Posted on

Healthcare : Open Letter to Patients, Physicians, and Lawmakers

1379441947-obamacare3-300x27721

Open Letter to Patients, Physicians, and Lawmakers

February 14, 2016 By Sharon Jellinek MD

This is the first letter I’ve ever written to a political figure and I pray that someone on your staff will bring this letter to your attention. I have been a physician for close to 30 years. I am a second-generation pediatrician struggling to keep an independent solo practice alive. Not one politician has addressed what I feel is the major threat to health care…the physician-patient relationship. Without this, there is no quality of care no matter what you do. Physician patient relationships require time with the patient.Most of my diagnosis is derived from my patient-parent interview and a “hands on exam” of the child. You cannot possibly read a cookbook of medical questions and treatments and have the same result. The current insurance treadmill model of primary care makes this impossible. There is a hemorrhaging exodus of well-trained physicians unwilling to jeopardize this patient relationship. Insurance companies are pushing the small man (or woman), like myself, out and replacing us with cheaper, less qualified “health care extenders” i.e. nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, pharmacists, or whomever they can place in a white coat for less money. This is at the expense of the patient and the profit of the insurance company.

I have done everything by the book. During my 12 years of postgraduate training I earned a degree in chemistry and biology, a Masters degree in Microbiology, and MD degree from Georgetown University Medical School where I also completed my pediatric residency. I am board-certified and recertified. I have a spotless record and a loyal patient following. I am not saying this to fluff my feathers but to emphasize my dedication to my calling. It is not just a job to me. This is what I was meant to do, and I will only do it the correct way.

Coming from generations of physicians, I take my job very seriously. My father was also a pediatrician and started his office in the basement of our home. I know what quality care is, and what it is not. I grew up knowing that medicine can exist without the interference of insurance companies. At that time, people paid a fair price for an office visit and had catastrophic hospital coverage for hospitalization and procedures. (My father actually was the physician who saved John F. Kennedy’s son, John John. His name is Dr. Ira Seiler M.D. It is a true story accessible through the archives. He also attended John F. Kennedy’s inaugural ball and parade).

My father instilled in me a respect for the patient-physician relationship without which there is no quality care. Insurance companies have continued to decrease our payments knowing that we will need to see more patients in a shorter amount of time to make up for the decreasing reimbursement rates. You do not have time to foster a relationship. This may result in more medical mistakes but ultimately bring in more money to the pockets of the insurance company. This is a very dangerous game, and I have refused to play it. For that I have been threatened and penalized.

I am trying desperately to keep my small practice alive. I spend at least 30 minutes with each patient, they have access to me via my personal cell phone 24/7. I have no wait times, will always see a sick patient that day, try to avoid ER/Urgent Care visits by seeing the patient after hours myself ( to avoid medical mistakes since after hours clinics usually are not staffed by pediatricians and I end up correcting the mistakes at 3am for free anyway). Many times I’ll bring a chart home and research a condition and if I don’t know something I will find out. And for this I am listed as a physician that is not cost effective, or in other words I spend too much time per patient, which results in less revenue to the insurance company.

Medicine is not a 9-to-5 job, it is a calling and my greatest fear is that no one is going to want to do this job for a salary of $6000 a year, which after all my office expenses, I earned. And that is not from poor business skills or lack of patients. It is from decreasing reimbursement rates and higher overhead. This is why most physicians have left private practice to join hospital settings or larger groups. Many people don’t know that I have to pay not one but two malpractice payments in the state of Pennsylvania, licensing and board fees, rising medical and office supply fees which total @ 15,000 a month. I have one nurse, a receptionist, myself and one part-time relief doctor who is amazing, having trained at both Duke and Northwestern. I have not taken a paycheck in 8 months.

I continue to do this job because that’s what I was meant to do and I don’t want to give up on my patients. I should not be subject to prejudice for practicing good medicine. I am scared who will take care of these children or my family when those like me are finally forced out completely.

I am not a “healthcare provider”.  I am a physician and there is a very big difference. I hope that you will think about this in your fight to fixthe problems in healthcare, because it’s more than just repealing Obamacare. It is putting medicine back into the hands of the patient, consumer, and the physician. Insurance companies are for profit companies, parasitizing my expertise and exploiting your savings. If they are getting paid for my expertise and training, maybe the CEO’s of these insurance companies should try doing the surgeries and treating the patients themselves.

Sincerely,

Sharon S. Jellinek M.D.

Posted on

STUDY: MORE THAN TWO-THIRDS OF PATIENTS ON ANTI-DEPRESSANTS NOT DEPRESSED

prescription-drugs

by DR. SUSAN BERRY23 Oct 2015

A new study shows that more than two-thirds — some 69 percent – of patients using anti-depressants do not actually meet the criteria for depressive disorder.The study, which appears in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, finds that many individuals who are prescribed and take antidepressant medications may not actually have a depressive disorder, and that such drugs are often used by patients who do not meet the diagnostic criteria of depression.

According to the research, among the users of antidepressant medications, 69 percent never met the diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder (MDD), and 38 percent also never met those for obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social phobia, or generalized anxiety disorder – for which the antidepressant medications are sometimes prescribed.

Other factors, however, unrelated to depression, were found to be associated with the use of antidepressants.

“Caucasian ethnicity, recent or current physical problems (eg, loss of bladder control, hypertension, and back pain), and recent mental health facility visits were associated with antidepressant use in addition to mental disorders,” say the researchers

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/10/23/study-two-thirds-patients-anti-depressants-not-depressed/

Posted on

ObamaCare Shunts My Patients Into Medicaid

 imgres-10

ObamaCare Shunts My Patients Into Medicaid

Knocked out of private insurance, they are forced to settle for longer waits and worse care

Rep. Scott Garrett Take a minute to read this eyeopening article about ObamaCare written by Dr. Jeffrey Singer, a general surgeon in Phoenix, Ariz. 

His take: “Even if my patients save money by no longer paying premiums, they suffer in the long run by being trapped in a subpar health-care system [Medicaid]… ObamaCare has shifted—and will continue to shift—people into substandard and often-delayed care, all in the name of increasing health-care “coverage.” That is the saddest irony of all.”

 

By JEFFREY A. SINGER
Oct. 20, 2014 7:12 p.m. ET
90 COMMENTS

Thirty years of experience in private medical practice uncovers many ironies. For example, recently several of my patients who had been paying for their own individual health insurance informed me that they were forced off private insurance and placed into Medicaid when they signed up for health care at Healthcare.gov. This unwanted change—built into ObamaCare with the intention of helping patients—has harmed them by taking away their freedom to choose a health-care plan that works best for them.

This is not an unusual phenomenon. A recent Boston University/Harvard Medical School study suggests that up to 80% of people participating in ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion have been shifted off their private insurance. These patients’ plans—that they liked, and were told they could keep—did not meet Affordable Care Act requirements, and were wiped out. Healthcare.gov offered them Medicaid.

But the irony doesn’t stop there. Even if my patients save money by no longer paying premiums, they suffer in the long run by being trapped in a subpar health-care system. A Medicaid card does not translate into quality medical care. In some cases, it does not translate into medical care at all.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/jeffrey-a-singer-obamacare-shunts-my-patients-into-medicaid-1413846762