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Jan-05-2009 11:30printcomments

Doctor Shopping Can Frustrate New Medicare Enrollees

We are entitled to much more; items such as the doctor's continuing medical education courses over the last five years so we can gauge how updated that MD elects to be.


(SALEM, Ore.) - Sometimes who your doctor happens to be can spell the literal difference between life and death, so that decision should never be taken lightly.

However, those newly enrolled in the Medicare system may find their former physicians do not accept Meduicare. For one reason or another, they may be forced to switch.

Doctor shopping is never a fun process. The way things are set up, it is not a consumer's market.

On the contrary, we are kept largely in the dark and the name of the game for Medicare providers is to push benefits given at reasonable prices without paying much attention to "quality control".

Call any Health Plan provider and check for yourself. What you can learn is:

1. The medical school attended and year of graduation;

2. Where and when the doctor's internship took place;

3. What malpractice claims were confirmed, if any.

This is superficial information at best. It fails to tell us anything about the quality of the physician we are asked to choose. Checking a roster by name means little, for how can we decide by name or location anything else that sheer convenience?

We are entitled to much more; items such as the doctor's continuing medical education courses over the last five years so we can gauge how updated that MD elects to be. The size of current patient load would be helpful to learn.

That would indicate how many other patients are jockeying for that physician's precious time.

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Harumph January 5, 2009 11:47 pm (Pacific time)

The solution to ALL our health care issues is mentioned here, and staring us in the face, but politicians refuse to see what is beating them about the head, smashing into their heads, and hammering their toes and fingers... They would much rather have the money and power under their control, than have any kind of solution happen. What needs to happen is: 1. Decouple employment and health insurance. Make insurance for health the same as insurance for houses, cars, or life insurance. 2. Decouple insurance and treatment. Stop defining your health care by the insurance you buy. Define your insurance by what risks you wish to take and what you wish to pay to be born. Then YOU choose what you want done and what you don't. 3. Make medicine a retail product, just like food, tires, gasoline, cell phone coverage. Require that consumer type protections and information be provided. In other words, make 'shopping' less of a search for the missing treasure, and more like a visit to the grocery store. 4. Americans pay a lot for health care. We buy more services by far than we probably need to. And then we complain about the cost. You really can't change the cost. You can do a LOT about making sure you insulate yourself from unbearable risk, and making sure you know what you are buying, and what you are not.

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