As if working 80 hrs a week was even remotely sane to begin with. If this ever comes to fruition, it will be way beyond overdue.
Read the comments section from the Washington Post article below for some interesting perspectives. Who would’ve thought that the lay public would rather not be treated by a resident who has been up all night? Check out the good clashing going on between the old timer physicians and the younger crop of docs who are viewed as “lacking commitment”. One of these geezers even threatened to recommend his hospital stop taking residents if this were to go through
One of the major complaints being voiced is that the hours of clinical training will no longer be sufficient. Though I believe this has some merit, I also see sour grapes from those who want to continue the hazing process and also from admin who will be losing their cheap slave labor. Too bad. I’ve worked numerous 30 hr shifts myself as a resident and I’d rather not see anyone else coming up behind me forced to endure the same just because I suffered. This wildly abusive system needs to be taken out of service once and for all. So what to do to make up for these lost hours? I would chop off the fourth year of med school (which would also save a whole year of egregious tuition costs on a fairly useless year) and transform it into a mandated internship for EVERYONE no matter what specialty they eventually pursue. This infusion of 20K extra bodies would also help cover the increased hours that would need to be covered. This internship would be done at the hospitals your med school is affiliated with so there would be no applying. During this internship you would than apply to your respective residencies. Of course, med schools and hospitals would pitch a fit over this proposal since they would be out our student loan money.
Many of us have heard of the acronym, ROAD. The saying goes that anyone fortunate enough to have landed a residency in one of these specialties is well on their way to the “road” to happiness. Though each of these fields have their own particular issues, they are known for affording better lifestyles with lower hours and better pay. For those of you not in the know, ROAD stands for:
May I now introduce to you, MOPING. Those who choose one of these specialties risk finding themselves indeed “moping” in the future. Don’t say now that you haven’t been warned!
M- Medicine (Family) (need to know a lot about everything and get paid crap; “noctors” intruding on the field)
O- Ob/Gyn (wildly erratic hours, malpractice rates that would leave you breathless)
P- Pediatrics (lowest paid specialty; crazy parents)
I- Internal Medicine (sucks so bad no explanation needed, only hope out is doing a second residency….I mean fellowship)
N- Neurosurgery (brutal 7 year residency with brutal hours; essentially sacrificing your life for a higher calling)
G- General Surgery (demanding 5 year long residency, some very malignant personalities to deal with, your mechanic gets paid more to fix your car than the surgeon who removes your appendix)
Every year, physicans across the United States tremble at the thought of having their medicare/medicaid reimbursements slashed. However for the first time, the guillotine began to fall on March 1st. This deadline came and went without reversing these cuts (there has now been another temporary extension till the end of the month from what I undersand). If we have come this close to getting the axe, it is only a matter of time before these devastating cuts go through for good. Check out this must read article from today’s CNNMoney and you will easily see how damaging this situation will be. Because fixed costs (office rent, payroll, malpractice insurance, medical supplies, etc.) do not decrease in tandem with medicare reimbursement, a 21% drop in Medicare pay means the physician will be losing A LOT MORE. For example, say a practice nets 500K a year but pays out 350K for overhead costs. That leaves 150K net pay. But with a 21% drop in reimbursement from Medicare (and I am making the valid assumption that private HMO’s will similarly follow these cuts), the gross revenue from your practice is now down to 400K leaving you with a whopping 50K a year in pay! Good luck paying back your 250K student loan debt on that while working like a racehorse 60 hrs a week not being able to take a vacation! As you can clearly see, one must magnify every percentage drop in reimbursement many times over to see the damaging end result.
My advice to any high school student that happens to come across this blog is to THINK TWICE BEFORE GOING DOWN THE LONG ROAD TO BECOMING A PHYSICIAN! Unless your conviction is as strong as that of Mother Theresa’s and you are willing to take on a vow of poverty, you really should consider doing anything else that you may have the slightest thread of interest in. If you love art, become an artist. If you enjoy children, teach kindergarten. If you like cars, become a mechanic. Besides, you will probably wind up making the same or even more in these careers down the road without any of the debt. Medicine has gotten worse for sure but I am outright frightened to see what the landscape will be like in another 10 years. You see the arrow at the top of this posting? That is exactly where we continue to be heading with NO RELIEF in sight. Ask yourself this. Will tuitions ever decrease? Will medicare and HMO’s ever increase their reimbursements? Does the US govt get anything done nowadays to better the lives of their citizens aside from endless quarreling? No, no, and no….point made, case closed.