Tuesday, December 25, 2012

It's Not Greed - It's How Business Survives the Pressure to Centralize

(c) 2012 by Tom King

A friend sent me this link to an article about the practice of medical systems buying up doctors' private practices.  http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/12/23/4505491/as-hospitals-buy-practices-billed.html

He wrote above the article:  "Pure Unadulterated Greed". 

The article started like this:

By Fred Schulte
Center for Public Integrity
After Vermont hospitals started buying up local doctors’ practices, state Sen. Kevin Mullin of Rutland began hearing complaints that some patients were paying much more for routine care.

I disagree. I don't think it's so much greed as it is the added cost of centralizing any bureaucracy. Nobody seems to understand that any time you add layers on top of any organization, that those layers cost money.  I don't think the medical systems are necessarily greedy any more than are the doctors who sell their practices.  I think it's just the good old capitalist, free market system's response to outside pressures on independent physicians.  For years we've been hearing that independent physician's practices are disappearing.  Where did people think they were going anyway?

There are very good reasons for doctors to sell their practices and very good reasons for hospitals to buy them. Spiraling regulatory requirements layered on willy nilly by the government and mounting medical malpractice lawsuits, driven by TV lawyers (the real parasites in my opinion) promising to win the sue 'em till they squeal lottery for anybody whose doctor visit didn't turn out the way they had imagined.

Let's face it, doctors want to practice medicine, not accounting, law or tag-you're-it with government regulators.  To doctors, selling their practices to large medical systems with teams of accountants and lawyers and compliance officers just makes good sense.

And yes, it drives up your doctor bills.  How else are they going to pay for all those new federal employees Obama just hired and all those commercials by all those ambulance chasing lawyers and all those tax accountants it takes nowadays to keep a medical practice going.  It's much easier for doctors to sell out and have the gigantic health care system protect them from all those bureaucratic predators and buying practices is a way for health care systems to pay for all the accountants, lawyers and compliance officers they need to run their hospitals. 

THAT's why I find centralizing or worse yet, governmentalizing any business sector to be a very BAD idea.  I don't like paying for people who basically sit in offices generating paperwork for each other, making things ever more complex and hard to do and charging us poor schmuck consumers for services I never asked for and personally find worse than useless.

Just my opinion.



1 comment:

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