Thursday, October 15, 2009

Teams of Doctors in Medical Homes?

Two very large clinics, Mayo and Cleveland, have apparently used what they call "teams" and what I would describe as "circles" to better serve their patients having complete services which are coordinated units. Apparently this type of medical service was used in Pediatrics as early as the late 60s and insurance companies are working in conjunction with the doctors in a nationwide testing of new methods of providing medical care. The doctors work as teams rather than individually and are paid a salary.

Admittedly I have done no research in depth, but I'm guessing this is a situation in rather large cities where wait times and availability of doctors is limited. The reason that it scares me a bit is because without teams of doctors in a city the size of Jackson I'm thinking we already have this approach and just because it has been successfully used in major metropolitan areas we may be forced by the government in cooperation with insurance companies to follow directives handed down from "on high" just because it works for some.

Jackson has fine doctors who, because of using the same hospital and pretty much knowing each other already, give this community really good service and care. Our family doctor, an Internist, is our primary care giver who recommends at times when a specialist is desired or required, any number of physicians who will fit the bill and because he knows us he has a good idea of a good fit personally and professionally. All reports of lab work or diagnostics are sent to both the specialist and primary care physician so that any medications or treatments are compatible.

Frankly, I can't think of any reason why I would change the systems used in a community of our size and proximity to Lansing, Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo. We can travel from Jackson to any of those locations in the same amount of time it takes to motor across any major city in the nation. It may sound trite, but that old cliche of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" would certainly seem to apply.

Depending on your age, that old question of "would you send your mother or sister to Dr. Blank" gets an honest response and there's no way we are swallowed by a system that treats us as a number rather than a name.

My point is that as in so many different venues and systems it's the personal touch that counts and if we're already getting it, please don't take it away.

Let us all hope and pray that those bureaucrats in Washington don't throw out the baby with the bathwater, just fix what needs fixing, and realize that they are playing with people's lives.

God bless...............

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