Thursday, June 13, 2013

I gave up on healthcare in America

Excerpted from “Doctor: 'I gave up on healthcare in America',” CNN, by Parija Kavilanz. April 26, 2013 -- It was time to quit. On August 19, 2011, Snyder sold his practice to a local hospital 30 miles away. "I gave up on healthcare in America," he said. Later that year, he moved to Australia and took up rural medicine there. The choice was heart-wrenching for Snyder. He didn't want to feel like he was abandoning his nearly 5,000 patients, and he'd been the only family physician in the area for 16 years. "I wasn't just a doctor there, I was part of this community," he said.

Snyder's decision to leave was years in the making, but Snyder wasn't ready to give up being a rural doctor, though. "It's what I loved to do," he said. Disillusioned with how healthcare had evolved, and how stressful and expensive it had become to be in private practice in the U.S., Snyder began to explore opportunities to work abroad as a "locum tenens," or freelance doctor. The work was strenuous and challenging personally and professionally, said Snyder. He traveled a lot and was away from home every other week. He couldn't easily refer patients to specialists, because there weren't many practicing in rural towns around Adelaide. Lack of medical technology was another challenge. "Here you don't have an MRI or CAT scan facility at every corner," he said.

Still, Snyder embraced the experience in a country where he said the locals were welcoming and "loved my accent." "Primary care is highly respected here. That's not the case anymore in America," said Snyder. "In the United States, healthcare has become more about the business of making money. The personal side of medicine is going away." In fact, Snyder said he wouldn't be surprised if more primary care doctors in the U.S. look for opportunities elsewhere. His own contract expires at the end of June but he's renewing it for another two years. Would he consider moving back at some point? If he could get the benefits he does in Australia back at home, he said, "I'd still be working in America." Full story can be found here.


Allan VicarsDirector of CMDA Placement Services Allan Vicars: "Over the last few years, we have witnessed a reduction in the number of independent private practices throughout the U.S. Many of them simply cannot compete with their local hospital systems and eventually sell their practices to larger entities. Due to declining Medicare reimbursements and reporting requirements, healthcare reform, overhead costs, declining patient visits, recruitment and retention of physicians, along with medical liability pressures, many physicians such as Dr. Snyder feel they have no other options.

"While many feel medicine has migrated more towards making a profit, our office still assists many independent practices that are financially stable and thriving. The conservation of private practices in the U.S. is extremely important as they provide physicians autonomy to practice as they choose. From our experience, integration of faith and medicine is much more prevalent in private practices compared to those owned and operated by hospital systems.

"One has the ability to set their own hours, philosophy of care and the amount of time spent with each patient. A constant dilemma for most healthcare providers is the desire to spend more time with patients. Most physicians enter into medicine to be in their own practice and that is what makes them happy. Many seek employed opportunities due to economic factors or heavy debt. Physicians need to look inside themselves and ask if they will be happy and if this is where the Lord is leading them. Physicians should be encouraged to continue in private practice and seek avenues, policies and financially viable options, such as IPAs, that will assist them to remain independent and thriving."

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