Did you know that the physicians who work in the private practice clinics are treated differently than those who work in the government sponsered clinics? These clinics include medical residencies and training centers as well as the farm worker clinics, Indian Health Centers, and neighborhood health clinics. How? As with all government agencies, they have taken away the incentives for incentive production. They are salaried while private clinicians are typically not. They have no incentive to see 30 patients a day when they basically get paid the same to see 16. Also, the govenment sponsered physicians are eligible for loan repayment which helps them pay back those $200.000 medical school loans for which we are famous. Private physicians are not. Or if they are “technically eligible,” they NEVER qualify. I worked in a private clinic just 6 miles away from a government clinic. I tried to see if I qualified for loan reimbursement or a National Health Care Loan and guess the answer. NO! Both clinics were steeped in seeing the same poor people and surely qualified as “Health Manpower shortage areas.” But I was working in a private clinic and I was not eligible. So what is this doing ultimately to the practice of medicine? Which of the above clinics will be open 10 years from now? The private clinic that gets paid by Medicare at 53% of charges, where doctors are working twice as hard, and where they have to pay their medical school loans by themselves? Or will it be the government clinics where the reverse of all the above is true?
About Richard Edgerly, MD
I am a board-certified (not that it matters), Family Medicine physician who practices in rural Washington State. I am the owner of Assurance Healthcare and Counseling Center in the city of Yakima.
Always appreciating what a little humor does to refresh the soul, I have also written a collection of stories about events that have occurred over the years in my practice, and I hope that they will also make you laugh (see Just a Spoonful of Laughter Helps the Medicine Go Down).