Medical Foundation fiasco
Sunday, January 20, 2019
For many years the clinical staff at ECU Physicians has been under tremendous pressure to at least break even and ultimately make the operation profitable, all the while at the disadvantage of treating a significant portion of underinsured and indigent patients that are not cared for by private practices. This has finally been accomplished in large part by requiring clinical staff to evaluate and treat more and more patients, in increasingly less time, contributing heavily to staff frustration and burnout, as well as patient dissatisfaction. No amount of technology can ever replace time spent with patients, performing a thorough history and physical examination.
Providers, nurses, and other clinical staff should not have to waste valuable time applying for outside grants to fund a salary for a nurse, social worker, etc., especially when there is money in the coffers for potential use. No provider should be nagged by a coding specialist to change wording in the patient record, just to mark up charges to the patient. The only outcome that will change is that the patient’s bill will be higher.
ECU is not unique in this dilemma. The above issues and so many more are perfect examples of why we need at least the option of nationalized health care insurance.
So what happens when the financial goals are at long last achieved on the backs of those in the health care trenches? A surplus that should be going back into improving patient care gets transferred from the ECU Medical Foundation into the athletic department. In the words of today’s so-called conservatives, it reeks of “punishing success.” All of the confiscated funds should be repaid to the Medical Foundation with interest. In the interim all clinical staff at ECU Physicians should be given season football tickets. They earned it.
The writer is a physician assistant retired from Brody School of Medicine in 2016