Don’t relax. The patient-physician relationship remains under attack on numerous fronts.
Remember how, just a year ago, we were assured that as soon as the “Contract with America” legislation was completed, Medicare reform — which would strengthen the patient-physician relationship and encourage free market initiatives — would be enacted into law? Instead, HMO-favored legislation emerged that only paid lip service to patient control of their health care dollars.
Any expected action this year? Not until after the elections...and it’s only April! Medical Savings Accounts on a federal level as promised? We’re still waiting.
While some state attempts to foist the single-payer systems were stymied (Washington State), others are attempting different versions of basically the same approach through secret task force meetings (Kentucky) or via school clinics (Pennsylvania).
Patient confidentiality is under severe attack as computerized records become available to outsiders (allegedly to help emergency room physicians know about allergies or pre-existing conditions, although a Med-Alert bracelet does the same); centralized computer records of immunizations (and other information such as, any history of communicable diseases? etc.); and most ominous of all, Maryland’s recently passed legislation, due to take effect this July, which requires all physicians to disclose to the government the details of every patient encounter, diagnosis, test results, therapy, charges, and 32 pieces of demographic data on every patient. You see, Big Brother needs this confidential information for health care planning.
Meanwhile, Ira Magaziner and Patsy Thomasson, both of whom lied under oath regarding the composition, activities, and financing of the Clinton Health Care Task Force, so far have paid no penalty for their felonious actions.
The answer: AAPS, with its educational, legal, and investigative efforts, supports patient and physician rights while most other arms of organized medicine stand idle (or seem to join in the destruction of our profession).
Please continue to join us in our efforts.
Dr. Printz is the President of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. He is a dermatologist in Lilburn, Georgia.
Originally published in the Medical Sentinel 1996;1(1):3. Copyright©1996 Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)