There are 800,000 physicians in America and more than 65% believe the Maintenance of Certification process, known as MOC, has no clinical value for patients. For the first time in the history of our profession, physicians have a fighting chance to topple a Goliath-esque organization, the American Board of Medical Specialties.
In a world where opinion is shaped through social media, a public health strategy based on trying to “educate people” by shoving “facts” in their face when the facts are in dispute is not going to work very well. In reality, it may backfire and produce exactly the opposite result from the one you intended. And that is exactly what is happening here.
In the United States, 400 physicians commit suicide annually – an average of one per day. Physicians have the highest rate of suicide of any profession; almost double that of the general population. While physician suicide has reached epidemic proportions, the general public is relatively unaware of this tragic phenomenon. Robyn Simon has produced a documentary film, Do No Harm, to shed light on this taboo topic.
A physician should be called a “physician.” A nurse practitioner should be identified as “nurse practitioner.” Please call a physician assistant, “physician assistant.” These are accurate titles, reflective of their specialized education, training, and expertise. They are all venerated professions which share a mutual goal of improving patient’s lives, yet the vocations are fundamentally different.
“Provider” was first utilized by The Third Reich, who embraced this moniker to degrade Jewish physicians as medical professionals. The historic root and use of the word “provider” deserves our attention and reflection because if we forget the tragic mistakes of history, we may be doomed to repeat them. While the more recent movement to disrespect the education and training of physicians was the brainchild of the federal government and corporatized medicine, this disdain for medical expertise has occurred before–to Jewish physicians living in Germany in 1937, before World War II.
Dr. Mary Edward Walker was a female physician who embodied “antagonism.” She is the only female recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor in U.S. history, cited for valor as a surgeon on the Civil War battlefield. She was also an abolitionist, prisoner of war, suffragist, writer and speaker. Two years before her death, the Army revoked her award yet she refused to comply. Her life story is inspiring.
Over the past three decades, medical school tuition has quadrupled. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) estimates the cost to attend a public medical school is more than $240,000 and as much as $322,000 for four years at a private medical school – an amount which is more or less equivalent to the cost of a family home.
I want to share information about a new program that can help Kitsap County buck the trend by bringing a whole crop of enthusiastic young physicians to our area. It’s called the Northwest Washington Family Medicine Residency Program.
Only 6% of physicians practice in rural areas, yet they serve 16% of the population. Kitsap County has 443 physicians, equivalent to 2.4% of the state total and is one county experiencing a shortage of primary care physicians. Kitsap County falls below the state average in every primary care specialty across the board.
In the fiscal fight over health care costs, pediatricians are on the chopping block. In hospitals and clinics across the country, pediatricians are being laid off in droves, leaving the clinical burden to mid-level providers, family physicians, and emergency room doctors. These decisions are being made by suits over scrubs, and they are putting patients at risk.