Marcus Welby, RIP


I consider myself an expert on health care delivery.

That’s because I’m a health care consumer.

Here’s what I think would work, given my own experiences with birth, death, illness and so on.

First, health care isn’t working. We all know that. We can take that to the bank.

But what I do know is what is key is primary care delivery — and currently, that sucks.

Many people don’t have doctors. People are waiting in unfortunate lineups — dying in unfortunate line ups — health records are lost in transition. People are not being given adequate, and definitely not, appropriate care. Seniors are languishing in hospitals. Diagnoses are missed because doctors are too busy.

Yadda, yadda.

Let me give you my own thoughts.

In a good world, the province — mine, yours — would benefit from business people running clinics instead of the government. (Please see my previous blog.) But I think the primary care needs revision and here is how I would do it.

Doctors should be allowed to open clinics dedicated to doing nothing other than physical examinations. This would give everybody a basic screening every year which would detect disease and maladies at the baseline. People could then get treated at clinics, or at their own family docs. People who are seriously ill could then be popped in the lineup for specialists.

Other people could then be sent to nurse-run clinics where people are triaged into appropriate care. Some people could be treated in these kind of clinics, particularly if they need to have their blood pressure checked, their allergies managed, and any other condition which requires a quick treatment. There would be well baby clinics for moms and children, again run by nurse practitioners who would send more complicated cases to OB-GYNs or baby doctors. There would be seniors’ clinics to deal specifically with the problems associated with ageing.

In other words, streamline the system to deal with problems which are age and stage related. Doctors would be attached to these clinics, but would not necessarily do the day-to-day work.

See where I’m going.

I think the family doc is going the way of the dodo bird.

They don’t care about you. They are too busy and too preoccupied with the bottom line.

Too busy moonlighting and dreaming up ways to extra bill you while your polyps are percolating in your colon.

Marcus Welby died years ago; his assistant went on to marry Barbra Streisand and live in the Valley.

So let’s do away with traditional fee for service family doctors and realize that the system isn’t working.

Let’s call a spade a spade.

Maybe then we can get on with the business of treating people.

Screening is the number one priority and it is just not getting done.

That’s what I would do if I were Health Minister.

People would love me.

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