Why is the health care industry apathetic towards patients?

Health insurance companies refuse to insure patients with preexisting conditions, health care professionals are rude, fees are through the roof, and the few health care providers who treat w/o insurance, do so in a mediocre fashion. I’m almost ashamed to be pursuing a career in medicine.

8 comments

  • webhead28

    Its not a good thing to generalize because few things in life are really the way they seem. I’m a professional health care worker who isn’t rude, and I’m responding to your question because of the last sentence you wrote. If you think the health care system is bad now, then just you wait until you become a physician and see what its REALLY like!

    First of all, a health insurance company is not a patient’s friend. They are a business, and like any other business their goal is to make a profit. Taking on a patient with an existing condition thats expensive to treat is simply poor business judgment from a profitability perspective. It may be unethical, but its not illegal. Still, in many cases, the insurance companies do things that I believe are immoral and disgusting. They couldn’t care any less about any patient, and they always try to rationalize their actions by claiming that they need to keep costs down. In fact, the entire US health care industry is now strictly business, and the quality of care you receive in most cases depends entirely on your ability to pay for it. If you’re uninsured or don’t have money then you’ll find yourself being quickly hustled in and out of the system—if you’re fortunate enough to receive any care at all.

    Why are costs so high? Well, for that answer you have to look to the service providers. The astronomical fees paid to physicians is one factor. But even so, many docs really aren’t making that much money anymore, at least, not compared to what they used to make say back in the 1980s. The insurance companies and the Medicaid programs have gotten tough with reimbursement, and they are cutting back on everything. So where is the money going? Trust me, its all a game. Admitting physicians team up with specialist friends who are often in the group practice, and they keep referring the patient back and forth. So, by the time the patient leaves the hospital, he/she would have been seen by a whole bunch of doctors, received a whole bunch of expensive diagnostics— and then the insurance company is socked with a $50,000 bill for a two day hospital stay (which is a very cheap bill nowadays by the way).

    Then again, its hard to criticize physician fees in the US because professional liability insurance for physicians is outrageously high—-in some cases costing more that what the physicians themselves earn each year! This cost factor is being driven up in part by the countless lawsuits that are filed against doctors and nurses annually. Many physicians can’t afford liability insurance anymore so they give up private practice and either team up with a group, or they go to work for an HMO.

    You also have to look at the greedy Administrators who run the hospitals. Their salaries and perks run from the mid to high six figures, and in some private hospital groups, the salaries are even into 7 figures. These guys drive expensive cars and live in very nice homes (which the hospitals pay for), and they do nothing but attend meetings all day long, where they make up new policies and procedures to make work more difficult for the nurses and physicians who are actually doing patient care. Do the ‘suits’ care? Of course not! All they really care about is that fat paycheck that’s coming their way twice a month.

    If health care professionals seem rude, its probably frustration with the system that causes it. Nurses are severely overworked and vastly underpaid for what they do, and most people don’t even know what nurses do. They mistakenly believe that nurses are there to provide them with ‘service’ as if they are guests in a hotel. The level of rudeness and unreasonableness that I see almost every day from patients and their families made me laugh when I read your comment that health care workers are rude. The hospitals are also giving each nurse too many patients to take care of at the same time and this is VERY dangerous. The nurses also take a lot of verbal and physical abuse from physicians, but that’s a whole other topic.

    Since you are planning on entering this field as a physician, you should educate yourself not only about the theories and practice of medicine but also about the reality of practicing medicine in today’s world. Its not as glamorous as it seems, and its nothing like those silly shows on TV (Grey’s Anatomy, House, etc.). You’re going to have to work your butt off to earn your paycheck. And you’re going to have to learn how to juggle the corporate ‘politics’ that you’ll have to deal with every day on the job. And every single thing you do on any given day has the potential to turn into a lawsuit. Its all about following other people’s rules—regardless of how you may feel about those rules. And, if you don’t play the way they want you to play you will not make any money and you will definitely NOT survive as a professional in this field. Always keep that in mind.

  • Lil me

    I have a preexisting condition and I was insured. At least tell the truth…

  • Mickie

    Then don’t it. No one is making you do it. I most certainly don’t think that all health care providers are rude – some are very kind and good to their patients. Many doctors are self-righeous and pompous, but not always to their patients, but to other staff. There is little regulation with health insurance and although doctors, hospitals, etc charge a lot, they’re not getting reimbursed a lot so they charge more to make up the difference of the loss. And frankly who would want to treat the indigent for free? Although it would be nice to be charitable, supplies and help only go so far. Doctors and nurses can volunteer time in clinics, but then they have to get the equipment and supplies all donated and there’s not always enough of that to go around for as many people are uninsured. The only way it would ever get better is with fixed pricing for services rendered across the board across the nation and with a standardized, nationalized healthcare the way Canada, England, the Netherlands and many other countries have it. This way everyone would be covered.

  • aih92598

    I worked in health care for 16 years and called it quits. The problem with health care all falls lack of care. Look at our nursing homes for instant..Yes there are caring aids and nurses, but yet the times have changed….people use to care anout people now its a job for the money , the lack of compassion for people has declined its turned only into making a check. God forbid if I was unable to take care of myself , i’d rather kick off off then to have someone tell me I have to pee my pant s because there isnt enough help or because they dont care. Our society is sad.

  • Stacie

    All of this exists because health care is a BUSINESS. We’d like to think otherwise, but it’s all about numbers.

    Health care is a business… as a business they can’t afford to give care away for free. Think of it this way, if a grocery store gives away food to people without money then those of us who pay for our food have to pay more to make up for those who don’t. Either that or the grocery store goes bankrupt and closes. To continue the analogy… should the people getting free food get to choose what they want? Can they choose junk food or should they have to take only healthy foods? Can they have as much as they want or is there a limit? I don’t know where some people think this "free" health care comes from… if my insurance company pays every bill without question and just keeps shucking out the money, they will either have to go out of business (gee, thanks) or increase MY costs (yeah, like THAT’S better).

    BTW, not all health care professionals are rude. If you’re pursuing a career in medicine, you’d know that. Unless you plan on being rude??

    Stacie

  • Becky W

    all i have to say is follow your heart!

  • Well hopefully you can make a change in the system. But it’s always going to be that way, insurance companies procrastinate on paying hospital bills to the point that the hospital is taking the patients to court over, over-due bills,and now the city fire-dept charge for ambulance service’s. backboards,oxygen,neck-collars etc. I had a friend who accidentally fell asleep in his car in his garage after a night on the town and yes it was running when they found him the next morning after about 5 or 6 hours of running car in a closed garage you are medically dead by all measures, not only did the fire dept. send a bill for oxygen,backboard,etc. so did the hospital for the same thing. Go figure!

  • Rebecca S

    After reading some of the answers posted here, I feel compelled to answer in defense of health care providers. I am an RN, and my husband is an MD. We both put in a lot of hours at the hospital because there is a great need for help. I’m not in it for just the check. I’m in it to advocate and educate my patients and their families. I do work with a lot of rude professionals, but I there are some really great docs, nurses, and cnas. I went into nursing to help my patients. And frankly speaking, I could sit home instead doing my sometimes 50+ work week. There are some people there just for the check, as in every other profession. But there are still some of us who really do care. And we are needed. And we do make a difference.

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