Physician Interest in Government Grows

November 8, 2016

At stake, say physicians, is patient-centered care.

Previously, I wrote about integrating financial education into the infrastructure of young physician training. The ability to make smart financial decisions has been shown to improve professional outcomes in medicine. When physicians are happier, so are their patients. A study looking at patient satisfaction ratings and physician self-satisfaction ratings showed a positive correlation between general internists who rated themselves to be very or extremely satisfied with their work and how they were rated by patients How physicians feel about their work, including their reimbursement, autonomy, and results, affect the relationship with the patient and patient satisfaction in a big way.

Having the financial acumen to make savvy management decisions can also empower professionalism. Recently, managed care has produced increasing financial pressures and time constraints on physicians. Kenneth Arrow, a Nobel Prize winning economist, wrote that physician professionalism is vital to society in that it encourages a humanistic career while acting on the best available evidence with health equity in mind. A healthy society allows its “caretakers,” the physicians, the ability to thrive and have control over their practice environment. However, in the last decade, the consumer movement in health care has empowered patients and insisted that providers find ways to decrease costs while improving patient and customer satisfaction. Although the intention for “affordable care” and patient satisfaction was prudent, this has led to physicians feeling disempowered and at a loss.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_crop","fid":"53669","attributes":{"alt":"Government","class":"media-image media-image-right","id":"media_crop_8072417006568","media_crop_h":"0","media_crop_image_style":"-1","media_crop_instance":"6721","media_crop_rotate":"0","media_crop_scale_h":"0","media_crop_scale_w":"0","media_crop_w":"0","media_crop_x":"0","media_crop_y":"0","style":"height: 179px; width: 170px; border-width: 0px; border-style: solid; margin: 1px; float: right;","title":"©Kev Draws/Shutterstock.com","typeof":"foaf:Image"}}]]

Frustrated physicians with a heightened political awareness have taken some leadership positions, including 17 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 3 seats in the Senate in 2014. We’ve also increased our financial contributions to national elections, donating a record $270 million to federal candidates during the 2012 election cycle.  In the 2015-2016 election cycle, up to August 22, 2016, health professionals contributed $64.6 million, out of $215.6 million total health sector dollars. Of healthcare dollars donated, the American College of Radiology ranks number 10, contributing over $1.03 million.

No matter what happens this upcoming Nov 8th, each election brings new leaders to the playing field and a hope for change. Continued interest in bundled care and limited networks will mean an upcoming transition, neither good nor bad. Change simply means change. However, building a healthy economy should mean creating an environment in which physicians are in a position to manage the care they deliver and thus enable physicians to always put patients first.