I have insurance now...why can't I find a doctor?

6:05 AM Posted by exclusiveMD

That phrase is becoming more and more common. Even prior to Health Care (INSURANCE) Reform passing, many people across the nation have been feeling the pressures of decreased accessibility to primary care physicians. In this article in the Washington Post, a journalist shares her previous story of difficulty in finding a primary care physician despite great insurance.

Naturally, I waited until I wasn't feeling well to seriously initiate this process. But I didn't expect any problems. I was just 23, basically healthy and, most important, insured. So I pulled out my computer, looked up the UnitedHealthcare list of preapproved doctors and started calling.

And I got rejected. Again. And again. (Usually after being put on hold for three or four minutes.)

I talked to one primary-care practice that hadn't accepted new patients in eight years. I talked to another that was accepting new patients only if they had HIV/AIDS.

Ah, so that's what it took to get a doctor within reach: I just had to contract a deadly disease.

So why is this a problem? Lets look at Massachusetts for a brief moment. Our new Health Care Reform for the nation was modeled much like a Universal Coverage Plan instituted in Massachusetts over a year ago. By the end of 2009, the mandate had accomplished getting 97% of their population insured. Hooray!...Right? The truth is everyone now has a special card giving them health insurance to see a doctor, the problem is you are going to have to wait on average of 63 days before you get in to see one. You may also think twice about moving to Washington or New York as the wait is still around 30 days. Keep in mind that these statistics were before the Health Bill passed. You do not have to be an economist to realize supply and demand.

So where are we are headed is quite frightening actually. What we do know is that the older demographic tends to utilize health care the most. Which might be okay if we were not headed for a huge surge in our older demographic. Check out our age distribution back in 2000 and you will soon realize where this big wave is coming from.

via AAPP

What problems have been identified?

1. Shortage of primary care physicians

2. Decreased access to basic medical care

3. Medical students choosing to be everything other than a primary care doctor

My personal goals to fix these problems:

1. Utilize cutting edge technology to allow for alternative solutions to access to basic medical care. This is not intended to depersonalize the doctor-patient relationship, but rather to supplement. As physicians we have been waiting too long for insurance companies to catch up to the 21st century. Every other industry other than health care, has made their processes more efficient by using tools such as email, video conferencing, instant messenger, etc. Don't wait....take action now!

2. Revitalize the field of primary care. My goal is to make this job fun again. Medical students are listening and following the revolution of private physicians.

The future is now. We can all sit back and debate our current situation or we can be a part of change. You decide.


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Health Care Bill Passes...now what?

8:02 PM Posted by exclusiveMD

As you all know, the Health Care Bill has passed and depending on when this entry is read, President Obama may have already signed it officially. Now we can all argue and debate, be happy or sad, but the truth of the matter is we have to prepare as a nation to deal with our new situation. Health reform was successful in one thing, health insurance for 95% of the nation. That would be fantastic if we actually had the workforce to support the increased load. Before the bill even passed, we have been battling a dwindling number of physicians in the workforce. Let us now focus on health care innovation. We know that this bill is going to catapult us into even more debt, so it should be our obligation to start now and to be creative so our younger generations will have a sustainable fulfilling future. With the new bill, some surveys are speculating that we may lose an additional 20-30% of the physician workforce because of true frustration and dissatisfaction for their career. Put that on top of our very few new physicians in the pipeline and we have ourselves a national physician shortage dilemma that will be with us for the next couple of decades.

Let us focus on health care innovation and change the delivery of health care. Without sacrificing quality, how do we take the current physician workforce and service the masses? Although I am terrified of the upcoming years and the many struggles we will all face, I am excited to see the great thinkers and innovators of our nation really come to life.
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Quit Smoking Using Facebook

2:10 PM Posted by exclusiveMD

I thought this idea was ingenious. Using facebook and other social media networks to help with any bad habits. Think about it, how quick and easy it is to have support from all of your friends and family within minutes or hours of a status update. Beyond the chemical addiction of smoking, there are emotional ties that require methods other than medicine. Studies show that people are better apt to stick to their new plan if the proper support method is in place.
The “T” in the START mnemonic for quitting endorsed by www.smokefree.gov is to “Tell family, friends, and coworkers that you plan to quit.” This recommendation is based on the notion that smoking is not purely a chemical addiction; it has important environmental, social, and cultural elements, too.
via KevinMD.
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Some Nurses Paid More Than Family Doctors

10:04 PM Posted by exclusiveMD

Despite the growing shortage of family doctors in the United States, medical centers last year offered higher salaries and incentives to specialist nurses than to primary care doctors, according to an annual survey of physicians' salaries.
Maybe not all physicians are beginning to feel like "second class citizens" as you will read in this article, but there is definitely quite a bit of commotion going on in the medical community when startling facts such as these arise. It is particularly disturbing when it is noted that right now the nation is facing a deficit of 60,000 family practitioners, with more dropping their practices every year to go into other areas of medicine or no medicine at all. Not only are established family doctors dropping their practices all together, but new medical students (who usually graduate medical school in their late 20s) are choosing higher paying medical professions. With the deficit and the large number of medical students choosing other paths, what will happen when/if the nation decides on a universal healthcare option? There just aren’t enough primary care physicians out there to supply the need.
"The demand for primary care doctors will increase twofold when health reform happens and millions of more Americans have access to health care," said Mosley. "Who is going to triage these patients? It's not the neurologist or pulmonologist. It has to be the primary care doctor."

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March is National Colon Cancer Awareness Month

9:03 AM Posted by exclusiveMD

Check out our new featured video of the month talking about the importance of colon cancer screening. At Exclusive MD, one of our primary focuses is preventative medicine. If there is one preventative exam/test that any one person can have done, a colonoscopy is one of our best. Feel free to let me know what questions you may have about this screening test.
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Exclusive MD Teams up with Leawood Lifestyle Magazine for their first ever Biggest Loser Competition

12:46 PM Posted by exclusiveMD

We are excited to be a part of a new program started by Leawood Lifestyle Magazine, a new publication for local Leawood residents. The Biggest Loser Competition is based off of the popular TV show and will last 12 weeks long. With the help of the personal trainers at Fitness Quest KC and the nutrition from Success Meals, the contestants will have all the proper tools to meet their weight loss goals. Exclusive MD has performed a medical pre-evaluation prior to the program and will be following throughout. Using the GE Lunar iDXA, all of the contestants will have a pre and post body composition scan, the current gold standard for body fat and lean muscle mass composition. Follow along on www.LeawoodLifestyle.com for weekly updates.
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