Letter to the Editor

The challenges in health care

I am sitting here learning another electronic health record system and wondering what has happened to my profession.

Medicine has lost its focus. Forgotten are the days when physicians cared for patients and were pleased with providing good care. Now we are driven by a multitude of competing forces from insurance companies, hospitals and government agencies. All of these entities don't like us but can't live without us. Our say in the patient care arena is now decreasing at an alarming rate all to the detriment of our patients.

Most physicians are owned by hospitals. These hospitals demand that revenue be generated and productivity increase, then inflicted a burdensome and inefficient records system that slows down the whole process. Then they pay doctors less because they don't work enough but the hospital takes there cut off the top. (I am in independent practice). Insurance companies hold us hostage and will not negotiate in good faith to pay us for our work and pay us less even though they receive billions in tax dollars as a subsidy from the government. (My reimbursement has decreased to half of what is was five years ago.) Government agencies continue to pile on useless regulations that make our jobs less productive and doesn't change patient care. If you don't comply, they threaten you with legal action and fraud claims.

My greatest reward in my job is helping a family to have a healthy child. I still love my job but would be much happier if left alone.

ERIC MORTON, D.O., FACOOG, Cape Girardeau