In a previous post I came down hard on Charter Internal Medicine for the way they handled their decision to reverse course on transforming to a concierge type medical practice. In early December Charter announced that it was bowing to pressure from state regulators and reversing course. Patients of Charter first learned of this change of course by reading about it in the paper. As a Charter patient I did not receive any communication from them about this change until January 2nd.
Last week I had an appointment with my Charter doctor. I told him I thought it was handled poorly from their end and he apologized. He told me that they were faced with a quick decision to challenge the state or to comply. The potential for a large legal expense to fight it discouraged them from the challenge.
I have worked with other doctors in Howard County who have transitioned their practices from the insurance reimbursement model to the retainer model without any interference from the government. The difference between those practices and Charter is that they were small. With over 9,000 patients on its rolls, Charter was big enough to attract the regulators and politicians attention.
Of course this isn’t right. The government is effectively forcing the doctors to work with the insurance companies. The insurance companies have a very powerful lobby.
The result of all this is that the consumer (patient) is disconnected from the actual cost of healthcare. This is one of the fundamental problems with the cost of healthcare in this country as Dr. Mark Perry points out in this post on his Carpe Diem blog.
I still say “c’mon, man” but now I direct the comment to the Maryland Insurance Administration and politicians who are trying to stifle real healthcare reform.
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