Is medicine a profession or is it a business? To us old timers, medicine is first and foremost a profession, a calling. As such, the business of medicine has always come second. Unfortunately, neglecting the business side of medicine has led to my profession’s downfall.
Fast forward to current times. Medicine has become big business. Companies such as Walgreens have led the charge. The creation of Accredited Care Organizations is just one of the many vehicles created and owned by corporate entities to suck every available penny out of my once proud profession. Physicians, Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants have become corporate America’s service technicians and patients have become cost centers to be controlled and serviced in mass.
What’s behind the changes in medicine? Profits! America’s leading healthcare companies have figured out the business end of medicine and are going at the business full gun. Pharmacies are now doing acute and chronic care in their Quickie Clinics. Does anyone see a problem here? I certainly do!
In past articles, I have written about the ethics of selling cigarettes in a facility that administers care and medication to sick smokers. Corporate America had taken greed to a whole new level. Due to public outcry, the practice of selling cigarettes in pharmacies finally stopped in 2020. Unfortunately, it will take more than a public outcry to heal our current healthcare system.
The treatment of chronic diseases entails more than just writing a prescription. It entails helping the patient develop healthy lifestyles. Will the store front practitioner who is treating a patient for diabetes walk her through the store and show her everything she shouldn’t buy or will the sale on large bags of Reese’s Pieces catch the patient’s eye and will he/she end up with several bags of the sugary delight in his/her cart? Will the three 12 packs of Coke for $12 sale be the diabetic shopper’s reward for purchasing his/her healthcare at such a convenient location?
Will the store front practitioner walk the hypertensive safely out of the store avoiding the racks of salt-laden chips and pretzels? I think not! Instead, the store designers will continue to set up food gauntlets designed to lead the customer to the most profitable products and fill the corporation’s coffers.
The business of medicine is the end of medicine as us old timers know it. Ethics and morals are changing and it has become completely ethical to sell an obese individual a diet pill, a six pack of Millers, chips, pretzels and candy. Afterall, corporate America pays its administrators well; and, while the number of docs seems to be decreasing, the number of administrators is on the rise.
Read, “Executive compensation, 2019 Novant Health Form 990”. It will blow you away.
Here’s today’s joke,
An elderly man is stopped by the police around 2 a.m. and is asked where he is going at this time of night.
The man replies, “I am on my way to a lecture about alcohol abuse and the effects it has on the human body, as well as smoking and staying out late.” The officer then asks, “Really? Who is giving that lecture at this time of night?”
The man replies, “That would be my wife.”