Should Physicians be Responsible Only to Their Patient or also to the Broader Needs of Society for Cost Control?

By Henda AlBiatty MPH

Cost of healthcare has always been a major burden for those involved whether it be the patient or the physician. The cost involves, how patients receive health coverage by a private or government insurance, how much healthcare professionals get paid, whether a physician is a specialist or a primary care physician and the type of health model implemented such as Beveridge, Bismarack, National Health Insurance and fee for service model. With all these factors a physician’s practice has become more than treating a patient. It has evolved to “budgeting” how many services are given to a patient to save money for the hospital or the clinic, capitalizing on which services will provide sufficient care.  In addition to networking with insurance companies and government insurances to maximize reimbursement for the services provided. Health care is very intrinsic system that is embedded with many different facets that influence the outcome of the healthcare, the education of future physicians and their pay, economic well-being of the country and so much more.

This pie chart is a simple depiction of how the healthcare costs are split.

Providing quality healthcare as defined by the Institute of medicine includes: safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient and equitable is the primary job description of physicians (Bodenheimer & Grumbach, 2012). Therefore, treating and curing the patient of their injury or disease is the trainings and goal that physicians practice to provide good overall health care. Physicians should be well aware and trained on the needs of the society for cost control but it should not interfere with their service to their patients. Putting too much emphasis on cost control may hinder a physician’s treatment for a patient. However, having physicians aware of the needs of the society and be conscious of ways to decrease costs is a bonus. It would help physicians be resourceful and efficient with their treatment for a patient.  This methodology shows a sense of connectedness amongst health care providers, policy makers, insurance companies, health care administrators and patients.

References:

Bodenheimer, T., & Grumbach, K. (2012). Understanding health policy: Clinical approach. (sixth ed., p. 122). McGraw Hill Lange.

http://www.smallbusinessmn.org/affordable-health-care-act/

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