Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Problem of Physician-Monopoly and Health Care

What about the ever-present concern regarding the unavailability of physicians to handle the increasing number of people seeking primary medical care. The time has come to realize that the acceptance of non-physician practitioners to fill this gap in care, is long overdue. The vast majority of clinical situations can easily be taken care of by auxiliary personnel such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners. As a matter of fact, the New York Times recently reviewed a TV documentary which describes how nurses in Mozambique are successfully performing Cesarean sections because of a severe shortage of physicians(July 15, 2008). When we call 911, it is not a physician who responds, but an emergency medical technician. Our lives are in their very capable hands.

Similarly, properly trained non-physician practitioners can provide much needed primary as well as specialty care, more efficiently and less expensively. Having worked and trained such personnel, I can testify to their competence. Physicians hold an unnecessary monopoly on health care; a monopoly that needs to be analyzed and subsequently, I would hope, eliminated.

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