Connecticut Medicine

Mar 2015

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volume 79, no. 3 189 Letters to the Editor Insurance Companies: We Are Not Taking it Anymore To the Editor: "e idea that hospitals are running out to recruit the a fallacy ... physicians … [are] …asking the hospital to help them remain in practice."* — CSMS president Robert D. Russo MD I am a member of a small two-physician practice and like many colleagues in small practices I am having a difficult time. e pressure to use electronic records, the effort needed to report metrics to insurance companies, and the time wasted in copying records to comply with insurers' audits have combined to make the practice of medicine intolerable. None of the nonmedical demands that I comply with do anything to improve the care that I provide. ey distract me, they undermine my composure, they take away from the time I need to talk to my patients. Be- ing dropped by UnitedHealthCare from the Medicare Advantage Plan was the last straw. is is my message to my colleagues: It is unbelievable that a group of individuals as intelligent and as dedicated to the public good as we physicians are, after having sacrificed years and years of our youth to study, after nights on call without sleep, after years of missing holidays with parents and loved ones and feeling guilty for not spending more time with them, after enduring many more trials and overcoming many more obstacles, it is unbelievable and a source of shame that we have lost the courage that sustained us through those difficult years, that we have become fearful and timid and have succumbed to those who exploit the work that we do and that we let them do so with impunity. Now is the time to unite and to say "no more." We did it once with the White Coat March during the malpractice crisis. e stakes are even higher this time. e heart and soul of our profession are at stake. At this point it has become a matter of honor to fight back against the insurance companies. ere are no excuses for not doing so. is is not a time for polite discussions around committee tables listening to insurance executives' convoluted language that only confuses us. Let there be no doubt that it is double talk that is not meant to conciliate but only to distract and make us hesitant. ey want to quiet our anger for our anger is the only thing that will bring this issue to the public arena and that is the only thing that they will respond to. And most of all, saying that we as doctors are too busy taking care of patients to get involved is unac- ceptable. It is a cop-out. e time has come to test our mettle, to see if we really have the character and the determination, to see if we really care enough to take back control over our professional destinies. *e epigraph is from "Some Days are Better than Others" by Robert Russo MD, in Connecticut Medicine, February 2015. Edward Volpintesta, MD Bethel Letters to the Editor will be considered for publication at the discretion of the Editor and subject to editing. Letters referencing previously published articles in Connecticut Medicine must not exceed 750 words, exclusive of references. The letter shall not have more than three refer- ences and be received within one month of the article being commented upon. Comments should be limited to the article and contain important information relevant to both the article and the readership of Connecticut Medicine. • Letters of a scientific topic not related to a previously published Journal article are subject to editing and peer review, should not be longer than 750 words, have no more than five references and be signed by no more than three authors. • Letters to the editor do not reflect the position of Connecticut Medicine or its publisher, the Connecticut State Medical Society. They reflect the views exclusively of the author(s).

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