An opinion piece published on June 8 in the New York Times headlined “The Business of Health Care Depends on Exploiting Doctors and Nurses” argues just that: Doctors and nurses are being exploited by an ever-expanding corporate healthcare business model. Written by Danielle Ofri, MD, who practices at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, the editorial states unequivocally that “this status quo is not sustainable — not for medical professionals and not for our patients.”
Noting that while physicians “remain committed to the ethics that brought them into the field in the first place,” corporatized healthcare takes undue advantage of clinicians by leveraging the perceived endless elasticity of their commitment to patient care.
As Dr. Ofri observes, “By now, corporate medicine has milked just about all the ‘efficiency’ it can out of the system. With mergers and streamlining, it has pushed the productivity numbers about as far as they can go. But one resource that seems endless — and free — is the professional ethic of medical staff members.”
Noting that the demands on providers has increased with sicker patients and the attendant growing complexity of diagnosis, coupled with the time requirements of electronic medical records and related “administrative creep,” doctors and nurses are more put upon than ever to make the system work by contributing their own time — driven by ethical considerations — to various aspects of patient care.
All of this for doctors and nurses — a professional population not growing in numbers in keeping with the demands of their work — as measured against the growth of healthcare administrators, a profession that has increased in number by 3,200% from 1975 to 2010. As Dr. Ofri observes, “Healthcare is about taking care of patients, not paperwork.”
Read the full New York Times editorial Here.