97% of Doctors are Frustrated with the System

The vast majority of Doctors feel frustrated about how they are allowed to prescribe medicine. The bean counters from the insurance companies are in charge of how America stays healthy.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/17/health/views/17essa.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

“I was naïve,” Saeed Siddiqui said. “When I was a resident I thought it was enough to take good care of patients. But the real world is totally different.”

In a survey last year of nearly 2,400 physicians conducted by a physician recruiting firm, locumtenens.com, 3 percent said they were not frustrated by nonclinical aspects of medicine. The level of frustration has increased with nearly every survey.

“It will take real structural change in the work environment for physician satisfaction to improve,” Dr. Mark Linzer, an internist at the University of Wisconsin who has done extensive research on physician unhappiness, told me. “Fortunately, the data show that physicians are willing to put up with a lot before giving up.”

Not long ago, fed up with what he perceived as a loss of professional autonomy, Dr. Bhupinder Singh, 42, a general internist in New York, sold his practice and went to work part time at a hospital in Queens.

“I’d write a prescription,” he told me, “and then insurance companies would put restrictions on almost every medication. I’d get a call: ‘Drug not covered. Write a different prescription or get preauthorization.’ If I ordered an M.R.I., I’d have to explain to a clerk why I wanted to do the test. I felt handcuffed. It was a big, big headache.”

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