Doctors: A tough job just got tougher

What does the health care legislation mean to those providing care? CNNMoney.com asked physicians to weigh in. Here are their responses:

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'Hamster on a wheel'
'Hamster on a wheel'
Dr. Sofia Fernandez
Family Physician
Hackettstown, NJ
When I first started practicing, I spent several years working in group practices. At the time, I felt like a hamster on a wheel, working for my employers, the insurance industry and the government instead of the REAL consumer, my patient.

I felt pressured to churn patient after patient in order for us to 'break even.' This experience drove me to open my own practice. Being in solo practice for three years, I feel that I provide excellent level of care. However, the 'hamster on a wheel concept has followed me.

The current reimbursement rates and endless red tape force many primary care physicians to hire more staff and see more patients in order to cover our costs. Our costs continue to rise, driven by rising malpractice premiums and payroll and small business taxes and fees. I know of several physicians that have held their own paychecks for several months in order to make payroll.

The passage of this bill does not fundamentally change the flaws in this system. It has not changed the physician reimbursement formula. It has not changed the need for preapprovals or referrals. To the contrary, we are forced into more bean counting.

I can no longer sustain my practice in this current environment [even though the legislation benefits my patients.] that is the best for my patients. I see no other choice than to force the middleman out and drop Medicare and insurance.


NEXT: 'Real problem is shortage of providers'
Last updated April 08 2010: 10:35 AM ET
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