Commentary

MILAM COUNTY T.R.I.A.D.

Physician shortage could impact health care
Ted Hubert

The Af fordable Care Act (ACA) has reached out to include millions of new patients financially unable to af ford health insurance and unable to maintain good health through the services of doctors.

Dr. Russell Phillips M.D. director of Harvard Medical School’s new center of Primary Care said “we need to absorb these 30 million people and that is going to be a strain.”

And there is a doctor shortage. Doctors are aging. Half the nation’s 830,000 doctors are over age 50.

Parents should cultivate the skills and talents of children who show promise and prepare them for the medical careers that are open for the future.

Start them learning in kindergarten and whisper in their ear after the nightly prayer, “you can be anything you want when you grow up, but you need to work hard in school.”

The school and the home need to form a partnership to educate their sons and daughters. Parents taking sides against the school with the child in the middle is a recipe for trouble at school and at home and the one hurt the most is the child.

Remember when students who got in trouble at school, got in more trouble when they got home?

The plan for serving medical needs for the growing number of patients, with the declining number of doctors, has begun. Clusters of doctors work in one location which reduces the need of purchasing expensive machines, supplies and equipment.

The use of physician assistants working with the primary physician is common today. Nurse-practitioners and physician assistants take care of patients with minor problems relieving the doctor’s work load so patients with more serious complaints are scheduled to see the doctor.

This arrangement is designed to reduce costs while serving a larger number of patients. It does require honest efforts of the part of key players in this scheme of things. This team approach will work, if given a chance. The way to work against any program is to cut funds needed to implement the law. The economy is rebounding shown by the indicators.

The new focus for the medical profession is prevention rather than treatment.

Television shows, of doctors seeking ways to prevent obesity, stop smoking and giving directions for putting Americans on the path of good health, are seen almost daily. Marsha Mercer tells us that $6.25 billion of the $15 billion has been cut from the prevention program.

Money is also needed for the 10% bonus paid to doctors through 2015 for their willingness to provide services to patients 65 years of age and older.

Have you wondered why Americans are dying younger than citizens of Western Europe, Japan, and Canada?

Do yourself a favor and see your doctor about your health. What can you do to live a healthier tomorrow? It is time for all of us, but particularly, the elderly to take charge of our health. The Affordable Care Act allows a “wellness” visit for Medicare patients once a year.

The doctor’s role is to examine your records, assess your present health, and have a dialogue (plan) steering you toward a happier, healthier future. They do not provide any other service during the wellness visit.

One hundred percent of the cost is paid by Medicare with no deductibles or copay. The visit needs to be properly coded, however. The code for the first visit is “G 0438” and for each subsequent visit the code is “G 0439”.

It is important that these visits are at least 12 months apart. ted@myalpha1net


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2013-07-25 digital edition



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