Friday, January 20, 2017

Healthcare Answers Available in Cuba

Few Americans were fans of the recently deceased Cuban El Presidente Fidel Castro but he did leave one positive legacy and that is Cuba's quality healthcare system. In all honestly, it is far better than just fair, by comparison, America's system is downright awful. An article that first appeared in Opera Mundi and was later reprinted in the Huffington Post in the later part of 2014 states; According to the UN’s World Health Organization, Cuba’s health care system is an example for all countries of the world. It goes on to say, the Cuban health system is recognized worldwide for its excellence and its efficiency.

Despite extremely limited resources and the dramatic impact caused by the economic sanctions imposed by the United States for more than half a century, Cuba has managed to guarantee access to care for all segments of the population and obtain results similar to those of the most developed nations. If Cuba had a little more money to spend on equipment and medicine the results would be even more impressive.

Cuba Spends Less While Getting Great Results
The healthcare system created under Fidel Castro has been praise throughout the world and proves result are not all about expensive equipment and how much money is spent. Cuba a poor country with limited resources has done more with less proving healthcare is not all about money. They have achieved this by emphasizing primary and preventative healthcare. While America talks about implementing more programs based on these ideas the medical community has not been able to move us forward.

Today America has a huge number of talented and smart young people that are having problems finding work. We should give those who want a pathway to work in healthcare more valid options. This bring me to the crux of this piece where I want to propose a few ideas that might help start America on a pathway that allows it to gain a handle on its healthcare cost and other problems;

* The first is to create a lot more doctors or licensed healthcare professionals able to provide the basic day to day care which constitutes a majority of society's needs. This is what Cuba did, ln fact they created so many doctors that they were able to export them to poor countries throughout the world on missions of goodwill.

* This means America should remove the many roadblocks that keep people from pursuing this profession by opening new slots and avenues of low-cost training. We could then employ these professionals in a network of free or low-cost walk-in style clinics throughout the country.

* Also we should make an effort to identify individuals that abuse or use far more services than they need and try to deal with them on a different level. The PBS Newshour recently ran a story highlighting how a few individuals accounted for a great deal of the healthcare budget. I was appalled at how they attempted to turn pandering to the lowest elements of society into a good thing.

* And last but not least we must undertake massive tort reform in the area of healthcare. This would allow doctors to treat patients while not prescribing procedures that they feel are likely unnecessary in order to protect themselves from a lawsuit if complications later arise. Unneeded test and pushing pills like they are candy has become very costly,   

Remember that in order to become a doctor, you must be prepared for at least 7 to 9 years of hard work. You need to obtain a Bachelor's degree first, then attend medical school and take part in rotations, residencies, and exams. It should be noted that currently the number of individuals that can get into medical school is severely limited by several factors and this makes the path to becoming a doctor even more difficult. Anyone who has jumped through all the hoops put before them to apply to medical school will tell you applicants are required to plan years in advance if they have any hope of being accepted.  Once you complete medical school, choose a specialty and train for it. After that, you can apply for a residency program, training, and certification.

Many Doctors Have Had Enough
All this means that the cost of becoming a doctor has soared, with higher education expenses leaving the average newly minted physician with $166,750 in medical school debt at a time when their average salaries are declining. Nearly one-third of doctors saw a cut in pay last year, according to NerdWallet's research. I have leased space to several doctors over the years and it is fair to say their lives are no picnic. Most doctors enter the field of medicine thinking they'll be able to spend most of their time healing the sick unaware the paperwork burden on doctors has become crushing.

Doctors trying to run an independent practice, also known as their own business, have to deal with government regulations, employee turnover, insurance nightmares as well as patients who feel they don't need to pay on their account because doctors are "rich' and don't really need the money. And like all of us in business today they have to pander to disrespectful time wasters in a politically correct way even when they want nothing to do with them. To top this off if they fail to do their work well, they don’t just lose business, but we can lose our livelihood through lawsuits. The truth is being a doctor is not as fun as you might think and it does not guarantee you respect and instant riches. Unless we make it easier to become a doctor and change how healthcare is provided we will most likely face even higher healthcare cost and a huge shortage of physicians in coming years.

1 comment:

  1. Tthe rise of mid-level practitioners - nurse practitioners, NP and Physician Assistants, PAs will be the future primary care givers for the most part. The change that is coming, from your other articles will force austerity and will affect all sectors of the economy. Expect lower health care workers salaries (all, not just providers) and costs to those closer to the rest of the worlds where universal care exists, in whatever it form - and it is not all single payer.

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