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.
MOC is a cash cow for the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and its 24 specialty boards, which administer the exams. According to its most recent tax filings, ABMS president Lois Margaret Nora made nearly $700,000 in compensation from the organization in 2016. Thirteen other executives made over $150,000 from the nonprofit in the same year. In total, ABMS spent over $10 million on compensation, more than half its annual revenues, which largely come from inflated testing fees.
Online reviews are not a reflection of medical care quality. Patients do not like receiving medical bills and do not like rude clinic staff. They are unhappy if the physician disagrees with them, they abhor long wait times, and they detest prior authorizations, (news flash, so do physicians!) Yet these criticisms are not a reflection of the healthcare quality provided by the physician. It is doubtful these grievances even have an impact on the mortality rate.
Among female physicians, the relative risk of suicide is 2.3 times greater than the general female population. Each and every tragic loss of a female colleague should be honored as if we lost a part of ourselves. Their struggles must become ours; their survival is imperative for us all. If you are struggling, please know, we are here, we are listening, and we care.
I recently contacted her mother to inquire if she wanted her daughters’ medical chart. She said it was a gift to see her daughter through the eyes of her physician, who was there every step of the way. Medical records are more than metadata on a computer screen; they are a sacred chronicle of our enduring connection with our patients in life, and even in death. When an EMR can do that, I will be thrilled to embark on a digital journey. Until then, give me paper or give me death.
Estimates suggest that a primary care physician would spend 21.7 hours per day to provide all recommended acute, chronic, and preventive care for a panel of 2,500 patients. An average workday of 8 hours extrapolates to an ideal panel of 909 patients; let us make it an even 1000 to simplify. A primary care physician could easily meet acute, chronic, and preventative needs of 1000 patients, thereby improving access.
Government and insurance companies should stop wasting dollars and cents chasing visions of value, rather use common sense and give physician outcomes the attention they deserve. Healthcare will be on better footing now and into the future.
In my humble opinion, that type of communication provides tremendous value. Paying more to a physician who provides services that benefit patients directly is a metric worth tracking. If physician and patient can work together by rowing in sync on the same boat, maybe we could get those in control of the healthcare system on board with us after all. Medicine is not a one-way road. You are spot on about that.
I was 12 years old in 1987 when the first physician I knew committed suicide. My father was the seventh physician to join The Doctors Clinic in 1971. I was raised attending summertime backyard picnics at other physicians’ homes and remember most of their families and children. It was a close-knit community of medical providers back then; something that may have prevented more tragic events like this from occurring.