Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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Letters to the Editor

March 18, 2014

New rules compound provider problem

— — I see in the Feb. 28 Bluefield Daily Telegraph that President Obama is seeking more that five billion dollars to “... turn out more than 13,000 primary care providers ...”

Good luck with his project. A more successful approach might be to eliminate the increasingly goofy and counterproductive (to efficiency and patient care effectiveness) rules churned out by a liberal bureaucracy. Which includes both major political parties, and are causing physicians, i.e.  “providers,” to retire, in droves, earlier than they had planned.

Not only does compensation to physicians barely exceed operating cost, in both private and hospital practice, practice environment is increasingly hostile. The euphemistically called Affordable Care Act, shamefully instituted without a majority of popular approval and never read by politicians prior to approval, only compounds this. Now the rules are morphing daily, some feel unconstitutionally, according to the whims of the administration.

Hospitals are also captive to the rules of the bureaucracy. It is remarkable to me that most of them remain operational, after a fashion. Electronic medical records now ensure that government will be able to monitor every detail of your body and medical history. Soon you, as well as Washington, will be able to review your own record,  and even amend it, online, through the upcoming “patient portal” requirement. 

Perhaps Mr. Obama is trying to improve dismal employment figures by enticing some poor young souls into becoming “providers.” Unless things reverse, I feel sympathy for those who bite on that worm.

Stephen DeGray M.D.

Bluefield, Va.

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