of me.) I simply provide the best care for the patient, recommending only the products and services that they need, since now I don’t have to worry about getting paid.