Service over profit making
I appreciate the recent letter which succinctly expresses valid concerns over conflict of interest issue. Very definitely any physician who was contracted to provide hospital-based services eg ER, anesthesia, radiology or pathology will definitely have a potential conflict of interest.
Myself and other independently practicing physician have no such concern since we are not employed by or have any contractual relationship with the hospital.
One of the my biggest concerns has been hospital’s fiscal policy which by virtue of it being a geographical monopoly, has a led to inflated charges, not only for inpatient services, but also for lab, radiology, ER and outpatient surgery, leaving patients with big out of pocket “insurance gap”. This short-sighted mentality has led to complacency, poor service and tremendous out migration of district residents, especially the ones with private insurance, in order to seek competitively priced and better services elsewhere.
Emergency room is prime example. Since ER services can be billed at a much higher level, hospital has no interest in developing an independent urgent care facility that will handle majority of cases that are being seen and treated in ER right now and avoid overcrowding, long waiting time and backlog. This for-profit mentality, especially over last few years, underlies the many other controversial decisions as well-proposed closure of eye surgery, rejection of cardiac cath lab, real estate acquisitions etc.
It is about time that we re-focus of our local health care district towards its core mission of public service over profit making.
Rakesh Jindal MD