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When physicians became ‘providers’

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Philip Caper, M.D., bemoans what he sees as the takeover of U.S. healthcare by “businessmen wealth-seekers.” His recent essay in the Bangor (Maine) Daily News says, among other things:

“This shift in emphasis from patient care to money profoundly has affected the practice of medicine and resulted in the clash of cultures within healthcare. As increasing numbers of ‘providers’ — formerly ‘doctors’— become employees of large healthcare corporations — formerly community hospitals — we have come under increasing pressure to diagnose profitable diseases and order profitable tests and procedures without enough regard to the benefits or harm accruing to patients. Hospital ‘CEOs’— formerly ‘administrators’ — trained in the ethics and practices of business rather than healthcare are incentivized to configure their ‘product lines’ — formerly ‘services’— to produce the largest ‘profits’— formerly ‘margins.’

“Those of us in the healthcare ‘business’ — formerly ‘profession’— have been slow to react to this hijacking of our healthcare calling. Patients, despite sensing something is deeply wrong, feel helpless to push back. That now seems to be changing.”


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