Parker County Today April 2018 - Page 39

Physicians: Are We Becoming Another Fungible Commodity? “There is nothing more important to me as a physician than your cancer treatment. I’ve been in practice for over two decades and have had the privilege of telling many patients that there is life beyond cancer. As president of The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, I want to lead by example, practicing a firm belief that all patients should receive the finest medical care available, with the same concern and compassion as a cherished member of the family.” Ray Page, D.O., Ph.D. President and Medical Oncologist The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders I just got back from New York City where I went to a TV studio and moderated a discussion on the future of Medicare payments for cancer care. I had to wear makeup, which took a lot to take the shine off the top of my head!! While I was there, I met with a couple of New Jersey practices I am recruiting into our national “supergroup” the Quality Cancer Care Alliance (QCCA). I also met with Dan Frier, Esq., who is a nationally recognized healthcare attorney with expertise in battling the corpora- tization of medicine, unwinding hospital-physician relationships, and building private “supergroups”. At QCCA we are using him to form a Clinically Integrated Network (CIN) with our 20 cancer centers across the US. That is another story. While having highballs with Dan on a rooftop garden in NYC, we talked about how physicians are increasingly becoming a fungible commodity. But what is a fungible commodity? Well it is a product or service that can easily be substituted for and replaced (interchange- able). Physicians? Really? That is disturbing! From the days of the Hippocratic Oath, surely health and medical care is not classified as another commodity. Certainly, it is more deeply rooted in the trusted inter-relationship between the patient and physi- cian. I have always thought of myself as a steward for the prudent use of the resources we have for our patients, and not as a catalyst whose purpose is to dole out medicines and procedures for profit of an entity. In other words, in the corporatization of healthcare, physicians are now increasingly owned by behemoth healthcare delivery systems, being “MBA-ed” by blue suits, shackling our patient care with admin- istrative restrictions. When a physician is considered fully accountable but has no autonomy or control then that leads to burnout, which is rampant in the majority of our physician workforce today. The corporatization of healthcare means that the transaction between the physician and patient becomes a commercial relationship. The physician is now [Z[\Y[\8'X[\HݚY\'K[B[]YX[\XX[&\HXY\\YY \Z\[\Z[YYKB[\Hܙ[^][ۈXY\Y\Y\H]Y[8&\8'ܸ'K\ܝ\X\ݚYYNX\[ܙHX][\\H\Y\܈ۜ[]H\XX[X]H[\XYۛ\۝X\] MˍNM ˂Y[H\[Y[H[[Ž MMNML ܈ۛ[H]˝X[\ B]\KY^\SKH]Y[\HH[XH[[]K['[\YYx'KZ[\\Y[YY]Y[YHX[\H\B[\[]ܚˈ[SH\HX[Y\H8'ٚ]8'H܈8''H[\Y[\\[[X[\H\[K[\[[\XX[\HY[[[X[H\]K\H\HX[HKB]KY\]Z]Hܛ\[[ۘ]\Hܛ\ˈZ\\O•^HY]H\XX[\Hٚ][\][H][B[ܙHٚ]XK[ MHYX\HXXH[[H[\[]H]H]]KY\]Z]H[\ܜXZ[HX\]Hٚ] Z\Y]وH\XX[H[XH[[]K\[X[B\XXXH]H^8'ۙx'H[][\XK[[\\]XY\\ؚX]\˂