In an excellent and thorough review of the rise of and problems with free-standing ER’s, Barry Shlachter exposes to the public a problem that has been known to medicine for some time. (See: “As ERs’ business grows, so does backlash”)
A historical point that should be brought to light is that this has been caused by the payers being “penny wise and pound foolish.”
Through a long course of under-valuing the work of primary care physicians they have driven Marcus Welby almost to extinction.
When patients can’t find a physician, or their physician is overwhelmed and can’t see them in a timely manner, they go to a clinic where they are not well known, where tests already recently done might be duplicated, and where some or all of the services may be “out of network.”
Never miss a local story.
The increased costs are well-illustrated in the Shlachter piece, but the root cause from the payers should be noted.
— Steve Brotherton, M.D., Fort Worth