August 5, 2014
If you couldn’t tell from yesterday’s article, I am fed up with Medicare’s continued interference in the practice of medicine and with big government in general. July second my office manager came into my office to discuss the latest requirements for “Meaningful Use.” I’ve written about “Meaningful Use” in the past but will briefly recap here.
“Meaningful Use” is the government’s ill-fated attempt to measure quality medical care by collecting tons of meaningless data entries from our office computers. I now have screeners for depression, risk of fall, smoking, alcohol abuse and hundreds of other potential problems. I also have to make an entry in my patients’ family history field and then, at the end of the visit, verify that I’ve cared for the patient by filling out multiple questionnaires that seemingly have no purpose other than to satiate “Big Government’s” thirst for data.
Don’t get me wrong. Some of this data is important and integral in the practice of medicine. I’m a family doc and think family history is important but having to record data on my 90 year old patient’s (who has a sore throat) father’s medical history is utter BS!
What’s sad is that much of a modern day office visit to the doc involves meeting “Meaningful Use” criteria and steals precious time from patient care. One of my elderly patients recently remarked, “Doc, you spend more time looking at the computer than you do looking at me and more time typing on the keyboard than you do talking to me.”
That hurt! The truth often does. So, what’s a doc to do?
Stop seeing Medicare patients is one option. Call me old fashioned but I believe I have a responsibility to care for my elders.
Ignore “Meaningful Use” criteria is another option. Unfortunately, choosing option two would mean a significant cut in an already miserly reimbursement from the government for care rendered and would result in my financial ruin.
Put up with the BS and care for those in need is option number three. This is the option I have chosen. At some point, option number three will become unbearable. We’ll see what happens then!