I hope everyone made it through the holiday season safely. Now we enter one of my least favorite seasons. No, it’s not winter (even though my early arthritis says otherwise), it’s the season in which surgeons find themselves with busy work and cancelled cases due to the fact that the patients have to start over on their deductibles!! I have noticed that the deductibles patients must pay prior to undergoing surgery are amounts so much larger than I have ever encountered. In my practice, this has affected our case load dramatically, and will probably last until early March. I feel badly that patients are apologizing over and over to my staff because they have to postpone their procedures. The spine patients usually can wait, but I always think about the extra lost days at work, the extra stress on their families to feed and clothe their children, and the pressure to keep a roof over their heads.
Obviously there are many political opinions about the healthcare options that patients have to “choose” from these days. I won’t state an opinion just yet as mine is in constant evolution, however, I would remind you that our voices are best heard by supporting political candidates and voting for those that support the patients’ and the medical professions’ best interests.
There is a lot going on in the world, doctors making big news—some of it not so terrific. Prescription drug over-prescribing is big news and regulations on us increase weekly. As surgeons, we must inflict some pain on our patients to perform the procedures that save their lives and we must safely prescribe medications to treat that pain. It is a constant balancing act that requires lots of time talking to patients and staff.
Unhappy at the very least, and possibly abused physicians in the UK have been on strike and the formation of unions among some US physicians are other things that I have been following as I’m sure you have too. The union idea has been something that I have wondered about for years. Would love to hear ideas from any of you about that!
As I walked into the hospital the other morning, it struck me that it is odd that we would go to this place and be graded and rated on how happy we make the “customers” here.
These people are sick. They aren’t going to be happy very often. They are afraid and some of them know they are going to die. I am dumbfounded that we would have to somehow explain to government and administrators that we didn’t make every one of these people happy enough to get at least four stars out of five.
As you can see I am perplexed this month, contemplating but not complaining, trying to see the good in things as much as I can. Looking forward to our ACOS Strategic Planning meeting at the end of the month! I would like to thank the Board of Governors and additional members of the committee for making the time whenever possible to attend!! Dr. Moncmon will lead the committee as we work on the next five year plan, of course focusing on the next 12-18 months. We will be getting down to the “brass tacks” and determining which of our services and programs that we want to foster, put money into, and continue. We will also be reviewing some projects that it might be time to wind down or let go.
In October I mentioned that I was gearing up for Halloween, which was my niece Karmen’s 8th birthday. She instructed me to be scary, and since I mentioned a picture… well, this should make you laugh.
Take care of yourselves and your family!! Plan a vacation and get the time off!
Contact me any time by email, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. Would love to get to know more of you and hear what you think!!
Dawn R. Tartaglione, D.O., FACOS