We may be of different political persuasions but I see misfortune ahead for the quality of healthcare in America. After listening to doctors over the past month I feel the need to further the discussion on the direction of healthcare in America.
In regard to Center for Medicare Systems (CMS), the continuing process of regulatory changes within Medicare will continue to increase the burden on doctors, or the beneficiaries. Costs for Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMB)–both recipients and doctors–continue to skyrocket.
Up to this year I was getting much of my Medicare information from just a few professional national advocacy organizations. But it seems as the general election looms around the corner, one of the major organizations I subscribe to has lost focus, now entrenched with the present administration. Their goal of advocacy for the QMB and patient-centered care is not a necessity any longer. More so, now professional advocacy organizations are aligning themselves with political ideology. As we approach the possibility of an America, where government control of healthcare seems more real than four years ago, each of us might want to check in with, what is in the best interest of healthcare recipients.
Despite the increasing financial burden that looms for the patient, healthcare industry and the American taxpayer, advocacy groups in favor of government being in control of cost containment processes seem to promise a reduction in costs, promising the benefit will be to all Americans.
We’ve all heard the saying, “if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.” I have personally advocated for aging friends caught in the system because I have experience in socialized (national/government-controlled) healthcare. In our current healthcare model, the barriers to competent care are increasing daily, if not monthly, and patient autonomy is decreasing as the program extends healthcare to more and more beneficiaries. Procedures, medications and treatments offered, disappear quickly or are being replaced in favor of cost containment.
It is my opinion, as minor as it may be, that we are witnessing the initial stages of the decline of quality in American Healthcare. America’s place in the lead as one of the prominent recognized standard bearers in international healthcare delivery is on a slippery slope. Sure, we will continue to have the medical technology edge, for a time; but the quality of healthcare will decline.
More doctors will leave their private practice because of either the financial burden of regulations or the regulations themselves, which ultimately usurp the role of government, forcing doctors to gather confidential information on each patient. This is seemingly unrelated to healthcare but it forces the doctor’s focus even further away from patient centered care. Doctors not in compliance are at risk of costly fines. Using the cost benefit analysis in this manner (Medicare and even, National Healthcare) to implement cost containment will detract from the quality of life of patients.
In such an application, quality falls by the wayside, sacrificed, so that more recipients will have access to healthcare. Presently, the healthcare industry is asked to do more with less, even when it comes to provider reimbursements. As these additional regulations, are implemented, they have fueled micro industries which profit from efforts to be in compliance. As these peddlers offer software and other compliance-based tools to the healthcare industry, the regulations have been implemented with what appears to be a lack of standards for sharing patient information in the digitalization of patient records.
The CMS/ Medicare constantly tell the public they don’t endorse these compliance products, all the while Regional Auditing Contractors (under contract with CMS), use them in practice of auditing hospitals–audits which will now be expanded. This approach to cost containment is brutalizing healthcare in America. If this scenario continues to progress in this manner for the Medicare program, I envision a day when being of age to qualify for Medicare benefits will mean eminent crisis. Crisis can appear in many forms, such as, increased burden of a person’s finances or their quality of life through subordination to government healthcare officials.
Healthcare that is not in the interest of patient (patient-centered) will lack in the quality of healthcare delivery systems. That is one of the chief reasons why, in countries with National healthcare programs, people who can financially afford to seek healthcare elsewhere have historically come to the U.S., which is world-renowned for patient autonomy in delivery of healthcare. Now, for Americans, norms are in flux in the health of America.
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